The Grace in Which I Stand (a poem)

The Grace in Which I Stand

by Effie Barba

Oh feeble heart, Oh fragile soul

Where is the hope on which you hold

With all the failures of your past

Where is the faith to make you bold

Where is the faith to make you bold

There was a King though blameless He

That came to pay my penalty

And in that act He set me free

To follow Him in liberty

To follow Him in liberty

It is His love that drew me out

And in His Grace I shall not doubt

That He who started this work in me

Will finish it with a Glorious Shout

Will finish it with a Glorious Shout

One day the finished work be done

That I might look then like God’s son

Sifted, shined just like pure Gold

As Glory shines forth, Glorious One

As Glory shines forth, Glorious One

And in this hope my faith conformed

I know my life will be transformed

I stand upon this future grace

So for His work my passion warmed

So for His work my passion warmed

So in this faith I firmly stand

That formed in me as God had planned

No force on earth can shake me free

My future held by God’s great hand

My future held by God’s great hand.

Wherein lies Your Passion?

Philippians 3: 13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Throughout this life we develop goals for which we strive to complete. Many times our goals are life stages—finish high school, go to college, find a career, get married, or start a family. For some, it may be to excel in some sport. Some want an Olympic Gold Medal. Whatever goal we seek, our success depends on how passionate are we to complete that goal in life. What are we willing to sacrifice in order to complete that goal? Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm, or desire for something. The term is also often applied to a lively or eager interest in or admiration for a proposal, cause, or activity or love. Passion can be expressed as a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object. Great athletes generally must rise above the crowd in a passionate pursuit that drives them far beyond the average man. Often they are immune to realizing pain, as they drive themselves past injury, past fatigue in order to finish the race first. They stay focused on the final goal and will give any sacrifice to complete it. They spend hours and hours in constant hard sacrificial training with the final goal always pressed before them. It is no wonder that Paul used such an analogy to the Christian walk. I am not there yet; but this one most important thing is the only worthy goal for which I place all my passion toward completing. I must forget all the former failures, sorrows, and pains so as to constantly stretch forward to reach that most important of all goals. I press ever forward with training, self denial for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Keeping Christ Jesus as my goal ever before my eyes, I lay aside everything else as unimportant in comparison to knowing Him in all His Glory.

Take a look at the passages just before 13 in Philippians 3: 7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.

8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

12Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

So, the question comes within our Christian walk, “Wherein lies your passion?” Is there anything that you see as being so important that everything else pales in comparison? Some would say their spouse or their children are the most important. Some people feel success or position in life is the most important thing. Even at that, often people may think themselves passionate about something only to later find it unimportant—hence divorce, child neglect, and poor work ethics still run rampant in our society. Often in our Christian walk we are rather lackadaisical about our Christian life. We run hot and cold all too often with no true zeal or passion. We lose focus on our goal. Our Bible lays neatly tucked next to our bed and comes out only to accompany us to church on Sunday. Such a precious gift of His Word so that we might come to know Him better by reading and studying it; yet, it frequently lays unopened while we retire to watch TV in the evening or a movie. Could we say, “I count all things loss, for the Excellency of knowing HIM”? After all if TV, Family, the internet, and the phone prevent us from even opening His word would we rather say, “I count Christ loss for the Excellency of knowing and having all this stuff? What are we passionate for? We too often go to prayer and reading the Bible only when there is a crisis in life or when we want things to go a different way. We fall to our knees in prayer and weeping, “Oh, God, please change these circumstances. God where are you? Why did you let me get sick? Why did I lose my job?” But when life is going along ok; did you ever just sit down and talk to Christ Jesus, your best brother and friend? Do you ever look into the sky and just laugh because of the beauty and share that laughter with God? Have you ever gone to work and can’t wait to get home to see the next sermon in a series, hands perspiring with the anticipation? Through the day do you hear gospel love songs for God running through your head, as you joyfully go about the tasks of your day? I need to get you awake on this one. Does your heart beat with excitement when you hear a song of worship and praise?

Paul had learned that nothing, absolutely nothing was as important in life as to know Christ Jesus intimately, intensely filling ever crevice of our hearts, minds and souls. He also understood that sometimes we walk to pain or suffering so that we might share in His suffering and grow even deeper IN LOVE with this Blameless Lamb who despite being the powerful Lion of Judah, laid down His Life that we might know Him. What greater love is there than the unconditional, sacrificial love He has for us. His Glory, His Majesty compels our very heart and souls to praise Him. His overwhelming love for me reaches deep inside to transform this heart, so that I might catch a glimpse of what true, pure love is and thus be drawn ever closer to Him. Each year as I see a larger glimpse of Him, I find it so overwhelming that it fills each fiber of my being.

