Ask. Seek. Knock.

2 05 2018

Ask Seek Knock

I have two beautiful Daughters named Leah and Abbie. They have both become amazing Women in their own unique ways. Today, I would love for you to hear the heart of Abbie. Abbie has a passionate love for Jesus and for people and she is so very gifted when it comes to writing and expressing herself both in words and music. If ever you visit The Lighthouse Church, there is a good chance you will get a glimpse of Abbie doing her thing as a Member of our Worship Team. I have given her my Article today so that you can be blessed right here and now.

 Abbie writes: “I will never forget the first time I heard the song, Do it Again by Elevation Worship. In the middle of a crowd of hundreds, with eyes closed, I was in a raging wrestle. I was in a tug of war with God, begging Him to move in a very specific area in my life. You better believe that I was asking, seeking, knocking – so much so, for this one request, that it consumed my every move and thought for days.

 I sang the words, “Walking around these walls, I thought by now they’d fall, but You have never failed me yet. Waiting for change to come, knowing the battle’s won – for you have never failed me yet.” I lifted my hands and outwardly went through every motion I could possibly think of, all the while fighting for my way, for what my heart was longing for. Come on Lord, I know You can do this, I sang, “Your promise still stands. Great is Your faithfulness. I’m still in Your hands, this is my confidence – You’ve never failed me yet”

I sang these words and tried to convince myself that I was going to win the wrestle with the Lord because I was singing the songs and believing He would do it – because I knew He could do it. Am I the only one who has been this broken and flat out desperate?

It wasn’t until this past week while reading Matthew 7 that this night of wrestling re-emerged in my memories. Oh, how the Father knows best. Present tense. Action-packed words.

Matthew 7:7-11
Ask and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in Heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

 Ask – to pray persistently. Prayer is a continual pattern of our very lives as believers. With each whispered word, prayer releases control to our Father. Surrendering to His will and perfect way – trusting Father knows best.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 tells us to pray without ceasing – to be in constant communication, aware of the Lord’s presence at all times. Like any personal relationship – communication is essential.

Seek – an active waiting, a hope filled expectancy pursuing the will of Father God.  Seeking involves cultivating faithfulness – knowing that you will find Him.

“Don’t burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don’t quit in the hard times; pray all the harder.” Romans 12:12The Message

Knock – come openly and confidently to Father; boldly approaching His throne, because of Jesus. With knocking comes perseverance, a steady hand, a firm ground.

“Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” Hebrews 4:16

How often, though, have I marched to Father – asking, seeking, and knocking for the temporary? I satisfy myself with Holy Spirit, asking Him to hold me over until I get what I actually came asking for – relationships, peace, resolution, adventure, career change, state change. These things are not “bad”, but in the posture of my heart I was settling for grace until my heart held out for temporary gifts – which is sin.

That night of wrestling during Worship, I had my own desires in the front focus and like a child, I kept asking until I felt like I would get my way. I knew what Father was asking me to do as I sang the song of surrender. (And deep in my heart I think I even wanted what He was asking. I knew I would make it through any earthly heartache because the Lord is who He says He is and He is faithful and without fail.) But I was being stubborn. I knew I needed to take the risk and step of faith and walk away from all that was comfortable and familiar.

“How much more will the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?” More important than any earthly blessing – Power, Guidance, Advocate, Comforter. Weaved in the asking, in the seeking, in the knocking – there is a confident and expectant heart, focused on Father. These verbs are a consistent active response to the gospel – continually giving ourselves back to Father.

Isn’t it ingrained in each of us, that we long to be honest and vulnerable without fear of shame or rejection? Isn’t there true freedom found in this kind of love? And can’t we find that love and freedom offered in each piece of the Gospel?

