Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Blessing of Pain:
Embracing God's Goodness in the Midst of Grief

"God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain." (C.S. Lewis)

When dealing with life's hardships, it must be realize that mankind walks in a limited perspective of what he or she believes to be so. For the Jews, Jesus' death was a mistake. Over 2,000 years later, we perceive it to be the ultimate story of redemption.

The Jews anticipated victory when Jesus came on the scene. Assumedly this was the leader they had hoped would deliver them from their oppressors and rule as their king. God's people were right to suppose their Messiah would deliver them...but not in the form they had hoped.

I believe mainstream Christianity has dealt with the subject of pain and suffering through the lens of western culture. Our pampered lives assume instant gratification and the guarantee of success. We have a "life time warranty" mentality that deceptively promises protection against the dreadful process of heartache, suffering, and hardships of life.

This mindset limits the character of God and stunts our ability to perceive life through the wisdom He offers us in times of trials. 

What we fail to realize is this: God's will for our lives provides a living, breathing outlet that enables the world to know the power and grandeur of the God we serve. The crucifixion of Jesus provided the ultimate example of this. Are we above the calling of our Lord to come and die to self?

This fragile heart of mine knows only too well that it cannot survive these trials unless willing to embrace God's goodness in the midst pain. In order to fully embrace this goodness I must fully embrace the pain.

C.S. Lewis in A Grief Observed explains this with an analogy. “But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he hailed to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. 

But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't."

This place of surgery is necessary and good. It refines us through the fire of purity of heart and soul. It sharpens the character of God in us. "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, "He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust." (Psalm 91)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Remember Meriam:
Chained, Jailed, and Sentenced to 100 Lashes and Hanging

“Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” (Hebrews 13:3)

In our society, it is easy to become so entangled in our own life that we forget our brothers and sisters in Christ around the world who are endangered because of their faith. 

But Christ commands us to remember those that are in prison, as if we were there with them.

If His word implores us to do this, should we not be burdened by the news of those around the world imprisoned, tortured and killed for their faith?

Recently in Sudan, 27 year old Meriam was imprisoned because she named the name of Christ. She was sentenced to 100 lashes because of her marriage to an American Christian, and death by hanging because she would not renounce her faith. 

What would you do in that situation?

I often wonder what it would be like to be in her shoes facing a choice between being put to death or denying Jesus, my Savior. What would you choose?

She chose death. At the time she was pregnant with her second child, and now both of her children are with her in prison.

We are to remember those who are in prison. We are called to remember Meriam and her if we were there with them.

Last week, 40+ organizations gathered in front of the White House and the Sudan Embassy to protest Meriam's case. Shortly after the protest, the State Department broke the silence and officially condemned Sudan for its conviction and imprisonment of Meriam! 

Maybe you are wondering what you could do to help this sister of ours? Most importantly, you can pray! Pray that God gives her peace whatever happens to her and her children, that she would be released, that her children would be allowed to be reunited with their father and that the whole family’s faith would remain strong.

Also, you can talk about Meriam on your social media using the hashtag #RescueMeriam. 
Please visit and sign a petition that will go to your senators, congressmen, the White House and the Sudan Embassy. 

Remember, your sister is in that prison with a death sentence… Pray as though you yourself were there in that prison with her. 

For more information about what you can do, visit and

Written by Sandie Jalbert