Tag Archives: Galatians 5:6

Sticky notes

A friend wrote to me recently saying she’s had a sticky note on her computer for the last 3 1/2 years to remind her to pray each day for Marcia and me and for the Go Light Our World (GLOW) ministries across the world. Wow! What a faithful prayer warrior to intentionally carve out time each day to support us in a way that releases God’s power. And what a humbling thought that God invites you and me, broken vessels, to carry his blessings to others. My friend said about her brightly colored sticky note:

“Every once in a while it gets pretty tattered looking and I replace it. Right now, it’s starting to look tattered again and it’s reminding me that my faith has become a bit tattered lately…and I’m not facing a trial even remotely close to the trials of you and your loved ones. But, I’m also humbled and thankful that as easily as I can make a new sticky note reminder to pray for you, I can also, once again, take my tattered faith to our Lord Jesus. He can restore to me the joy of my salvation (Psalm 51:12), He can help my sometimes shaky belief (Mark 9:24) and He can encourage me in the most simple yet intricate ways through His people (Hebrews 10:24).”

She goes on to encourage us and remind us of this truth;

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

I love her comment: “I can also, once again, take my tattered faith to our Lord Jesus.” That is SO true! Our faith does at time seem tattered and torn. Troubles beset us and unanswered questions and prayers nag at us like a dripping faucet where refreshing water is intended to flow. Like the psalmist, we feel we are in a “dry and thirsty land.”

Sometimes my prayers seem so inadequate. Usually, when this happens, I struggle to remember verses that speak God’s truth an I pray those back to God. When you want wisdom, go to that place where true wisdom is found! Sometimes, I simply take my seemingly tattered faith and give it to God just as it is, yet reminding him “I don’t want to stay here.” I want to draw closer to him and to feel the warmth of his love and joy.

Have you ever found yourself in a tiff with someone you love and care about, usually over something that doesn’t matter, and often due to a misunderstanding. And then you realize, “I can keep going the miserable direction I’m going” or “I can go away and pout for a while,” OR I can choose to say: “I love you deeply. I’m sorry we’re having this temporary time of poorly expressing that love. I want it to get back to the love and joy we both know.”

That’s the way God designed our lives. When we run into dry and tattered spots in our faith and relationships, he calls us to come closer to him, to put up a fresh new sticky note reminding us in one way or another that “The only thing that counts is faith, expressing itself through love.” We need reminders to encourage one another, to stay focused on the goal, and to run the race with perseverance.

Just as we continue to ask for a healing miracle that would allow us more ministry time together, we also seek the miracle of God using our tattered faith to actually advance the gospel of Jesus.

I think the Lord is honored when we are honest about a dry faith. He is always faithful to bring the well of living water.

If you had just one

It is an astounding time in which we live. In some parts of the world that are far remote to our way of thinking, life goes on day by day as it has for generations without change and little access to potentially life changing information and innovation. In our world of technology, change is what’s on the menu. The world is literally available at our fingertips. Need a recipe, instructions for how to fix nearly anything, or need to make a reservation for a destination across the world? Presto, your answer is dished up right away.

My grandmother, when she wanted to read a passage of scripture, would go to the table where the old family bible sat and carefully undo the brass clasps that protected it’s pages.

In contrast, we can access the bible “online” wherever we go. Don’t remember where to find a verse? No problem. Just “Google” a word or partial phrase and multiple results will appear. Click on one and you are immediately taken directly to the passage, available in whatever version or language you want.

I sometimes wonder what effect such readily available information will have on our abilities to remember things for ourselves. Whether it’s a phone number or a bible verse, a machine remembers it for us.

I’ve recently been asking people to imagine a life where such abundance of information was not readily available; where political pressures prohibit access to certain books, or that place in your life where a sudden stroke or gradual onset of Alzheimer’s robbed you of your ability to access information. If, in that terrible situation, you were somehow able to remember just one name, whose name would it be? If you could remember only one short passage of scripture, which one would you want to always be emblazoned in your mind and heart?