I think of the moments when I am living most free. These moments are always when I am living most enveloped in Christ’s love and living a life to honor Him. “Freedom is not about doing whatever we want most – but the opportunity to do what is most Christ like” Ann Voskamp . Friends, as you ask, seek, and knock—with a heart that delights in God-you will desire what is right and just. And you won’t want to settle for your own plan when Father has a greater plan beyond your wildest dreams awaiting you. “Jesus You are still enough, keep me within Your love, my heart will sing Your praise again.” His ways and thoughts are not only better, but His way leads to life abundant. Jesus is ever before me. Continually I will Ask. Seek. Knock. Expectant. He will do it again.”





When Calls The Heart

23 04 2018

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There is a wonderful family friendly television show that has just wrapped up its fifth season on the Hallmark channel last Sunday night. The show is called “When Calls The Heart” and the series was inspired by Janette Oke’s book of the same name. The saga was developed for the small screen by none other than Michael Landon Jr. whose Father Michael Sr. brought us classics like Bonanza, Little House On The Prairie and Highway to Heaven. Actress Erin Krakow plays Elizabeth Thatcher, an individual of means who leaves behind her rich family to become the Teacher in a mining town called Hope Valley. Daniel Lissing plays Canadian Mountie Jack who ends up marrying Elizabeth. Shortly after the wedding, Jack was called away on official Mounties Business leaving Elizabeth home to patiently await his return. This is where the controversy began.

At the conclusion of Season Five’s next to last episode, another Mounties Soldier comes riding into town and gives a now distraught Elizabeth the understanding that Jack is not coming home because he was killed in the line of duty. This is where the Fan Base of the Show went on the warpath.

Social Media has changed almost everything about the way we now live our lives. Facebook and Twitter are two of the culprits that both connect and confuse the audience. Those devoted followers of When Calls The Heart are affectionately known as “The Hearties.” Hearties tweet with one another all through the weekly episodes. Even the Cast joins into the flow of the community by also messaging back and forth with their followers. It really has become like family evidenced by three sell out gatherings already held where both the Stars and the Fans have interacted together on a weekend getaway. You would assume that nothing could come between this love fest and phenomenon called “Heartiesmania!”

But something became rotten in the State of Denmark.  Many of the “Hearties” rebelled in mass when they discovered that there might be any possibility that Daniel Lissing and his character Jack could be written out of the show. Facebook and Twitter blew up with posts and tweets that threatened to boycott the show if Jack dies. People got angry. Some in the crowd resorted to name calling. Leadership scrambled and put their crisis team in place. I watched and did not like what I was seeing.     

If When Calls The Heart is a faith based show that is built upon a foundation much stronger than just anther Fairy Tale, I began to hope that the “political correct police” wouldn’t step in and spoil what has been a really good program. So much of our Society is driven to please crowd demands no matter what, even if it isn’t what is right or best. This is why we have Churches demanding that their Clergy preach only “feel good” messages. This is why we have Teachers who won’t teach, Coaches who won’t coach, Writers who won’t express what is really going on inside and too many dreams dying before they even got a chance to wake up and see the sunshine.   

I had expressed quite publicly my thoughts that I hoped Hallmark Channel was going to stick to the story even if it meant breaking a few hearts along the way. As I reflect on my almost 60 years on Earth, if I am honest, I realize that much of my wonderful life has still left me with big chunks of my heart missing leaving these canyon sized holes behind. Loss of precious family, burying children, saying “Goodbye” before we hardly ever got to say “Hello,” I know for sure that if it wasn’t for Love, I’d be dead. Because of real love, this old heart of mine keeps on beating in spite of all the brokenness. And while it would be tempting to try to play it safe, I know that if I did, I would have missed the amazing God given experiences that were worth the risk of opening up to. When we choose to give our hearts away, there are no guarantees of any bliss at all. But with faith, hope and love, we trust that our mess will become a masterpiece and what could have been easily trashed become a true treasure even if it must be tried by fire!