Most of my life I searched for human love, I begged God to give me a companion that could love me. I did marry the love of my life, but he was crippled by bipolar disease and unable to show love. Instead, he was physically and mentally abusive as he cycled through the phases of his illness. Amazingly, God taught me so much about unconditional love and the love of my heavenly Father through all those years. My husband died and I was devastated, he was my whole world (even if at times a sick world of pain and suffering). Many of the years of my life I sat alone and felt so desperately filled with loneliness and longing to be loved. During all that time and through bad relationships, I came to realize that never was I alone. God was there in the middle of the night when I cried myself to sleep and God was there the next morning when I would wash my face to go off for work. God was there as I talked to Him about my hopes for the day and to take away my fears while driving to work. He sometimes would awaken me with a song singing in my head at three am so I could smile, go back to sleep and know He already had the answer. I am so grateful that during all those years of loneliness, I was given the awesome opportunity to fall so deeply in love with Jesus that I could never turn back. He became the passion of my heart, as I had been the passion of His when He endured the beatings, the mockery, the pain, His Father’s momentary turning of His back, and His death on the Cross just because He loved me.

So, again I must ask you, “Wherein lies Your Passion? Is He, Jesus Christ the most important goal in your life? Are you willing to lose every other dream in order to follow Him? Will you diligently study and train so as to move ever closer to His magnificent Glory? I only hope and pray that you realize that to move ever forward in this Christian walk you need to become passionate about this one thing, as Paul the Apostle was, that everything is unimportant compared to knowing Him and pressing toward the mark for the Prize of the High Calling of our Savior. Ask Him to give you that heart of love for Him and He will. Once there, you will be able to know joy and hope no matter what the circumstances around you; because of the overflowing well of love and life inside you. The more you love God, the more love flows through you and circling back to God and back through you until becomes an every flowing spiral upward to heaven. Let me share with you this poem and I hope you enjoy it.


Oh, let me Lord delight in You

And lay all else I hold aside

For no desire could mean as much

As hear Your voice, to feel your touch

And in Your arms abide

I feel the safety of your arms

Surrounding me throughout each storm

And when the bitter winter wind

Would bid my very spirit bend

Your breath will keep me warm

Forgive me Lord, this fragile heart

Sometimes desires too much

Forgetting You are all I need

Then comes my tears, my plead

To stop and feel Your touch

I then can hear your gentle laugh

The love within Your voice

“My child I love you evermore

My gifts on you I freely pour

The best for you my choice”

Oh, Lord I want to stay right here

And sit here at Your feet

To never step away from You

And then I cannot lose my view

No chance for fear, defeat

“But child I ask then who would go

To tell the wounded broken heart

That I their lonely heart would mend

If not but you, who can I send

If you refuse to start”

Then Father, Dear, I must say yes

To go and run Your bidding do

And You will cast aside my fears

Your hand will wipe away my tears

And keep my eyes on You

I know that You go with me now

You’re ever present in my heart

I feel Your joy arise within

I feel Your wondrous strength again

Your love will ne’er depart

Sorrowful, yet always rejoicing

II Corinthians 6:

1We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.

2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

3Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

4But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,

5In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;

6By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

7By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,

8By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true;

9As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed;

10As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things


I had finally made it past the he surgery, the divorce was completed, the children grown and off to college—time to move on.  God led me to interview in Springfield, MO for a position as a hospitalist Nurse Practitioner.  Actually, I was going to be their first NP in this position and was given the opportunity to set the precedence.    I continued to be cushinoid   from the former steroids and continued to fight excessive fatigue.     Cushinoid appearance usually is marked by a moon face, a fat pad or hump on the neck and upper back, a protuberant abdomen with striae (stretch marks), and thin legs)  The only thing I had missing was the thin legs as mine were quite chubby.  With great hope and God’s strength, I moved to Springfield, MO February, 2001 and began this incredible job.  God provided me with the best of teachers when He placed Steven Leitch, MD as my boss.  I could not have found any more brilliant of a doctor to sit as student under.  Very quickly I grew to love the entire team which were the best of the best in my estimation.  They became my extended family and I worked very hard to help the teams success.  That was a wonderful first year and it appeared God had a wonderful plan and the illness finally behind me.    It would be just a matter of time to get out of debt .  It was the years in Springfield that I wrote a book titled “Mountaintop Experiences in the Valley”  which to date I have not published; but plan to soon when God says “Go”  

Spring of 2002, I began having increasing problems with abdominal pain and nausea.  I went to have it checked out when a CAT Scan revealed a mass in the head of the pancreas.  I needed and endoscopic ultrasound to determine if this could be cancer.    It took a couple of months to get this approved as it would have to be done in St. Louis.  Once approved, I headed off to St. Louis alone—I got hold of a friend who could pick me up and take me to the hotel next door for the night (I wasn’t suppose to be alone; but I figured God was there and that was enough.)   Once more I had gone to God with the recurrent theme, “ God, are we going home? It has been a long journey and I am tired.  Are You taking me home?  Keep strong to die glorifying You.”  A mass on the pancreas generally means a short time until dying.  I had finally been losing weight also (took so long after the steroids)    I prepared letters for my children and wrote out my funeral wishes .  I wanted to be prepared.  Ultimately we found that no definitive diagnosis could be obtained and that the biopsies only showed  inflammatory changes.  Ultimately I was diagnosed with  chronic pancreatitis.  Since I did not drink nor did I have an elevated triglyceride level so it was determined that either it was autoimmune (presentation fits) versus idiopathic.  Blood work was never fully confirmative; although mildly positive for autoimmune.   