I find it a nearly impossible task. The thought of summarizing all of God’s Word onto a scrap of forbidden paper or having mental capacity to remember only one verse is daunting to say the least. Jesus summed up all the law and the prophets with these few words:

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39

We could shorten that to a simple yet profound challenge to each of our daily activities: Love God – love others. If you remembered nothing else, how might this simple ‘code’ guide your every day? Galatians 5:6 similarly summarizes my daily and life purpose: “The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” It reminds me that whatever else is taken away, faith and love remain the essence of life.

Given the challenge, a friend quickly replied with this verse: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” John 11:25-26 If he could remember just one short promise, he wants it to be the one of eternal life offered freely to him by his Lord Jesus.

What about you? Maybe you have a “life verse” you’ve committed to memory that encourages you and continually points you toward your prized goal. Thankfully, we don’t have to choose just one. And while there’s no guarantee we won’t fall victim to some debilitating condition which limits our ability to remember and process the valuable truths and promises, committing one or more of those to memory now will continue to guard your heart and mind even in those days.

God’s Word is the antidote to our woes. It’s how Jesus answered every temptation. Commit it to memory now. Apply it to your daily life and watch how it helps you in times of trouble.

The one blog post I hope everyone reads


“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lordand who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3


Truth be known, I have walked in step with the wicked. I have stood in the path of sinners and sat in the company of scoffers. (What is it that makes us think that belittling and mocking others makes us better people?!)  I’ve been in these places, and likely so have you. Maybe our selfish pride continues to lead us to frequent those dark places. But there’s good news:


We don’t have to stay where we are.


Every single day we are given the opportunity to choose a new path for our lives. Less making fun of people we don’t like, more understanding and compassion. Less apathy and more concern that insists on acting itself out in some small way. Less frugalness and more generosity. Less worry and more faithful prayer. Less criticism and more encouraging words and actions. Less attacks and more embraces. Less jaded outlook and more hope. Less seeing ourselves as hopeless and more seeing ourselves as hope-filled through the grace of God. Less sorrow and more joy, even in the midst of sorrow. Less wasted time in meaningless activity and more time spent intentionally – on purpose and on mission – in keeping with our most dear life dreams. Less dreaming of a good life and more living it fully every single day. Less of nearly everything and more love.


We can bloom where we are planted but we can also plant ourselves where we can bloom. We can choose to be like that tree planted by streams of water, bearing fruit and with leaves that do not wither and always prospering even in times of drought. We do this by acting out our beliefs. You believe the bible to be true? Act on it! Consistently and persistently and relentlessly confront fear with assurance, worry and doubt with faith, anxiety with peace, bitterness with forgiveness, apathy with action, judgment with compassion, temper with grace, regret with remembered joy, my way with God’s way, and disdain with love.  If you believe it’s better to take the high road in conflict, take it. Believe and act on that belief. Demonstrate what you believe by the way you live each moment.


“The ONLY thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.” Galatians 5:6


Do you believe it? Be intentional; put it on your agenda. Make it your purpose to share love in your thoughts and actions today.


If life isn’t measured by the number of breaths we take but truly by the number of moments that take our breath away, what can you do today, each day, to create those special moments? They are your life legacy. As I think back on nearly fifty years with my best friend, 43+ years my bride, I think of shared adventures, silly moments, shared tears, encouraging hugs, steadfast devotion and encouragement in difficult times. I think of forgiveness and gentleness, attentiveness, and shared joys shared in a passion for life – both present and everlasting. I think of children we’ve brought into this world and loved and children across the world we’ve come to love. I think of nurtured friendships that have survived the distance of thousands of miles and passing years. I  think of quiet walks through meadows, working the gardens in our life, and quietly soaking in the beauty of nature, God’s creation and the expression of his joy.  


How about you? What will you do today to create the legacy of your life? May it be guided by your faith, expressing itself in love.


Now may the God of peace…equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21




One word to change your prayers


Do you find your prayer list filled with specific requests to make things better? Lord, fix this cancer. Help my friend get a good job. Sell my house. Ease this pain. Of course, there’s nothing  wrong with praying for specific needs. Jesus commends us to let our requests be known to God and promises that whatever we ask in his name (i.e. according to his will) will be granted. Jesus himself healed a number of people, not just to make their pain go away but “that the work of God might be displayed” in their lives. More often, Jesus prayed for eternal things: thy kingdom come, thy will be done, may they (his disciples – and us) be one just as he is one with the Father. Additionally, we often see the work of God displayed through the suffering of his saints, not the release from it,


The apostle Paul who experienced no shortage of serious physical and emotional sufferings prayed three times to have a “thorn in his side” removed. Other than that, he sets the same example of praying for eternal things, not the “temporary and light afflictions,” The secret of his prayers was in counting everything as loss except knowing Jesus and the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings. That’s not the stuff we find on our normal prayer lists.