My humble request for my fellow Hearties was that if When Calls The Heart has taught us anything, it is to stay true to what the Bible teaches. Perfect love casts out fear and if we want the story of Jack and Elizabeth to be one that transcends just another television soap opera, then you must let go and open your heart to what providence has in store. If you always get to call the shots then is it real faith? If you expect everything to always go your way, you will be so busy manufacturing and manipulating life, you won’t ever be free to live it. Love is a mysterious way to travel and if Love is the greatest of these, then you can be sure that the bringing together of Jack and Elizabeth was not a waste of a moment at all. No matter how long, it’s the quality and not the quantity that determines magic.

Fasten your seatbelt Hearties and Everyone and remember that nobody who has ever truly lived ever chose to settle for safety over sacrifice! God can’t steer parked cars! I’m thankful that both Jack and Elizabeth followed their dreams! I pray that you and I will continue to move forward and share the pain, smile when we can, dance when the music plays and cry when we need to. When the heart calls, the soul must answer for even a choice to do nothing is still a choice after all. Life is hard. God is good. The Lord never lets us go even when we hate the script. Live on!





ARE YOU REALLY ALIVE?

16 04 2018

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If I asked you to immediately write down three good arguments that would give satisfying evidence to prove you are alive, what would you proceed to mark down with your pen? And if you allowed us to examine your reasons and evaluate the data, would we conclude that they are truly a proof of life or nothing more than excuses of existence? If we come clean and are honest with ourselves, why would we ever settle to just survive when living is what we were created to do? If God has made a way for us to experience abundant life at its fullest, why would we ever be content to seek mediocrity in our desire to just play it safe?

  

If you were to ask the people closest to you, “What would you say are the three most powerful proofs of my life?” what would their answers be? If you were to pray to God and ask him to reveal to you “What is your proof of my life?” what reply would you expect to receive? How are you proactively proving to yourself and to your world that you are aggressively going after the opportunities that will eventually make your mark and define your legacy forever? Be careful how you answer. There is a huge margin between barely breathing and actively thriving.   

 

Death is a destination that each and every one of us shares in common. The fatal mistake that too many people share is that they actually look to retire early while there is still valuable and precious time left on the proverbial clock. Let’s face facts that into every life there are storms, battles, lows and blows we all must battle. The constant barrage of trials and tribulation has the tendency to make us gun shy about exploding out of the starting block. Failure, disappointments, despair, defeat and discouragement can deflate the best of humanity.  Make no mistake, death is coming and we can’t avoid it. But we don’t have to welcome it any earlier than expected. If the power is still available, why are we living with the lights out? Why are we looking for a burial plot when we should be booking our next adventure? The only terminal we should desire is that which deals with travel and not dead ends! God please open our eyes so that we unwrap each day as the precious gift that it is.

 

For quite a while now, I have been very disappointed in myself. I have surrendered more often than not to something I never dreamed would ever happen. In the last 12 years, I have battled my share of physical problems that has caused severe depression and paralyzing anxiety within me. It has caused me to miss out on way more living than I care to admit. I used to be available and willing to go anywhere at anytime to do anything. Now it becomes a major task to some days just leave the house. My get up and go has got up and left and I have given up the fight and pronounced myself knocked out before I even get in the ring anymore.

 

A week ago last Monday; I had a showdown with my enemy. I was getting ready to drive out to Western Pennsylvania to spend a few days taking care of my three grandchildren while my son Rudy and his wife Lindsey went to a Bible conference. Terri had left earlier in the day and now it was my turn to get in the car and go. I got packed and I got in the car and I sat in my driveway for a good hour frozen in place. My body began shaking and my heart started to race and the anxiety train was racing at my heart full speed ahead. The lies in my head whispered the same old lines. “You can’t do this. You are out of your comfort zone. It would be so much easier to just stay home.” I called Terri and shared my dilemma. She has been my rock and understanding companion through it all. She encouraged me and even suggested that I might try again tomorrow but I knew if I didn’t leave then, I wasn’t going at all.

