A Side Of Perfect Beauty in Every Providence

Corrie Ten Boom famously compared God’s providence to a tapestry which, as it is being woven, seems to be little more than a mess of threads and knots. But when finished it is turned over to reveal its beauty. You can read this in a poem she popularized titled “Life Is But a Weaving.” But she was not the only one who has made such a comparison. Long before Ten Boom the abolitionist John Greenleaf Whittier wrote “The Pressed Gentian.” …

No Hand But His Ever Holds the Shears

Suffering is never pleasant. We never welcome trials as we do joys, for suffering always brings sorrow, it always brings pain. Sometimes a loved one is taken from us and we experience the aching grief of absence. Sometimes we suffer the loss of money, property, or position and we mourn what has been torn from us. Sometimes we are tried by sickness or unremitting pain and we lament the pleasures we can no longer enjoy. No matter how suffering comes …

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Hope When Life Unravels

Christians are well-resourced when it comes to books on suffering. Such books can typically be divided into two types: Those that are structured around theological themes and those that are structured around lived experiences. So some people begin with an examination of what the Bible has to say about suffering while other people begin with their own experiences of suffering and apply Scripture to them. There is value in both approaches. Adam Dooley’s Hope When Life Unravels falls squarely in …

How To Bear Up Under Your Burdens

We all bear burdens on our pilgrimage through this weary and wearying world. Sometimes these are burdens of temptation, when we feel the world, the flesh, and the devil arrayed against us, luring and enticing us toward some sinful thought or depraved deed. Sometimes these are burdens of guilt as we think back to a sin we committed and we grieve our folly, grieve our inner disposition away from what is good and toward what is evil. Sometimes these are …

Blessed Are the Weak!

The Beatitudes of Jesus are meant to shock us in the ways they so consistently counter our instincts and interrupt our inclinations. They commend the meek rather than the assertive; they commend the poor in spirit rather than the self-sufficient; they commend the reproached rather than the praised. The Beatitudes highlight some of the counter-cultural, Spirit-given qualities that God so values in his people. If Jesus were to add just one more beatitude, perhaps it would be this: Blessed are …

Lessons Learned Through Grief

I have, in many ways, lived a very easy life. Sure, I’ve had my share of difficulties—I’ve lived, after all, in this broken world and not some perfect paradise. And while I know there isn’t a lot of value in comparing my little suffering to other people’s greater suffering, still I understand I have had it easy relative to so many people I’ve known and loved. Yet, this world being what it is, I knew it was only a matter …

How Is God Present in Our Pain?

In our pain we know God is not absent, but in our pain we also wonder whether God is present. Or perhaps more correctly we wonder how God is present. In times of great grief or dark uncertainty we cling to the reality that God is a loving Father who has welcomed us into his family—we are his beloved children. We dwell on the promise that he will never leave nor forsake the ones he loves—he will preserve us to …

Between Life and Death

We’ve all heard the witticisms about death and taxes as the world’s only inevitabilities and about humanity’s mortality rate continuing to stick stubbornly at exactly one hundred percent. We all know we are going to die and that we ought to prepare ourselves accordingly. But what’s equally inevitable and perhaps even more painful, is that people we love are going to die. Harder still, is that we may need to guide them or even make decisions for them in those …

Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them

We all suffer in this messy, sin-stained world. Sometimes our suffering is the direct result of our own sin and sinfulness. Sometimes it’s because others sin against us. And then sometimes we suffer through the suffering of those we love. And while it can be difficult or even gruelling to walk alongside a loved one’s illness or disease, there is something particularly trying about enduring another person’s mental illness. In Broken Pieces and the God Who Mends Them: Schizophrenia Through …

Comforting Quotes for Those Who Are Suffering

Without a doubt, the most impactful book I read last year was A Book of Comfort for Those in Sickness. I’m sure its significance was partly due to some medical struggles I’ve been having recently, but also simply because life is full of difficulties. We all go through difficult times in these difficult lives in this broken world, and a book like this one delivers comfort rooted in the Comforter. I’ve collected some of my favorite quotes from the book, …