So why do we focus our prayer on our “light and momentary afflictions” when we know that we should set our vision higher and pray for God’s mission to advance the gospel across the globe? And why are we so quick to pray away hardships when it’s the trials of life that cause us to mature and grow closer to Jesus?


God doesn’t waste pain. He uses our suffering to mold us to who we are meant to be. In John Piper’s little book, Don’t Waste Your Life, we’re commended to use all of our life for God’s purpose and glory. (Colossians 3:17) Not just the good times, but the painful ones too…the times when we feel least productive for the kingdom and perhaps least satisfied with life – and maybe with him. It seems none of us have the complete answer to all our questions about this. But I like Piper’s approach. Don’t waste the opportunities that God has allowed in our lives, as difficult and challenging as they may be.


Bronwyn Lea says it this way in her blog post “One little word that radically changed my prayers.”  Here it is:

“Instead of praying “God, make it better”, I need to pray “God, make it count.”

God, my friend is dying. Don’t just make it better, make it COUNT. If she can be better, let it be so, but don’t let this suffering have been wasted. Work it for good. Please show up and show your grace. Make it count.

God, I’m so busy and so tired. I so badly want to pray “make it better! Make it stop!”, but I’m going to pray “make it count, please,” instead. Let me learn grace under fire. Let me learn to say no to the bad and even the good so that there is time enough to say yes to the best. Show your strength in my weakness. Make it count.

God, thanks for a lovely, sweet season in my marriage. Rather than saying “thanks, keep it up, make it better”, please Father, make it count. Help us to be thankful and still work hard at our marriage, not leaving prayer for the tough times alone. Let this good season count.”

God, now that I think about it, please don’t just make it better. Not if it doesn’t count.

Please make it count, so that these light and momentary afflictions do the work of preparing us for a weight of glory that outweighs then all.

God, this is my life: in all it’s gritty, knotted and messy glory.

These are my loved ones.

These are my tears.

Please, please, please… Make it count.”


(Thanks Bronwyn. Powerful words for a powerful prayer life.)

“The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love.” Galatians 5:6




The battle for authority


Who has authority in your life? Are you in charge? Or does God have real authority over your problems and struggles? Or maybe someone else pulls the strings that make you feel like a marionette puppet.


Maybe you’ve asked for the Holy Spirit to fill your life. You’ve asked him to give you the eyes of Jesus so you can really notice the people around you and around the world. That sensitivity both empowers us through the Holy Spirit and sometimes can overwhelm us if we step away from the Spirit and try to do things on our own.  I think it is a daily battle for the best and strongest of us. Maybe it’s harder for the strongest of faith, because we start to believe that if we have strong faith it should be strong enough for every trial. But it occurs to me that while faith expressing itself through love IS the only thing that counts (Galatians 5:6) it is not just the faith, but the source and OBJECT of our faith that wins the battle. Scripture reminds us that God himself fights at our side. He has our back and he fights within us too if we let the Spirit do his part.


As for me, it’s often a daily battle because I so easily slip into the mode that says, “I’ve got this; I can do this on my own.” Or I see all the needs around me and begin thinking it’s my job to fix them all. Not so. Ask the Spirit, “what, if anything do you want me to do? The Spirit doesn’t call us to fix every need. Not every conversation is meant to be a gospel presentation. The Spirit also shows us how to be happy in the Lord, how to relax, how to “Let go and let God.” CS Lewis explains: “We must give our lives for others, but even while we’re doing it, I think we’re meant to enjoy our Lord and, in him, our friends, our food, our sleep, our jokes, the birds’ song and the frosty sunrise.” (CS Lewise, The Collected Letters)