 

I prayed a different kind of prayer than I had been normally practicing. Rather than asking God to take away my anxiety, I asked the Lord to give me the ability to battle through it. I started my car and began my trek down Route 83. My brain was wrestling with my heart. I got to Route 47 and then 55. I kept driving in spite of my doubting. Before I knew it, I was on the Schuylkill Expressway. It began snowing on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I opened my sunroof and began playing Christmas carols, singing at the top of my lungs. It was at that moment that I knew what was happening. I was living in spite of how I was feeling. Dead people don’t drive. Dead people don’t gain ground. Dead people don’t get to spend an amazing week with their grandchildren. I was alive and loving every minute of it. Did it mean that my worst days were over? No! It just meant that I was doing more than existing at home hiding out hoping for the times to change. I allowed God to give me the chance to alter history. Any announcement made about my disappearing into the sunset has been greatly exaggerated. As long as I have a pulse, God still has a purpose for me and the same is true for you. It all comes down to wrestling through the mess so we can get a glimpse of where we are going. God who began the good work within us has also promised to bring it to completion. So when I can’t see the Lord because of the foggy circumstances of my world; I will still move step by step because I know God sees me. Like Job once said, “But God knows the way I take and when he has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.” His word is our living proof.    





SET MY SOUL FREE

13 04 2018

 

 

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I am a Man. I am a Child of God. I am a Husband. I am a Father. I am a Pop-Pop. I am a Writer. I am a Speaker. I am a Christian. I am a Pastor. I am a Coach. I am a Musician. I am a Dreamer. I am a Lover. I am a Learner. I am a Perfectionist. I am a Worrier. I am a Warrior.

I am a Friend. I am a Teacher. I am a Preacher. I am an Athlete. I am an Entertainer. I am a Sinner. I am a Container of Grace. I am here living on Earth but I am a Citizen of Heaven. I am Restless. I am Hungry. I am Disgusted. I am Frustrated. I am Grateful. I am Faithful. I am Loyal. I am Loud. I am Reflective. I am a Stranger in a Strange Land.

 I love to play with words. I love it when they rhyme. Here is a Prayer I wrote not too long ago. Maybe you can relate to it. Maybe you can’t understand what I am trying to communicate. I am not a Quitter. I am Determined. I am a Fighter. I am a Disciple.

 

SET MY SOUL FREE…

I have wandered- I have strayed-

Left you lonely- Should have stayed.

Broke my promise- Broke my word-

Don’t remember- All I’ve heard.

But I need you- Need you now-

More than ever- Hear my vow.

Take me back Lord- Cleanse my heart-

Brand new colors- Brand new start.

 And the grace of my Jesus- Come rain down on me-

Please untie my knots- And set my soul free.

I want to come home Lord- Come lead over me-

And live all my days Lord- And set my soul free.

 I have stuttered- I have stalled-

Left me speechless- And you appalled.

Broke my union- Broke my bond-

Empty embers- Fire gone.

But I want you- Want you near-

More than ever- Lord I’m here.

Take me back Lord- Know there’s more-

I’m your servant- That’s for sure.


And –

Please untie my knots- And set my soul free.

I want to come home Lord- Come lead over me-

And live all my days Lord- And set my soul free.

 God bless you and keep you as you continue to run this race. Don’t allow a horrible yesterday to keep you from living tomorrow aggressively. We may not have as long as we think, but we do have today. Faith is the key to set our souls free for the spirit must not be contained! Now let’s forget regret and get busy at the business of living for we all have much more living to do. So until next week, keep looking up and then look out because the best is yet to come!  





EASTER ISN’T OVER!

3 04 2018

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Today my Parents would have been married for 59 years. Very often I make myself laugh to keep me from crying. When I think about the secret of the success of my Parent’s marriage, I say that it has lasted this long because Dad has been in Heaven the last 18 years. It still feels like yesterday. My Parents actually renewed their Vows in 1999 and I had the privilege to Officiate that occasion. None of us ever thought that a year later, Dad would have graduated to Glory.