So once more, God had said “no” to going home yet.  Still each time, I found myself closer to God than the time before.  During these time periods, my life still affected those around me.  Some would tell me that it was amazing the faith I had; meanwhile, I kept telling them I was the most fragile Christian leaning hard on a faithful God.  Somehow, even then, when my finances were crashing around me I helped others when they needed it and continued to tithe—knowing that God would bless me. 

It was that fall that mom began calling frequently that she was declining mentally.  I made multiple trips back to Dexter to try to get mom back to her psychiatrist; but all to no avail.  Finally, I brought her to Springfield where she was admitted to the hospital followed by the psychiatric unit.  I hunted her an independent living apartment and found a brand new one-bright and beautiful.  With the help of my nephew, Derrick, I moved furniture from her house to set up an apartment for her—that way she could be close.  Once we had everything set up, Mom looked at Derrick and said, “See, she is stealing everything from me.”  I was crushed; but knew this had to be because she could not be alone anymore.  Every day off, I made trips to pick up other things that she wanted from her house.  Despite my working 60 to 70 hours per week, I visited her at least every other day or sometimes daily on my way home.  She stayed in the independent living apartment until we moved to Florida and she has been with me ever since. 

Just like the title of my book, “Mountaintop Experiences in the Valley”  I truly lived the scripture  I Corinthians 6.  I was poor; yet rich and sorrowful, yet always rejoicing in the Lord.   Let me quote for you excerpts from one of the chapters I penned in 2002 and copyrighted in 2003. 

“cannot I do with you as this potter? Saith the Lord.  Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in mine hand.” Jeremiah 18: 16

When I walk through pain, suffering, loneliness and deep valleys; I want to cry out to God and beg that He change my circumstances.  I question His reasoning and ask, “Why?”  I struggle within His hand.  Sometimes, I feel that He has walked away and is far from me.  Surely, if He were present and truly loved me, He would intervene and remove the pain.   How can it be that my life is constantly filled with troubles, if God is supreme? He knows the desires of my heart, why must my heart be constantly broken? 
When struggling with the trials that we face there can be an answer found in the example of the potter and the clay.  This was the example God gave to Jeremiah.  God’s love for His people was so great; yet, they resisted Him and had turned away to worship other things.  He sent forth Jeremiah to tell them of His mercy and His love for them that they might once more turn their faces to Him.  It is in this setting that He sent Jeremiah to the potter’s house to learn of His ways.  “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” Jeremiah 18:3-4.  We can also learn from the lesson of the potter.
In order for the potter to make a beautiful vessel from a lump of clay, he must first take the clay and knead it to remove any imperfections and air bubbles that may be present.  Depending on the quality of the clay, this may be a difficult process of pounding and kneading.  Once the clay is cleansed, he begins to work the clay gently in his hands to form it into a vessel of beauty.  At times, the clay resists within his hands.  He must pull, stretch and work the clay, sometimes gently and sometimes with great force so that it would yield into the form that he has meant it to be.  It is necessary sometimes to break the vessel he has formed and reform it so that it can be perfectly and beautifully made. The more beautiful the vessel, the more work it takes to form.  Without the work of the potter the lump of clay can never become a vessel of beauty and service.
This is also true of the Christian.  We can never become a vessel of beauty or service without the workmanship of the master Potter.   He knows all of who I am and what kind of vessel I could become in His hands.  “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee.”  Jeremiah 1:5.  These words spoken to Jeremiah are the same for me.  He knew me before I was ever formed in my mother’s womb.  He knew my heart, my strengths, and my faults.  He knew my every thought and my every need before I even existed.  He knew exactly what would be needed to guide me to become the vessel that He created me to become.  He knew what would be needed to bring me ever closer to Him, to bring me into the fullness of joy that He meant for me to have.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Romans 8:28-30.  It is the knowledge of our Sovereign God that allows Him as the Master Potter to mold us from a simple, impure lump of clay into a vessel of light and love that can reflect Him to the world.  He wants us to be vessels that shine forth mercy and love to a dying and destitute world.  It is the greatest investment and achievement that we can have, leading the blind and the lost to Him.  He also knows that our joy is dependent on our relationship to Him.  He wants us to have joy.
Then, if I am to understand the pain and suffering that I face, I must first understand whom He is.  I must be able to see His heart, His wisdom, and His Sovereignty in order to walk through the refining fires of my own life.  It is only then that I can surrender myself into the Potter’s hand and trust Him completely.  It is in knowing who He is that we are able to “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith.”  Hebrews 12: 1-2
He has loved me with His perfect love.  He proved this in the gift of His Son.  “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”  Romans 8: 32.  “For God so loved the World that He gave us His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but hath everlasting life.”  John 3:16.  He loved me so much that He endured the cross, the rejection, the guilt, that I might have life.  His love for me is perfect.  For that reason, He will not allow anything in my life that is not wrapped in His love.  He knew me and He loved me even before I existed.    When I understand His heart of love toward me, I will accept any hardship that comes my way, knowing that His guiding hands of love have allowed it and is holding me, molding me through it. 
Beyond His love is His wisdom, which is not limited by time or space.  Before the world was ever formed, He knew me completely.  “But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.”  Matthew 10:30.  The number of hairs changes constantly, as anyone knows when they brush their hair.  This constantly changing feature is what He used to remind me that He knows each minuscule moment of my life as well as He knows the whole of my life.  He knew every time that I would walk away, each time that I would doubt Him, and each time that I would fail.  He loved me in all my frailty. His wisdom could see my entire life and knows exactly what is needed to mold me into the vessel He would have me to be.  There are no surprises for God.  He still chose this lump of clay and He knows what He is able to form in His hands.   Not only did He know me, He chose me. “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved”  Ephesians 1: 4-6.  He did foreknow me and thereby did predestinate me to be formed into the image of His Son.  His great wisdom only allows those things in my life that are to work toward His glory and my joy.
He is also sovereign.  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1   David knew of His Sovereignty, as he cried out, “I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.”  Psalm 57: 2.  He who has dominion over all things.  “And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him for the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”  Ephesians 1:19-23.  He it is who has power over the storm.  “And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full#SYMBOL  And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”  Mark 4: 37-39. 
This same God of love, wisdom, and sovereignty is the Master Potter of my earthly vessel.  If I understand fully who He is, how can I resist so when His hands reach out to mold me.  Should we not all cry out as did Isaiah, “But now, O Lord, thou art our father: we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of they hand.”  Isaiah 64:8  He has the sight beyond anything that I might see.  He knows the plan that is best for me.  Even when I don’t understand the plan, He is in control.  When it would seem that all around me is crashing in, I can rest assured in His promises.  In the midst of the battles of life, I can claim the victory, for the victory is His.
That is the same as He will do for you.  Perhaps today, the trials that you face seem too hard and you cannot understand what purpose they could have.  Perhaps you feel that you are breaking into pieces that cannot be repaired.  Just remember that you are in the loving Hands of the Master Potter, if you have ever accepted the gift of His salvation through Christ Jesus.  He will always keep His promise to you and will form you into a vessel of joy and light.  Cling to this promise.  Steadfastly hold to this truth and He will show you His way.  Always keep your eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of the race.  He finishes it for us.  He carries us through.  It is He who accomplishes it.  He will bring the peace and joy in the midst of your sorrow. 