I ask that Jesus remind you to let the joy of the Spirit wash over your mind (and mine) with the truth of how very much he loves you, how perfectly worthy and pleasing you are in his sight, because he sees the glory of God in your redeemed spirit. Jesus said, “ALL authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” And BECAUSE that same authority lives in your heart through the person of the Holy Spirit, THAT is precisely the authority that reigns over fear, anxiety, despair, loneliness, guilt, and everything else the enemy throws in our face every day. It is our faith in THAT authority that makes us more than overcomers when we FEEL overwhelmed. It is THAT authority that allows us to be hard pressed but not crushed, perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but NOT destroyed. It’s his authority that overcomes the so called authorities of this world.
Be blessed under and in the authority of Jesus Christ in your every battle and every joy.



Pain is real – So is hope

Pain is real but so is hope.


CS Lewis astutely observed, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” We can’t ignore it. It tortures us and crushes us. In its greatest trials it blinds us to everything else. Physical pain. Emotional pain. The pain of feeling lost and alone and without purpose. To deny it and paste on a silly grin is a foolish facade that accomplishes nothing.


Pain is real.

But so is hope.


Hope clings to the reality that what we see is not what God sees. We think there is only pain, uselessness, a wasted life of no value to anyone. We sit beneath the magnificent quilt spread across the loom and all we see are the tattered edges and loose threads. Nothing makes sense. But He sees the picture from above, the one that is completed by our faithfulness. Speaking of the great men and women of faith who suffered greatly, the author of the book of Hebrews wrote: “These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.” (Hebrews 11:39-40) He continues,”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3)


That’s the masterpiece that our pain can’t perceive. Only faith, your great hope, can catch a glimpse of the beauty that is yet to be revealed.


Your faithfulness is accomplishing far more than what you and I can imagine. It’s quite possible we won’t know until we get to heaven how God uses your faithfulness to work good in all situations for all who are called according to his purpose. I know it doesn’t seem like enough. I write this as my own pain screams at me. Hope doesn’t seem like enough. But it is enough. Jesus has his loving eyes on you and your pain right now. You are not forgotten, not alone.


All that counts and all that remains in the end, is faith expressing itself in love. (Galatians 5:6) And faith keeps reaching out. When there is no strength or when your invitations to help and encourage others are ignored, faith prays. And persevering prayer accomplishes as much as any deeds we do. Marcia and I were recently talking about her parents’ lives, how their last years seemed so empty and wasted. Without our family there would have been just a few to remember them. But is the goal to be remembered? Perhaps the real point of life ultimately to bear witness to the transformational power of God’s love in a way that it impacts the life of at least one other person, who in turn bears testimony that impacts another?  In that sense, your faith – expressing itself in love – continues to live on, long after your name is forgotten.


Whatever level of pain you endure right now, I pray that you will see the goodness of the Lord here in the land of the living (Psalm 27:13). But even if that vision is clouded, there comes a time for all real believers when ALL his goodness will unfold in great abundance. We won’t be able to contain it.


That is our hope and it is as real as any pain that assaults us.


The greatest thing you can do today


Do you have your to-do list made for the day? Is your calendar filled with appointments? If you’re like me, there’s probably more on the list than can possibly get done! You may be wondering how to make sure you get the most important things accomplished!


A life is made up of years and years are made up of days. Each day is made up of the moments where we live and breathe and try to discover and express our purpose in life – the one thing that is most important in everything we do. What is that one “most important” thing for you?


Maybe you have a voice that others listen to, leadership skills inspires others to follow. Maybe you seek to discover the great mysteries of life and to amass a great volume of knowledge. Maybe you’ve felt compelled to be generous in your gifts and service to benefit others.  We all seek purpose and meaning and want our lives to make a difference. But as good as all these things are, they are not the best. They may be beneficial, but if they lack love, they gain nothing. “Nothing?” you ask. “What about faith? Doesn’t faith matter?” Indeed it does. Faith is the hope that helps us endure. It is the light that shines into the depths of our darkest moments. Faith is the confidence that overcomes fears and speaks truth to doubts. Faith is the conqueror of negative thinking and worry. In fact:


The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself…through love.