Tomorrow my Son Nicholas would have been 23 years old. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska on April 5, 1995. Having a baby was supposed to have been a joyous event. My oldest Son Rudy couldn’t wait to have a little Brother. We named him Nicholas so Rudolph could lead him around. Little did we know that only 90 short minutes after birth, we would leave the hospital empty handed and empty hearted.

Needless to say, for me, Easter is not just a day we celebrated last Sunday. The reality of the resurrection gives me the hope I need to carry on when I should have been carried off. I can’t imagine a world where one doesn’t believe in a Creator. There is too much order and design for me to think that all of this is nothing more than random chance and happenstance. And for me, not only is the resurrection rational; it is intensely relational. Because Jesus lives, I am still alive. It isn’t Motel 6 that keeps the light on for me. It is the strong faith that I know that my Redeemer lives and if he lives, so will I.  

I believe that most people choose to be unbelievers because they don’t want to give up the control of their lives. It certainly isn’t the lack of evidence that causes somebody to walk away from Jesus. Oh, there are many who try to cover their tracks by saying things like, “I believe Jesus was a good Teacher, but I don’t believe he was God.” To which I always reply, “Do you know that this Man you refer to as a good Teacher preached to those around him that he was the Son of God?” What kind of good Teacher teaches things that you don’t even claim to believe? 

Face facts, and there are many convincing evidences that demand a verdict. If Jesus rose from the dead, then you have to accept all that he said! If he didn’t rise from the dead, then why worry about any of what he said? The issue on which everything hangs is not whether or not you like Jesus and His teaching but whether or not he rose from the dead.                                                          

Remove God and you remove the following realities. Without God there is no good and evil; there are only subjective opinions that we then label “good” and “evil.” Without God, there is no objective meaning to life. Without God, life is ultimately a tragic fare. We live, we suffer, we die, some horrifically and many prematurely and then there is only oblivion afterward. Without God, humans become quite ignorant because they start to believe that they are the highest form of life. Without God, even the kindest and most innocent victims of torture and murder have no better a fate after death than do the most cruel torturers and mass murderers. Without God follows the death of Judeo-Christian values in the West as many Westerners believe in little more than a watered down politically correct belief system that aims to please the crowd. Without God, people in the West often become less, not more, rational. Without God, the human being has no free will. Without God, humans and “other” animals are of equal value. Without God, there is little to inspire people to create inspiring art. Without God nothing is holy. Without God, humanist hubris is almost inevitable. Without God, there are no inalienable human rights. “Without God,” Dostoevsky famously wrote, “all is permitted.                                           

I challenge you to be skeptical of your own skepticism. You’ll never be fair-minded with the evidence if you don’t acknowledge that you can’t be perfectly fair-minded. Why not admit, “God, I don’t know if you’re there but I do know what prejudice is like, and I’m willing to be suspicious of it. I’m willing to ask the questions. I’m willing to study the evidence. To wager your life on the bet that there is no God is one that is too big to gamble upon. There is too much to lose in the process.

I will cry today as I remember my Parents and tomorrow as I remember my Nicholas but I will not live as one that has no realistic expectation that I will never see them again. Because Easter is not only a day, the Resurrection for me is immensely and intensely personal! Real faith connects you to Jesus and Jesus connects us to eternal life. And don’t try measuring everlasting life in a qualitative fashion as it is more quality than anything else. I’m not religious, I just the Lord who loved me first. He loved me when nobody else would or could. And because of that connection, I know that we have a forever thing. So my last breath here will be my first breath in Heaven. And when I cry tears of pain today, God will turn them into times of joy tomorrow. Easter is not just a day- it is a way of life.  





EASTER SPOILER ALERT- HE LIVES!

3 04 2018

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 I had some fun this Lenten Season by saying to the people around Church, “Hey, did you know Easter falls on a Sunday this year?” Now in case I have confused you, Easter always falls on a Sunday. As a matter of fact, Christians worship on the first day of the week because of the Resurrection of Jesus. Still, I caught some people off guard and made them think just a bit harder.