Dearest Heavenly Father,  Thank you for having chose me and for being in total control of the molding of my life.  So often, I want or desire things in my life that may not be your plan for me.  Thank you for seeing and knowing what plan is perfect for my life and overriding my shortsighted desires.  It is you that I love and I just want to ask that when I glance to the right or left, help me to keep my eyes fixed on you.  In the midst of the storms of life, guide me.  Let me be able to always sing forth as Job “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”  As you help me to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and on the promises of your word, I know that I will be ready to face the furnace of life and come forth as a vessel worthy of your light.  Let me lay down myself daily before you and allow you to shine forth through my life.  I know that I have peace and joy, no matter what is around me, as I rest in thy loving hands.   It is in the name of your Son, my Savior that I pray.  Amen.

                                                                  Effie Darlene Barba

Why do Christians Suffer?

Why do Christians suffer?

II Corinthians 4: 1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.  3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:  4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.  5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.  6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  11For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12So then death worketh in us, but life in you.

The question of suffering in the life of the Christian has probably had more volumes written than many subjects. Yet, there is no volume of work greater than that of the Holy Bible itself that declares the purposes of pain and suffering. Suffering comes in so many forms and varies with each individual. For some the sheer worry that they might be late to an appointment becomes so intense as to cause great emotional distress. For another, they may be living with chronic pain and physical suffering. Another may have been born with an emotional illness so intense as to interfere with their ability to ever experience joy. Some have been subjected to intense abuse both physical and mental. In another instance, one may be facing severe ridicule due to their economic or physical differences. Yet, there is one common thread that on this earth at some time and to some degree, everyone will at some point suffer loss, pain and tribulations. There are some who want to teach that once a Christian, all these circumstances of pain or illness can be completely cured by prayers of deep faith. Some would try to say that any suffering or trial in a Christians life comes as a result of either sin or a lack of faith; thus returning us all to the law for blessings. This is a complete heresy as God’s word takes a completely different view of trials and tribulations. The studying of God’s word regarding suffering and trials has taken up a great deal of my lifetime while I have tried to find and make sense of my own life. Pain and suffering have always been a very real part of my life. Included among my certificates are emotional abuse, physical abuse, cancer, financial disasters, chronic illness, multiple abdominal surgeries, widowhood, sense of inadequacy, and a sense of loneliness. This has been a very long journey of learning step by step about God’s view of suffering and what my role is. Most recently, I had a complete abdominal wall reconstruction due to multiple hernias with intermittent episodes of obstruction inflicting acute pain. The surgery has proven to be one of the most painful for recovery with my lying at moments with such severe muscle spasm as to be unable to move so that tears would be sliding down my cheeks despite my attempts to be brave. I, who prided myself in the ability to tolerate high levels of pain and never take pain medications, was literally brought to my knees and am still 2 weeks out unable to lift even so much as a picture of water. For the first time in my life I am forced to continue pain meds beyond the first week and one half. Perhaps God wanted to force me to sit down to finish this book writing assignment He gave me a while back.

