God Gives a Song in the Night

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Yesterday’s post was a reminder that no matter how bad things may look, God will work all things out for our good and His glory. We have His promise on that, but often, our faith in that promise will be tested. You know Jason and I have been dealing with the situation of finding a new home for Barnabas. This has been a difficult and heart-wrenching task, but it looked like some things were finally coming together.

In the midst of all this, we received a phone call last night notifying us that Jason’s replacement at work had quit without notice, leaving the owner high and dry. Jason, being the loyal person he is, agreed to pick up the work on the calendar until other arrangements could be made. We had just begun to settle into somewhat of a rhythm for doing deputation full-time, but now, we’re back to dividing our attention between work and ministry.

My first reaction was to stress and panic. This was not the way things were supposed to work! In the moment, it seemed as if all my prayers over the past weeks and months had gone unheard, and I felt frustrated and confused. As I lay in bed last night, I pleaded with God to give me peace despite these troubling circumstances. And this morning, God gave a song. . .well, actually He gave me several.

The first two songs I want to share with you below. These are songs that have meant a lot to me over the years, but I admit, I haven’t heard either of them for quite some time. This morning, as I prepared for my morning walk with Barnabas, the first song came to mind “out of the blue,” and as I reached the end of the tune, the second song began to play through my thoughts. I cannot tell you what a blessing each song was, but even more than that, how blessed I felt at God’s reminder that He gives a song in the night.

As I listened to the radio in the car, I smiled as I tuned in to two songs about how God hears and answers prayer. One of them even went so far as to say, “I’m hear to tell you your prayer has been heard.” It was as if God was speaking to me directly and reminding me that even though things aren’t going the way I hoped or planned, He is still in control. He is working. He is watching. He is listening. And He cares.

Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
— Psalm 42:8

Really, God? All Things? -- An Excerpt from Daily Discussions of a Doubting Disciple

This morning, I was chatting with my mom about the process of rehoming our sweet dog, Barnabas. As you can imagine, this has been beyond difficult for Jason and me, and as the time grows closer to say our goodbyes, my heart grows so heavy it feels it will burst. I know this is something we have to do, but I have yet to understand why. Why would God ask so much of us? I didn’t share all of this with my mother, but over the past few weeks, I’ve shared enough with her that she knows how much this hurts us.

As Jason and I headed out to take Barnabas on a hike before the day grew too warm, I received a text message from my mom. It read, “A very wise and talented author has written something that will hlep you as you face this hard choice you know you must soon make. See Daily Discussions of a Doubting Disciple page 79. She can help you.”

For those of you who aren’t aware, Daily Discussions of a Doubting Disciple is the title of one of my books. Yes, my mother used my own words against me. Only, they weren’t really against me. As I read the message within those pages, I realized I already had all the answers I needed. No, I may not understand why God is asking this of us, but I know I can trust that He will work even this for our good. Below you’ll find the devotion I wrote several years ago when facing a similar crisis of faith. I hope it will encourage you as it encouraged me.


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As many of you know, at the early part of last week, I dislocated my shoulder.  I spent the remainder of the week lying on the couch or bed in great pain and doped up on muscle relaxers.  (By the way, I HATE medicine, so the fact that I took so much will tell you how much pain I was in.)  Jason had a very busy week at work, so he wasn't able to help much with housework or other chores, and so I watched, helplessly, as my house (which I had just cleaned) became cluttered with dirty dishes, laundry, and take-out boxes.

When I was coherent enough to think straight, my thoughts consisted mainly of the following:

*My book tour starts on the 22nd, and I'm not ready.  I have interview questions to answer, guest posts to write and publicizing to do.

*I have to march at the college graduation on Friday night.  I need to be well by then.

*Abby's (my niece) play is on Saturday.  I can't miss that.  She's worked so hard, and this year she's actually in the play.  Not to mention, I spent all that time making her costume. 

*My house is falling apart.  I can't stand this mess any longer.  I need to get better.

*The dogs are growing restless.  They haven't been for a walk in a while.  I'd take them if I could, but I can barely make it back and forth to the bathroom.

*I need to prepare my Sunday School lesson and offertory for Sunday.  Offertory?  Can I play the piano at all?  Oh dear!

