The textbook prophet with one of the most important scriptures of the Christian church.
How’s the fruit harvest in your life?
We are running a race, and all of us who belong to Christ can finish the race with a victory, because he already won.
In this chapter we see Jesus chiding his disciples with the words, “…you of little faith.” And then a little later, He asks a question to test their faith. “Who do you say that I am?”
Peter, that passionate impulsive man that he is says, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”
Jesus said to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
In this scene, Jesus is not pronouncing a blessing on Peter. He is observing that Peter is already blessed. Why is Peter blessed? Because God the Father has revealed to him that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. This is a well-known moment in church history, because it is here that Jesus first reveals His plan to build a church.
Remember, this chapter is about faith. Jesus declares here that Jesus will build His church on the faith given to man by God. Can you make the same confession as Peter? Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God? Then you, too are blessed. 1 Corinthians 12:3 says, “No one is able to say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit.
Sure, anyone can say the words, but no one can believe them unless the truth is revealed to them by God. If you believe, you…like Peter…are blessed.
So this Naaman was an important guy, commander of the army of Syria. Note that Syria is not part of the Promised Land, and the Syrians are not part of God’s chosen people. As a matter of fact, one of the key people in this chapter was a young girl that was from Israel that had been captured by the Syrians.
And this girl, when she became aware that Naaman had leprosy, told him that there was a prophet who could cure him. This prophet was Elisha. This girl had huge faith. Elisha had never healed anyone of leprosy, but her faith was great.
Now here is an important fact about faith. It is not something that comes from us. It is a gift of God. There are many scriptures that tell us this, but I’ll just give you one for now. Hebrews 12:2 says that He is the author and finisher of our faith. Whatever faith we have comes from Him.
So God gave this young girl the faith that would move Naaman to seek out Elisha. And what happened when Elisha first told Naaman how to receive his healing? Naaman rejected it! It seemed too easy! “What? Wash in the Jordan?!?”
Why did he discount the prescription? First off, he expected more of a production…he expected some sort of hocus pocus and arm waving. Secondly, the Jordan was seen by this Syrian as “less than” one of his own rivers from his home.
Naaman had no faith in the cure.
But his servants said, “Hey, why not try it? What have you got to lose? What if it works? Isn’t it worth a try?”
And you know what happened. He went in the Jordan and was cured.
He was cured not because of his faith, but because of the glory that would come to God.
Naaman declared that he now believed that the Lord was the only God. And he committed to worship and sacrifice to only the Lord. Think of it. This man who was very important, and had thousands of people under his leadership declared that the God of the Hebrews is the one and only God. How many other people were changed by that declaration we do not know, but God saw to it that His name became known to an entire nation. And He did that through the faith He gave to one young slave girl.
What will God accomplish through you? You don’t need a pulpit. You don’t need a degree or a prestigious job or 10,000 followers on Twitter. All you need is the faith God gave you and the willingness to speak when He prompts you. Who knows what’ll happen?
The author of the book of James is not the James, the son of Zebedee, one of the 12 disciples. We know this because Herod had that James killed, as recorded in Acts 12. It is thought by some that this James was actually the half-brother of Jesus. His mother was Mary and his father would have been Joseph. So he grew up in the same household as Jesus, but as you’ll hear in the opening verses, he only introduces himself as the “slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
The audience for the book is “the twelve tribes”, or Jews who have been dispersed to various places. We’ll also see that it is applicable to the entire Body of Christ. Its purpose is call us all to holy and right living, among other things that will become evident as we read.
After James writes his greeting, he immediately launches into the subject of dealing with difficulties. The Jews, believers in Jesus and otherwise, had been scattered, and under all sorts of persecutions.
James wanted them to know that hard times are meant to grow our faith. It’s actually appropriate to read this right after we completed Job, don’t you think? Given what we read in Job, I don’t think it’s necessary to camp on this point, except to say that when something is repeated in scripture, it’s because God really wants us to understand that it’s important.
There is no doubt that difficulties arise in every life. James wants us to see that God can and does use those times for our benefit. Don’t let anyone tell you that you must’ve done something wrong if you’re going through the fire.
And then he goes on to say that just hearing the scriptures is not enough. Don’t think that by going to church or reading the Bible, or listening to this podcast for that matter, is enough to make you righteous. You must act on what you hear. The Word has to make a difference in your life. You must take action on what you hear.
Then in the next chapter he talks about valuing some people over others, and how that is not what we should do. Each person has value, whether rich or poor, important in the eyes of men or insignificant. In God’s eyes, we are all the same. There are no celebrities in Heaven.
James 2:14-20 has caused a lot of controversy over the years, but in my mind it is quite clear. The message is this: if you say you love God, but your life doesn’t show it, you are fooling yourself. To expand on that thought, if I love God, I am going to just naturally begin to do things that show the love of God. I don’t do those things to gain God’s favor, and I don’t do them to earn points in Heaven. I do them because He has changed who I am. If I am the same person I have always been, then I have not truly met Jesus, and I am still lost.
The example James gives is that of Abraham. He said he had faith, but until he showed that he was willing to sacrifice his son, Isaac, his faith was incomplete. It was only when he raised the knife to sacrifice his son that God pronounced him complete. And then, as James quoted from the Old Testament, “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” And James said that Abraham was called the friend of God.