As I lay in the bed at the hospital during two separate occasions last week, I was left with no IV access and no pain meds. I remember then and on other occasions while lying there that I looked into heaven and cried “God, why so much pain? I know that this is part of your will and plan for my life, but why? What need I learn? Was my pride in the way? Is there someone I need to tell about you, give me strength to testify Your Glory even while hurting so. What a strange thought, that a God of perfect love would desire us to suffer such pain and trials; after all, did He not promise joy, peace and rest in Him. Therein lies the great mystery and the wonder of the Christian life and the answer forevermore to the mighty question “Why do Christians suffer?” It is the question that burns in the mind of ever believer at some moment or time. Still, it is there that we come to find who God truly is and the majesty of His heart of love for each and every one of us. It is our testimony to the remainder of the world which is lost and dying. It is the heart and the soul of the gospel of Christ. From the center of this brokenness, God can demonstrate His greatest power and love. It is in the depth of this understanding and coming to the very end of one’s self that He is able to fill us with His fullness that a world might see Him shine through us. It is there that we reach the depth and the understanding of His broken heart for a dying world. It is when we begin to see our pain and sorrow through the eyes of a loving God that we may truly understand and say “Thank you, Lord for these my tears which draw me closer ever to thee.” When you see a gentle, kind woman whose dreams have all been broken who reaches out to help others to fly, you stand in wonder and awe. A world looking on begins to wonder what it is that she has that gives her strength and long to have the same. It is that wonder which draws others to Christ himself. After all, He gave up the majesty of His throne to come to the earth and suffer hunger, pain, sorrow, betrayal and death that we might be saved. Would our walk on this earth to become more like Him demand any less? When we reach the point that we understand that every minute detail of our life as a Christian is sifted through God’s hand of love, only then can we truly grow through each painful process and become the beautiful vessel God intended us to be. Only then can we “mount up with wings as eagles”.

I contend that there are six major reasons for pain in our lives. 1. We live in a fallen world. 2. As a direct consequence of our own willful sin ( not a punishment merely a direct reaction for our action) 3. To turn us around from a dangerous path which will lead to our destruction. 4. To grow us up. 5. For the good of the kingdom. 6. To develop intimacy with Christ. These are the six reasons God allows or even brings sometimes the suffering into our lives.

These points are demonstrated throughout the Bible in the lives of God’s men and women. So often in Christianity we want to preach a gospel of prosperity because we think that this would appeal to the crowds. So many sects attempt to teach this and have hoards of followers walking down the path to final destruction. This is the gospel that Satan would want us to hear; yet, it is not the gospel of Christ. You might say that if that be the case you don’t want to hear anymore about the gospel; yet, let me assure you that having walked this very journey of pain and suffering I would do it all again and cry every tear again for the magnificent glory of knowing Christ. My heart is filled with joy beyond measure and a peace unshakable by earthly sorrows because of this great and mighty knowledge of Him. Only when I came to the end of myself could I be filled with His joy, His peace, His wonder and His power. Yet, with me this remains God’s work in progress because despite all that I have been taught; there are moments while in this human body I look away and lose sight for a moment. Yet, those moments become fewer with time and I awaken each morning with the excited expectation of waiting to see what wondrous gift He has in store for me today.

Within the body of God’s love letters to us, He has provided many examples to further support my position of the six reasons that God allows and even brings sorrow into our lives. That is what I hope to bring to light in your lives through this chapter of this book. Once you are able to see your sorrows and trials through the eyes of God, the burden lightens and you become able to say “Thank you, Lord, for I know your hand is in this and there is somewhere within this sorrow a gift of love from you.” The truth is for each child of God, everything that happens in our life is sifted through God’s mighty hands of love; therefore, EVERYTHING that occurs in our life is a GIFT OF LOVE from an almighty, all-knowing, loving heavenly Father. Once you see this and understand it, your entire life becomes transformed into a fountain of hope, inspiration and peace.