Did you know that Easter falls on April Fools Day this year? How fun is that? And while it is a day that is known for practical jokes and pulling each others’ legs, there is no fooling around when it came to what God did for mankind. Jesus took the test that we would never pass and gave us a redemption we could never earn by completing a course that no human being could have ever survived. Make no mistake, Jesus lives!

Jesus made no secret that he was not going to stay in the grave. This by no means lessens the extent of the suffering and pain that our Lord suffered on our behalf to get to the Cross. But Jesus made no funeral arrangements. He wasn’t signing a long term lease with the Funeral Director. As a matter of fact, the body of Jesus was put in a borrowed tomb because in three days Jesus was out of there! But the promises of the Savior seemed to go in one ear and out the other of the Disciples. Nobody showed up on that first Easter for a front row seat to witness the defeat of death forever. Yes, the Women made the trot to the Tomb that Sunday, but they did so to anoint a dead body and had no expectations of seeing Jesus alive and well again! And yet, while they put him on the cross and laid him in the ground, they should have known you can’t keep a good man down! Easter proves that there is no ending to a life that belongs to God. Have you invested your destiny in the hands of the Divine One? Easter is a reminder that death was never intended to be our final resting place. Life never has to settle for a happy ending when Jesus is all about eternal beginnings!

 But left up to ourselves, we human beings are quite clueless. Palm Sunday proves that what you see is not always what you get. It appeared that the mass of humanity had gathered in Jerusalem to worship Jesus. But while the crowds said the right thing, they did so in the wrong way. “Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna,” may have been on their lips; but the motives of the heart were self-centered for sure. The Jews were banking on Jesus to be the Messiah who was to set them free from Roman oppression. They were looking to become a political power. They were expecting God to fulfill the cries of the will of the people. How quickly the cheers turned to jeers when the customers weren’t satisfied. The same crowed that shouted praise became blood thirsty with rage when they realized that Jesus wasn’t going to fulfill the bill. How many times do we do the same with our own allegiance? God is not obligated to us. We come alive when we humble our pride before him. Fickle applause is not what Easter is about. Unconditional obedience is what brings what is dead back to life. We will miss the message of Easter if we force our will over God’s way. The dawning of a hope and future are secured when we are ready to surrender to the death of our own agenda. When we lay it all down, God raises it back up to never be defeated again.

So SPOILER ALERT! Jesus came back from the dead. Here’s another nugget you can take to the bank; Jesus will come back again. And just like the first time, too many will miss it because they aren’t willing to get out of their own way. But those who have found their treasure in looking up rather than looking around will not be disappointed. I like to begin each new morning with this thought: “What if today is the day Jesus comes back?” I want to be ready. The first century Disciples missed the miracle because they ignored the previews. God never does anything in the dark and if you want to catch a glimpse of the coming attractions read the Bible. God tells us exactly what will happen. But before you get a little too confident and cocky because you know what happens; here’s the truth. You don’t know when it will happen and so it is best to not get so wrapped up in your script that you end up being shocked by what should have been no surprise at all. Easter is living proof. Easter is the celebration of the day God raised the roof of sin and death so that we would never have to be imprisoned again. Don’t be so spoiled by demanding your way that you miss the wonder of Heaven. Easter is a sweet reminder to those that wait upon the Lord. Believers will never see their blessings expire. Because Jesus lives, so can we. Do you? 





FINDING GOD IN THE PIT STOP!

12 03 2018

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We have been studying the Book of Job on weekends at The Lighthouse Church. If Job is an example to all of us of anything; he surely is a picture of the fact that life is not fair this side of heaven. The believers in God don’t just only receive sunshine, lollipops and roses. Unbelievers seem to get away with their defiant rebellion against the Lord. We know from scripture that Job didn’t deserve the hammering he received. But we are also given an encouraging insight that even though God allowed it, the Lord never abandoned Job or stopped loving him for one moment! And while the enemy meant it for harm, God turned it to work out for Job’s good. If you make it to the end of the story, you clearly see that in spite of the many trials and tribulations Job endured, it actually ushered him into an even deeper relationship with the Lord.