What is it about love that makes the difference? Consider Paul’s words:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


Love is the motivation that stirs us to action. It is the fuel that feeds our engine of activity. Emotions confuse us and fail us. Activity tires us. But love calls us to push on and persevere even when logic and emotions persuade us to give up. Love finds joy in the truth of life. It protects us from selfishness and self pity. It brings hope to our despair. True love, the love that God shows us, never gives up. 


Jesus summarized all the commandments by saying, love God and love others. Love is the greatest thing God did for you and me. Love is what characterizes God. Shouldn’t it be what summarizes our life too? Beyond wealth and even beyond health. Beyond hobbies and politics. Beyond accomplishment and special gifts. Love surpasses all these.


Everything else has an end and passes away but faith, hope, and love remain. I hope you’ll fill your day with these most important things, especially love. 


And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13


The time of your life


Life is better together. It was the hallmark of the very first churches; people reaching out to live life together. It’s still our call for living today.


Last Sunday, eight churches in our community bonded together in an effort called “Reach Out.” Some 1000 volunteers spent 3+ hours throughout the community cleaning gutters, picking up trash, hauling away junk, painting, trimming, visiting and praying…and more. It was a good time of the church BEING the church. Sadly, not everyone knows that the church is not a building. It’s not a set of doctrine. The church is the “body” of believers who are called to live their faith as expressions of love. (Galatians 5:6) Oh that we would express this not just with one great reach out event but daily throughout our lives.


Pastor Cory shared the analogy of winning a daily prize. Imagine if you won a prize that awarded you with $86,400 every single day. You could do a LOT with that kind of blessing, right? But there’s a catch. The prize comes with three rules:
1. You have to spend it all every day. What isn’t spent is lost.
2. You can’t transfer it to another account in hopes of hoarding it.
3. The prize might end any day without notice.


How would you spend your daily allotment of $86,400 every single day? You could buy a bunch of cars, extra properties, and all the latest doodad technologies. You could eat the finest foods and travel to the most expensive places. Or you could feed a lot of people, pay for the tuition for endless students eager to learn if they just had the opportunity. You could provide homes for the homeless and jobs for the jobless. With $86,400 a day, you could have “the time of your life!”


The truth is we are all winners of that very prize, except instead of dollars, our prize is time. Each day we are given 86,400 seconds to spend however we choose. We can indulge ourselves or “spend ourselves on behalf of the hungry” (Isaiah 58:10). The time is ours and granted everyday. We can’t save it and we aren’t guaranteed that we’ll have it renewed tomorrow. We just have today to invest as we choose.


Pastor Cory shared that there are two Greek words for time: “kronos” which signifies the time we measure with a ticking clock, and “kairos” which is a period of opportunity. This “kairos” time is what is mentioned in Colossians 4:5-6:

“Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”


Elizabeth Kubler Ross said that it’s only when we truly understand that we have limited time that we will live fully. Make the most of every opportunity. Live fully. Don’t waste your life. That’s the “kairos” moment you and I have today, and each day…while there is still time remaining. How do you get started?


You could put a sticky note up with the number 86,400 written on it to remind you on the limited time opportunity you have today; the gift you’ve been given to “live wisely.” You could set up a recurring appointment in your calendar to remind you to give daily thanks for the time you have and the wisdom to use it wisely. You could set up an appointment every week or every month to intentionally encourage someone with a note, a phone call, or a gift of service. Go help a neighbor who is sick. Mow their lawn. Bring them a meal or a milk shake. If someone has a big project, offer to help. Send an anonymous gift to someone who is struggling financially. Share the love of God without judging others. There are lots of ways to seize the opportunity and use the time you have for the most impact.


For Christians we have this one call to tell people about the love of Jesus and to live lives that demonstrate that love in practical ways. . . to build the kingdom of God starting right where we are, with the time that is given us.


“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” J.R.R. Tolkien


It’s the time of your life. Live it wisely, my friend.


Faith works


“Do you love me?” she asked. He replied, “I told you I did when I married you! And if that ever changes, I’ll let you know.”


We’d be astonished to hear such a conversation! Why? Because real love doesn’t express itself once. It keeps on loving and continually expresses itself in ever deeper ways. It may be bold and demonstrative or it may be gentle and quiet, but it is never passive. Real love is always active.


That is how faith should be also. Real faith is active.