It is learning to see our lives through the eyes of God Himself. Much of what is frustration, pain and sorrow comes from a misguided expectation of what we “deserve”. Unfortunately we are mistakenly taught to believe it is our right to have comfort, health, possessions, and worldly happiness. Therefore, many come to believe and even teach a “Santa Claus God”. Yet, God knows that happiness, peace and joy only results from a deep relationship with Him. That place of true joy and peace comes only from understanding who He is. Nothing else, nor any other relationship can fulfill our desires or needs the way He can.

The Bible says in Romans 8: 28And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. How can I ever look like Christ if I have never carried a cross? There is a compassion and love that can come from a walk with sorrow which is unable to be found anywhere else.

We do live in a fallen world where evil does exist and Satan would like nothing better than to replace joyfulness with puckered faces, like a plum with all the water of life extracted resulting in that prune faced look. In this he seems to have a large following of grumbling, unhappy so called Christians who would not be able to draw anyone toward the light. More than this he loves to confuse the gospel of Christ by mingling truth with falsehood in addition to creating multiple religions which battle and fight against each other rather than to concentrate on teaching the gospel of Christ. There are also the changes in nature secondary to the fall which results in ever increasing illness and devastation. There is the greed of mankind’s heart that leads to the destruction of nature and to financial turmoil throughout the world. Some of the suffering in this world is a direct result of this and also a means for us to be able to recognize and be reminded of the true state of affairs in which we live. The evil surrounding us gives us the first glimpse into the state of mankind, his separation from His creator and purpose, and the need of a Savior. Psalm 19:

“1The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.  2Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. 3There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard.  4Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, 5Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 6His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.  7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

Everything around us reminds us of a Sovereign God for whom we need communion with and the law itself reminds us that we cannot reach Him of our own accord. Romans 3: 10As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  11There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:  15Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17And the way of peace have they not known: 18There is no fear of God before their eyes. 19Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

A second reason for pain and suffering is similar in that there are some direct consequences to certain actions. For example, smoking increases chances of lung cancer; therefore, if you smoke and get lung cancer it is a direct consequences not a direct punishment by God for the lack of care of the temple given. Promiscuous relationships may lead to HIV or Syphilis which can be direct consequence of the action. If you yell at your boss, you might just find yourself without a job. In these circumstances, the problem is that generally guilt and condemnation become such a part of the person’s response to the trial that it adds an unnecessary burden and weight to the trial and many times prevents the person from focusing on “what does God have for me in this trial?” Sometimes in these cases there is a sense that you cannot even bring this to Christ’s feet because of recurrent sin. Yet, for the one who knows Christ as their Savior this is not true. Will God remove the consequence? Maybe, Maybe not; but He will walk through it with you. Let me give you a few scriptures to help you deal with the guilt if that is your case. Primarily remember that salvation is by grace alone through Christ alone. Romans 8: 1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  2For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. .. 9But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” So if you know Christ as your Savior, then you know that the Holy Spirit Dwells within you, and there is therefore (because of clause a and b) no condemnation. When we wallow in self condemnation with guilt laden hearts we have taken our eyes off of Christ in all His Glory and refocused our attention on ourselves somehow believing that we had something to do with our salvation and sanctification to begin with. Guilt will not be able to make you more holy, so you must take your eyes off of you and refocus on Christ Himself. Phillippians 3: “ Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” It is difficult not to dwell on our own failures which may have added to the current trial; but, we are commanded not to dwell. We press forward focusing on the author and finisher of our faith.

A third reason that trials come into our lives is that God needs to get our attention to turn us around from a dangerous path which will lead to our destruction. Sometimes in this Christian walk we are very much like sheep who wander about through the meadows not even noticing that we are approaching a dangerous area. Sometimes we become complacent in the routines of our daily life, giving little notice to the Bible lying beside our bed. Maybe not in particular looking to go the wrong direction; yet, ending up down some dead-end street going to nowhere. Or perhaps you saw all the warning signs and all the danger signs; still, choosing to go down the wrong path for whatever excuse you could make up. Just like the shepherd might need to use his staff to redirect the sheep; God, needs to get our attention and get us to turn around. Hebrews 12: 5And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:  6For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.  7If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” This is a rod that is not meant to have us “pay for your sins”; but, rather a nudging to get us turned around and pointed in the right direction. When facing this kind of a trial, it is good to remember Psalm 23: 1The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.  2He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.  4Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” We too often fail to see the rod and staff as comforting; however, the truth is they are a reminder of His love which cannot allow us to wander off into dangerous paths. Instead “ He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.”

