Feb 11, 2011


Life can be filled with great moments of unbelievable joy, happiness, and pleasure. Life can also be cruel, hard, and painful. And it seems as though we don’t get to always choose what comes our way; just how we respond to it.

One of the misconceptions that we have in life is that those who are _______ must have all of the answers. We apply this to whoever is in a particular occupation, business, profession, or calling in which we are looking for answers. This list would also include ministers, doctors, parents, grandparents. 

From one who has been in the position of having others ask the tough questions, I realize that oftentimes I have more questions than real answers to give in return. This is particularly true when trying to listen to a person who is seeking to make sense of their world that has been shattered by some event, illness, or circumstance. 

I can end up pondering within myself; believing that I really should have or need to have all the answers. Truth be told, I really don’t have all of the answers to all of your questions. In fact, most of my answers are either repeating a pearl of wisdom learned over the years or else (if it really is wisdom) simply sharing what I believe God is saying; His words, not mine. Again, I really don’t have all of the answers to all of your questions.

One of the reasons that Jesus walked the earth; 100% man (as well as 100% God) was so we would know that He DOES understand what it is like to be hurt and go through pain of death, loss of loved ones, watching people suffering from hunger, pain, sickness, disease, rejection.

That’s why He alone is the One we should turn to. His suffering on the cross as well as His experience with the pains of this life makes Him the ultimate, compassionate One to call out to. He saw what sins does to us and went to the cross and called out; “It is finished!” The Bible was written not so that we understand what Jesus went through, but so that we understand that HE UNDERSTANDS WHAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH!

I do know that if you are going to be used by God, He will take you through experiences that are meant to make you useful in His hands, and to enable you to understand what others go through. 

Eugene Peterson in “The Message” translation of the Bible writes it this way; “Friends, when life gets really difficult, don't jump to the conclusion that God isn't on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)

Some of the most compassionate, caring, empathetic people are those who have gone through what you are now experiencing. Some of the greatest organizations and ministries were started by people who wanted to reach out and provide a service to those who were going through something that they themselves had gone through. People who wanted to be there for others; using their own experience to be a source of hope. People who have been shaped and forged by life to become vessels from which cool refreshing drinks can be poured to hurting people who are thirsting for answers and relief.

God wants you to turn to Him with all of your tough questions; even your frustrations and anger. He really can handle it; He is not going to push you away. And in time, if you let Him, He can transform you into a person through whom He will pour His life to those who come across your path through this world. You may not have all of your questions answered or know exactly what He is doing, but you can still experience His peace (shalom) knowing that He will make sense of all of what you have and will go through.

And in time, you too can be a "chalice" for others.

Chalice by Phil Keaggy
(influence from the writings of Oswald Chambers and C.S. Lewis)

The way to find ourselves is in the fires of our sorrow
Do we look around, expect to see the wind?
Could we prevent the trials that we face with each tomorrow?
Can't we see this is the world were living in?

When suffering restores us, burns away the empty shallowness
And softening the heart,
To be broken bread and poured out wine.
When it rains it pours, turns a life into a chalice;
There to nourish every soul one at a time.

We do wrong should we refuse to listen to the Master
Who went on before that we walk in His steps?
Before too long we run away...and running even faster,
We fail to see the promise that He kept.

And suffering restores us; burns away the empty shallowness
And softening the heart
To be broken bread and poured out wine...
When it rains it pours; turns a life into a chalice;
There to nourish every soul one at a time.

To love is to be broken, but to love nothing and no one,
We must close our own selves up, shut all the doors
And let no one in.
Locked within ourselves where it's safe and dark and motionless
Where love will cease to be
And all the while the air is wearing thin…

When suffering restores us, burns away the empty shallowness,
And softening the heart, to be broken bread and poured out wine...
When it rains it pours; turns a life into a chalice…
There to nourish every soul...
One at a time.

"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. 23 Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. 24 For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance." (Romans 8:18 NKJV)

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