And on and on the thoughts circled.  Let me tell you, it was more than a little frustrating and depressing.  And yet, all the while, Romans 8:28 kept joining the other thoughts.   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.

"Really?"  I asked.  "What good could possibly come from this?"  But still, the thought would not go away.

It remained with me as my house grew more and more cluttered before my eyes.  It calmed me when my book tour grew closer, and I still found myself unable to concentrate long enough to come up with a coherent sentence.  It encouraged me when I missed graduation and my niece's play.  And it helped me accept the fact that I was going to have to "sit out" from my normal duties at church on Sunday.

I can honestly tell you, now that I'm back on the mend (although I'm not there yet), that I still have no idea what "good" God is working from this past week.  It was painful, exhausting and extremely frustrating.  I began this week still not feeling 100%, yet facing two weeks' worth of work.  Still, the reminder is there.  It whispers to my soul every moment of every hour of every day, "It's good.  It's all good.  It will be good.  You'll see."

I don't know what you may be facing today, but may I remind you of the same.  It's good.  It's all good.  It will be good.  Just keep trusting.  Just keep praying.  And above all, keep going. . .even when the way is unclear and the path seems painful.

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Seasons of Suffering

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While on my prayer walk yesterday, I saw something that made me smile and cry at the same time.  A young woman was jogging with her two dogs.  Not an uncommon sight on the Swamp Rabbit Trail.  But, as the woman passed me, I couldn’t help but notice the contrast between her two dogs.  The canine on her right was as white as snow and stood as high as the woman’s hip.   The dog on her left was a brown chihuahua whose ears barely reached the height of the woman’s socks.  I continued to watch, noticing that the contrast between the two dogs didn’t end with their appearance.

As the woman jogged along, the tall dog on the right moved his legs in a slow, easy stride.  He wasn’t so much running as he was gliding.  The chihuahua, on the other hand, was moving all four legs just as fast and hard as he could and still falling far behind.  I immediately felt sorry for the poor thing, and that’s when the tears threatened to spill out of my eyes.  I realized how much I could relate to that poor little mutt.

Like him, I know how it feels to see those around me effortlessly moving forward while I’m striving with every bit of strength and energy I have and still falling behind.  And I know I’m not alone.  Just this weekend, I spoke with several strong women who are waging war against sickness, disease, and other health issues.  As I conversed with these women and their families, a litany of negative words flowed through the conversations.  Frustrated.  Discouraged.  Helpless.  Hopeless.  Like me, these women long to do more, be more, live more, but their spirits are currently in bondage to a body that can’t keep up.  And so, we watch as others live their lives and try our best not to grow discontent with our current season of life.

As I watched the contrasting dogs and thought of these women (and myself), a passage from the book of Job crossed my mind.  We all know what Job went through.  In a single season of life, he lost his family, his livelihood, and his health.  If anyone had a reason to feel frustrated, discouraged, helpless, and hopeless, it was Job.  But look at what he said in the middle of such heartache:

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
— Job 2:9-10

Shall we receive good and not evil?  It’s a fair question.  Why is it that we, as Christians, expect to get only good things from God?  Or, to put it more accurately, why can we not understand that often the things that seem wrong or evil are actually for our good?  It just doesn’t make sense to our finite brains, but that’s why God gave us His Word.  So we wouldn’t have to lean on our own understanding.  All we have to do is trust that what He has said is true.  

With that in mind, here are some encouraging Scriptures the Lord gave me this morning.  These verses apply to everyone, but I pray they will be a special blessing to all of you who are fighting illness or disease and are growing more discouraged with every passing day.  Let God’s Word assure your heart that He cares for you and that through this season of suffering, He is working all things for your good.  And remember, this too shall pass!

The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. - Exodus 14:14

Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. - Isaiah 40:28-31

And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed. - Deuteronomy 31:8

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. - Jeremiah 29:11

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:19

Yea, 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. - Psalm 23:4

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's. - Psalm 103:2-5

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. - Isaiah 41:10

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise. - Jeremiah 17:14

The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. He keepeth all his bones: not one of them is broken. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate. The Lord redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate. - Psalm 34:17-22

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. - Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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