A fourth reason for pain and tribulation to come into our lives is to grow us up. Before a baby can walk, they must first learn to crawl and then venture out on wobbly limbs with a few falls and scrapes before mastering the ability. We in our Christian walk are very similar. Throughout the scripture, God assures us that He is taking the responsibility of finishing the work of growing us up into the image of Jesus Christ. Who is better suited for the task of transforming me than an Omniscient, Sovereign, and Omnipotent Creator. After all, He formed me in my mother’s womb and knows everything about me yesterday, today and tomorrow. As the master potter, He is the one who knows just how much pain, sorrow, stretching, failures are needed to change me into an image of Jesus Christ. A few verses to remind you of this being His primary work. Romans 8: “29”For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son; ”Phillippians 1: “ 6Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:” II Corinthians 3: 18”But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” Wow, actually I am so glad that He takes the responsibility of the work of changing me; as I would not have a clue how to transform me. This change may require a lot of refining—I Peter 1: 7”That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” He is changing us just as a potter forming the clay, as noted in Isaiah 64: 8 “But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Romans 9: 20”Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? 21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? 22What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” As, He has chosen me to be His child how then can I ever complain as to the method it takes to make me a vessel of beauty for His glory?

A fifth reason for pain and suffering in the life of a Christian is for the Good of the Kingdom. It is many times necessary for the work of Christ to continue that His followers must endure great pain, sorrow and tribulation. Perhaps this is best illustrated by two simple stories chosen out of the hundreds lining the scripture. Stephen was chosen for his great faith to take a position of ministry in the early church. Acts 6: 8”And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.. 10And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.  11Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. 12And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, 13And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law: 14For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.  15And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel” He continued to preach the truth, for which he was stoned—As the story is told Acts 7: 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.  57Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.  59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.” Tragedy!! yes in our eyes; but God had a bigger plan for the kingdom and as noted He was there with Stephen each step of the way. How often do missionaries die in the work of Christ? How often is our pain and suffering there only so that we might point toward His Glory in the center of our suffering. It is commonplace to see people appear happy in prosperity; however, the true joy we have seen in the saintly Christians laidened with suffering and yet a powerful testimony for Christ Jesus—they change our lives. The second biblical life I want to exemplify to further explain this phenomenon is that of Paul the Apostle. We just met him in the previous scripture about Stephen; as it was he (Saul) that ordered the murder of Stephen and the clothes were laid at his feet. He watched as this saintly young preacher died praising his Lord and asking forgiveness for his murderers. Did this sight of Stephen’s death play a role in the salvation of Paul? I daresay it must have played a part in the preparation of a wayward, stony heart. Did this sight haunt him later, a reminder of how great was God’s grace in his salvation? Yet, after his salvation, Paul became one of the greatest teachers of the faith. Perhaps, what he saw in Stephen affected his willingness to sacrifice himself for the sake of the gospel. Perhaps this is why Paul would be able to write in 2 Corinthians 11: 23”Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. 24Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.  25Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;  26In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. 28Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. 9Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? 30If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 1The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. 32In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands”. Yet despite this degree of suffering, He exhorted us to live this same example of faith. In 2 Corinthians 6 he wrote, “1We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.  2(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) 3Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed: 4But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, 5In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;  6By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, 7By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, 8By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; 9As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.” What an example of suffering for the good of the Kingdom!! Although there is no suffering you, Paul, Stephen nor I can suffer that will even come close to the sacrificial suffering of Jesus Christ. How would I think I could ever look like Him if I never undergo any tribulations?

The 6th reason for pain and suffering in the life of the believer is to develop intimacy with Christ. Indeed, I believe this to be the greatest and the most important of all. If, indeed you come to an understanding of this deep intimacy with Christ Jesus, it changes forever how you view pain and suffering. It did for Paul as he wrote, Phillippians 3: 3”For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.  4Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: 5Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee;  6Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  9And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  10That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; 11If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.” What more can be said than the savoring of these words. I count all things loss, but for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. Nothing, no one, is as important as coming to know Christ in all His Glory. To see Him in all His Magnificent Splendor and to fall before Him and wash His feet with my tears is worth more than anything that I could own or possess on this earth. There is no pain or sorrow too great to endure just for a glimpse at HIM. He is so worthy of my praise that even if there was nothing on the line, I would praise Him. Even if salvation was not on the table, I would still fall before His throne to praise Him. There is no pain, tear, sorrow that I would not willingly walk through again just for the wonderful chance of knowing Him.

Given these as the reasons for Christian Suffering, perhaps, we can begin to understand James when he wrote, James 1: 2”My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.  5If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” Or Peter, in I Peter 5: 6”Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. 11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” And also as Paul wrote, in Romans 5: . “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;  4And patience, experience; and experience, hope:  5And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

Would I Love You Even More

I felt the searing, pelting rain

Deep within my soul

I was uncertain where to turn

Or what should be my goal

I gazed upon a cross so far

That stood upon a hill

A Lion strong had died a Lamb

He gave His life at will

That I so undeserving be

Might see His face of love

A Glimpse of His true Glory

To fill me with His Love

Would I love You just the same

When my life is filled with shame

When pain is all I know

Would my love for You still show

Can I show Your Glory still

Accept this as Your will

When my heart is broke in two

Cradled in Your hands, renew

As on Your hope I soar

Would I love You even more?

Soul, forget not, ‘mid thy pains, God o’er all for ever reigns."