Faith works…always.


That was evident in the life of Philemon. Paul says, “I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers because I hear about your faith…and your love.” (Philemon vs 4)  Philemon lived a “legacy life” that positively impacted others. There was something genuine and famous about the way he lived. Love and faith were the foundation upon which his reputation was built. We don’t know if he was a prominent leader or businessman. We don’t know if he had a great memory for sports trivia or if he was skilled with his hands. We don’t know if his lawn was always pristine and well-kept, whether he drove the latest model of mule and cart, or if he had a large account at The First Bank of Jordan. But we know he was known for his faith and love. Like a ripple that continued spread across the water, his faith touched and refreshed the hearts of others in his path. (V 7) Isn’t that the legacy you desire most?


We are called to be active in sharing our faith. It is our path to gaining real understanding of what it means to be Christian. Sharing real faith refreshes the hearts of others. And it’s a needed reminder to us of what we believe, to whom we belong, and what our purpose is this very day.


“Faith works” means it perseveres, it carries on, it doesn’t give up. Real faith is actively applied to the efforts and struggles of our day. We approach problems and trials, suffering and woes, doubts and fears, all through the working of our faith.


“Faith works” also means it solves problems, it succeeds, it wins, it is functional. When faith is placed in a Mighty God, faith becomes mighty.


And faith brings understanding. In fact, that was Paul’s prayer for his friend, “that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.” (V 6) And the understanding of all we have in Christ leads us to love others as he loves them.


Real faith works and is active. It impacts others when it is expressed in love. In fact, faith expressing itself in love is the only thing that ultimately matters. (Galatians 5:6) Real faith isn’t obnoxious or hurtful. It doesn’t judge. (That is God’s job.) But it isn’t kept to itself. Real faith is active and loving.


How would you describe your faith? How would others describe it? Is it sedentary like the one who professed their love for another and decided to marry, but never acted on that love? Or is it a faith that is actively played out throughout the course of every day? Do you keep your faith to yourself in a way that others would be surprised to learn that you are a Christian? Or is it evident to all because your faith works?


Live a legacy life marked by an active faith that works. Be active in sharing your faith in a winsome and genuine way so that you gain a full understanding of all you have in Jesus.


When there are no suitable answers


Maybe you saw the news story.


A young couple and their baby died in a bizarre road accident when concrete from an overpass fell onto their car, crushing them instantly. The couple were youth pastors in a nearby church. The couple had written a note earlier on the church website:
“We love to laugh. We are passionate about seeing young people discover the love and grace that Jesus abundantly pours out on them.”


What sense do you make of such senseless tragedy? What would you say to their families and friends, to those who had accepted Jesus into their lives because of their testimony, or those who are still searching?


Would you tell them that God must have been caught unaware, asleep at the wheel?

Would you spout theological answers that this is the result of the fall of man, the train of sin that keeps rolling down the track, taking us all farther than we want to go and costing us more than we want to pay?

Would you talk about suffering that advances the kingdom of God or explain how this is part of God’s divine design?

Would you say that God needed them in heaven or that he was protecting them from some unknown future temptation or prolonged suffering?




Would you say nothing at all, but rather sit quietly and cry with them as you hold their hand?


The truth is, there are answers to explain why bad things happen to good people. But answers aren’t always what we need. What we need is faith, hope, and love. Love is the one supreme command Jesus gave us: Love God and love others. We need love more than answers. There are things we won’t know for sure until we get to heaven. And even if we could speak such divine revelation, would it really calm the grieving soul? Would answers bind up broken hearts? The language grief understands best is faith expressing itself through love.


Faith isn’t fed by answers. Oh, for sure, we want to know! But the essence of our faith is that it believes even when it can’t perceive or understand answers. Faith survives our broken hearts. It supersedes our wounded spirits. Even when we are shocked beyond words, faith believes. No one and no thing can take away our faith, hope, and love, without our consent. When there are no suitable answers to satisfy our minds, these bring us to the heart of God who alone can calm our soul with peace that surpasses understanding.


“Faith is simply breathing the breath that God’s grace supplies.” (John MacArthur)


Breathe the breath of God and let your faith express itself through love, especially when there are no suitable answers.