When You Can’t Find Joy in the Holidays

The holiday season can be a lonely, hard time for those of us who have particularly hard circumstances. Perhaps you have lost a loved one with whom you used to spend the holidays. Or maybe, like me, you live with chronic pain, and each day is hard beyond belief. Or perhaps your little ones are grown and the house is now empty on Christmas day. All of the these things can make the holiday season particularly hard to bear.

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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

Have you wondered what God is doing in your difficult circumstances? Why God allows suffering into our lives? It’s natural to ask why and to want to see some benefit from our suffering, because it makes us feel better if we can see good coming out of the difficult situations in our lives. It makes it seem more “worth it” when we can see a purpose for it all.

If you’ve ever wondered what God is up to, then I have good news for you. God IS doing something. He is doing something very good, indeed.

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When It Hurts Too Much

When we think of “sad,” we think of tragedies happening, people dying, hope being lost. I want to tell you a story about a different kind of sad, perhaps the most tragic of all, which is found in Matthew 8: 28-34 in the Bible. Bear with me as we explore a story of sadness on our journey of hope.
In this story, Jesus goes to a place called the “region of the Gadarenes.” I confess, I don’t know much about this place, but I do know that there were two demon-possessed men who immediately came out to taunt Jesus. They knew who Jesus was and asked why He was there, “to torture us before God’s appointed time?
They knew Jesus had power over them and that He was going to order them out of the two men’s bodies, so they begged Him to send them into some pigs nearby. Jesus did so, and the demons caused the pigs to run away, plunging to their death over a steep hillside and into a lake.
You would think this is a good thing. You would think that the people would be celebrating the release of two men who are now free of demon-possession. You would think the people would beg Jesus for more of His healing power.
But not these people. Instead, they begged Jesus to go away and leave them alone.
And I asked myself, “Do I ever do that?

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When You Want to Quit

When you live with chronic pain, every day your body screams “QUIT!” How do you manage to keep going despite the pain, fatigue, and discouragements that threaten to overwhelm both body and soul? Continuing to put one foot in front of the other when experiencing daily pain and exhaustion is not easy, but it is possible when you adopt thoughts, attitudes, and habits that help you cope instead of quit.

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