Romans 8:

17And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

18For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

19For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God


On August 2nd, I was admitted to the hospital for surgery.  The two weeks prior, I had been searching in prayer for that since of hope that for the most part was a part of my life; yet, there had been a sense of foreboding and my time was spent with the overwhelming sense that  I wanted to spend all my hours resting in the arms of my savior in prayer and bible study.  Alas I was working what was a 26 day stretch with no relief before surgery.  I knew that my abdominal wall was scarred with multiple hernias as a result of so many other surgeries and that intermittently I had brief episodes of obstructions as the intestines tried to work their way through the obstacle course.  So, I had a co-worker drop me off at the front as they themselves went in to work and I waited my turn for surgery.  Everything had been completed, the house was full of groceries, all instructions were given to everyone at work under my charge and Zak was ready to do whatever needed for mom.   It was welcome relief when they gave me the injections preoperatively that were like a sweet bliss to leave all thought behind and to move forward with what must be done.   After all I was strong and this time not facing some life and death situation as usually was the case.   When, I awakened, I was in severe pain which became the truth of my life for the next week.  The pain was as severe as it had been with the 13 hour surgery  when I had the mastectomy.  Indeed, it seemed worse as the week wore on than the previous as it seemed relentless in the persistence of pain’s severity with muscle spasms.  I wondered at the severity of pain and if in part it was worse secondary to the weariness of an already aging, deteriorating body.  After all the other surgery had been 12 years and many  nights of trial ago.  Particularly, on the day after surgery, my IV failed and I was without pain medications for about 5 to 6 hours—by this time I was in severe pain with such tremendous muscle spasms surrounding my ribcage that I could not so much as move.    I remember tears rolling down my cheeks; but the special IV team came and got the IV started due to the intervention of a very special caring doctor  who called to place me high priority (such acts of mercy and grace in the midst of all)  I forced myself out of bed to walk the circles around the nurses stations on many hours of the day and night.   Some how I felt myself a failure not to be able to deal with this with greater of a smile.  (I really saw myself as pretty wimpy)   Despite my feeling myself a failure I had beautiful gentle caring nurses who constantly told me how brave and strong I was. The pain was so severe that I developed rapid cardiac arrhythmias and high blood pressure in addition to tremors.   I remember one night asking God “WHY?” this depth of pain?  The worst of the pain seems to come from lower ribcage where everything had to be attached.  My thoughts began to wander that night and I realized that  the pain I was now feeling was only minor compared to the pain that Christ had felt on the road to Calvary.    Mine was two rib areas; yet, He had been beaten such as to have every rib area torn and shredded with a pain unimaginable.  I had pain meds and He had none.  Finally, that night I prayed, :God for whatever time you wish this pain to continue, let it.  Help me to keep my eyes only on you Lord.    On Sunday, I began retching and vomiting suddenly and required a  tube to pass from my nose to my stomach to drain out the liquids and air until the gut could awaken fully from it’s stupor and start working.  Throughout the time in the hospital, God sent so many moments of mercy and grace to keep me looking ever forward toward hope which is God’s Glory.   Let me quote from Charles Surgeons’ morning devotional for August 12 (would be ironic were it not for the fact that God is truly sovereign to have me come home and write this blog on August 12)



Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening – August 12

——————————– Morning Devotional

"The Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice." – Psalm 97:1

Causes for disquietude there are none so long as this blessed sentence is true. On earth the Lord’s power as readily controls the rage of the wicked as the rage of the sea; his love as easily refreshes the poor with mercy as the earth with showers. Majesty gleams in flashes of fire amid the tempest’s horrors, and the glory of the Lord is seen in its grandeur in the fall of empires, and the crash of thrones. In all our conflicts and tribulations, we may behold the hand of the divine King.

"God is God; he sees and hears All our troubles, all our tears. Soul, forget not, ‘mid thy pains, God o’er all for ever reigns."

In hell, evil spirits own, with misery, his undoubted supremacy. When permitted to roam abroad, it is with a chain at their heel; the bit is in the mouth of behemoth, and the hook in the jaws of leviathan. Death’s darts are under the Lord’s lock, and the grave’s prisons have divine power as their warder. The terrible vengeance of the Judge of all the earth makes fiends cower down and tremble, even as dogs in the kennel fear the hunter’s whip.

"Fear not death, nor Satan’s thrusts, God defends who in him trusts; Soul, remember, in thy pains, God o’er all for ever reigns."

In heaven none doubt the sovereignty of the King Eternal, but all fall on their faces to do him homage. Angels are his courtiers, the redeemed his favourites, and all delight to serve him day and night. May we soon reach the city of the great King!

"For this life’s long night of sadness He will give us peace and gladness. Soul, remember, in thy pains, God o’er all for ever reigns."


I needed a reminder of the truth,  there is no pain too great to bear for the salvation of one soul and if my pain could lead one to Christ then it is worth it all.   It was also a reminder of Christ bore for me. 

Love, Effie Darlene Barba