Faith

Knowing God through Suffering: Introduction, Part 1

“So, this is it. This is how I’m going to die,” I thought as I kneeled over the toilet in my underwear, waves of pain slamming my stomach. For the sixth time in two weeks I was experiencing unbearable pain, caused by the lemon-size tumor in my small bowel. What I didn’t know was that it had almost completely blocked my intestine and that I would be in the hospital within the hour. It would be my first of four stays in the hospital, culminating two months later in emergency surgery to fix a perforated bowel.

All of this was happening in the middle of chemotherapy to treat the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma that had been diagnosed a few months before. And that followed the discovery of a brain tumor weeks prior to the cancer diagnosis. I felt for the first time like I understood completely what the Psalmist experienced when he cried out that God’s waves overwhelmed him (Ps. 88:7). It had been one blow after another and little did I know that it would continue this way for some time to come.

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In Matters of Health, Trusting God Means Using What He Provides

When God brought judgment on Ahab and Israel in the form of drought and famine, he sent Elijah to a secluded retreat somewhere along the Brook Cherith (1 Kings 17). During this period, God’s care for Elijah reveals an interesting pattern. The details are memorable and exceptional, but the pattern is not.

And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. (ESV, 1 Ki 17:6)

Here in 2022, we need to look closely at how Elijah responded to God’s provision. The record is clear that Elijah ate what these ceremonially unclean ravens (Lev 11:13-15) brought. In Elijah’s mind, he was not choosing between trusting God and trusting ravens.

To put it another way: Elijah saw no conflict between trusting in God and trusting in the means God used to preserve his life and health.

Elijah’s story doesn’t end there.

And after a while the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, 9 “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. Behold, I have commanded a widow there to feed you.” (1 Ki 17:7–9)

Here we see a second feature of Elijah’s thinking that is important in our day. Elijah didn’t reason that since brooks tend to dry up in droughts, he should reject brooks as a water source. Instead, he chose to make the most of what God had made available, limited though it was.

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Book Review – God of All Things: Rediscovering the Sacred in an Everyday World

The idea "that our universe of things points to God and proclaims his glory, is the foundational thesis for Andrew Wilson’s book.... [which] poses the question why God created things—after all, he could have created only a spiritual world without physical substance." - TGC

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Trust the God Who Provides (Not the Means He Uses)

"If you have had a stable and steady job for 5, 10, or 20 years, it’s easy to get the idea that the job that is what provides for you. No, God provides for you. ...You may say—God has provided a small group for me, a dear friend for me, a healthy church for me, a wonderful ministry for me. These are the means of God’s supply. The way God supplies will change." - Colin Smith

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