Despite the immense suffering that Job faced, he never cursed God. Job’s wife was beside herself. Job’s three friends proved to be more harassing than helpful. Since all the horizontal options seemed to be dead ends, the only direction left for Job was to look up. I believe God sometimes allows us into these places of pain and helplessness. When we are there, hurting and unable to change our circumstances, the crutches we always relied on are stripped from us, one by one.  At that point, God’s words and His love stand out to us in a way they never could when we had those crutches to lean on. We begin to see the Lord’s Presence as constant and unchanging, and His love becomes irresistible to us. Jesus becomes our only real alternative. Otherwise, death would be the only logical relief.

This is the place where we find Job in Chapter 3. All the crutches of his life have been stripped away. Death seems to be the only logical relief for his pain. So he cries out for death, cursing the day he was born. He hopes his birthday will be forgotten and wiped out of all memory. It used to be a happy day, a day of celebration. Now he says, in effect, “Let the day I was born be darkened, and let no one rejoice in it. May it be a day of cursing, not blessing.” Though Job speaks of the day of his birth, he is actually expressing his longing for death. While Job comes close to cursing God, he never crosses that line. Instead, Job curses the day of his birth, and he curses what God has allowed to happen.

You can see how the pressure of his pain is increasing, and Job is beginning to break under that pressure. Few things are harder to bear than meaningless suffering. If we could see some reason for what we have to go through, we could more easily endure it. But pointless trouble is corrosive to our souls. That’s what Job experiences at this stage in his life. So he cries out, “Why was I ever born? Why can’t I simply die and be done with it?” The only relief Job sees for his pain is death.

Have you ever cried about your life getting stuck in the pit? In the sport of racing, cars must make a “pit stop” or they have no real chance of winning. Here the car is refueled, refreshed and recharged so it has what it takes to cross the finish line. This side of heaven, we must plan on spending some time in the pit. While it may seem like God has abandoned you here; he is actually very much at work within you. If you trust him and allow him room to do his work his way, you will realize that the pit is not your final destination but just a stop on the road to paradise.

But sometimes the days get so dark, it is hard to see. This is why we need each other to lean and depend upon so that we don’t attempt to live this life as a solo project. In his thirties, James became involved with an organization of abuse survivors. There, he counseled abuse victims, telling them, “Remember, you’re not a victim. You’re a survivor.” James also spoke to law enforcement groups about ways to protect children from sexual predators. Because of these positive fruits from his walk, everyone thought James was doing fine. No one knew that James still had his good days and his bad days, including days when he was horribly depressed.

Early one Sunday morning, when he was not coping well with his bad memories, James went for a walk along the train tracks near his home. He heard the train coming, and he stepped into the middle of the tracks and ended his life. No man is an island to himself. No woman ever gets to the place where she no longer needs daily encouragement. The mistake we Christians make is that much too often we are too preoccupied with our own sense of well-being that we aren’t even in tune to the neighbor that is crying out for help right at the end of our nose. It is too late for James but not too late for somebody else who like Job is miserable but could benefit from a little company.

Jesus ended his life so we no longer would ever have to end our own. Jesus died on the cross so we would not be defeated in our disease. Sin is the cancer attempting to sabotage our souls. Jesus is the cure as our Savior. Only you must make a decision about your destiny Jesus was majestic in His own misery so that he could end our misery for good! Just as I am I go or I come.

We humans are rather blind to what matters most because we are preoccupied with all that is simply passing away. But it is more often than not that smack dab in the middle of the ghastly darkness; we are finally drawn to the godly light. But please be open to looking for the Lord’s shining rescue beam in the most precarious of places and circumstances. Job found his redemption in a trash heap. Jesus gave his life on a cross in much the same place. Perhaps we should focus in the valley to find our faith rather than getting lost in a cold and empty cathedral.

If God is not afraid of the dark, then what are we afraid of?