Now, don’t misunderstand. We are saved by faith alone. There is nothing we can do to earn any part of our salvation. Zero. Nada. Nothing. But unless my faith results in a changed life, it is worthless, because a true faith in God fills us with the Holy Spirit, who brings about the fruit of the spirit that was talked about by Paul in Galatians 5:22 and 23: … love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control…
Fruit just naturally grows on the tree, right? The apple tree doesn’t have to *try* to grow apples, it just does. Same with the fruit of the Spirit. If you have truly become a new person by yielding yourself to Jesus, then these things will become evident in your life.
How’s the fruit harvest in your life?
This chapter talks about faith and what it is. And it gives several examples of people who exhibited it, and how it changed not just their lives, but people after them, as well. It is a sort of mini Hall of Fame for OT people of great faith.
Why do you suppose the author of this book found it necessary to write this chapter? Of course, we know that the author wrote it because he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to do so, but beyond that I think the reason God gave this message for the Hebrews because they were used to relying on the ongoing sacrifices to make them right with God. They were relying on their efforts to conform to the Mosaic Law. In the previous chapters, the Jews were told that Jesus offered Himself as the One sacrifice for all time, and that it was faith in Him that cleanses a person from sin. This notion of faith was a bit of a new concept for many of them. Thus they, and we, are given this chapter.
I like the way this translation of the Bible explains what faith is. It “is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see.”
Now, the word “hope” as it is used here is not the kind of hope a child has when he says, “I hope I get a new bicycle for Christmas.” That kind of hope is a sort of childlike wish. The hope spoken about here in Hebrews is the sort of hope that carries with it a sort of assured anticipation of what will be in the future. I don’t wish that Jesus will someday return. I know He will, and it is that hope that allows me to have an unshakeable peace when I think about the future. I have no doubt that it will happen.
Why don’t I doubt? Because I have the faith spoken about in this chapter.
Some people have little faith, some have great faith. Those who have little faith, if they ask for more, will receive it. I know this because at one time I had little faith. But the faith I had told me that the One in whom my faith rested was real. So God, in His matchless grace, brought events into my life that made me see that whatever faith I put in Him was well-placed.
Often times my faith was tested. And when you think about it, when our faith is tested it is often God who is being tested. God says, “Do you have faith that I will do this?” And I say,”I believe, but help my unbelief.” And He proves Himself worthy of my faith in that instance, thus growing my faith.
Like God delivering the people of Israel from Pharoah’s army. God says to Abraham, “Do you have faith that I will provide a way of escape?” Abraham says, “I have faith, Lord, but how are you going to do it?” And then God does the unthinkable by parting the Red Sea. Abraham’s faith was tested, but it was God who did the miracle.
It’s important to understand that our faith is not something that we whip up ourselves. It is God who gives us the faith in the first place, and it is God who increases our faith. Our part in the process is to believe and trust Him. At the beginning of the process, we cannot see the end. Not with our eyes, and not with our reason. But by faith, we know…we have the hope…that God will do as He says He will.
I am not a man of faith because of some great thing that I have done. It’s not because of me, or my parents or the church I go to. The faith I have is because I responded to His call to trust Him. And when my trust was challenged, and when I responded with a, “Yes Lord, I will trust you”, He did something that made me see that, yes, He is there and He is trustworthy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do not have a perfect score. I have often failed when given the decision to trust or not. And every time, that has been to my detriment. But even in those times, God has proven that He was there. And He has said, “Are you ready to trust me now?” He doesn’t give up on us when we fail. He just takes us back to school, because He knows where He wants to take us, and He knows the person He wants us to become.
Faith is what makes real the things we hope for. It is proof of what we cannot see. God doesn’t have to hope, because He does see the end, and He lovingly and patiently brings us along until we reach where He already is.
Today I’m going to focus on the seventh verse, which just happens to consist of only seven words: We live by believing, not by seeing.
You know, there comes a time in each person’s life where they just have to make a decision. Given the facts that can be known, and accepting that there are some things that cannot be known, we just have to decide and move forward.
I have someone in my life who has a tremendous amount of knowledge about the Word of God, he’s well read, he’s listened to some of the world’s best teachers, he says he believes, and yet he cannot rest in his faith. He continues to have doubts, because there are things of God that he cannot understand.
My first response is, “Of course you can’t understand it all. God is infinite. We are finite. It would be a small god indeed if we could have perfect understanding of him.”
Thankfully, God has loving patience. He allows circumstances in our lives that cause us to have to trust Him, and when we see how He was in those circumstances, our faith grows.
A couple years ago, when my middle son nearly died, God showed us once more that He is trustworthy. Today, Steven is fully recovered, coming up on his first year wedding anniversary, and doing well in his career.
My wife and I felt God presence during Steven’s crisis, and we knew that whatever happened, He would not desert us. It would have been easy to look at circumstances and fall apart. He came within a hair’s breadth of dying. During those hours that he was in the operating room, my wife and I certainly were afraid for Steven, and we shed many tears as we cried out to God to spare him, but we didn’t doubt that God had Steven in His hands. And we knew that in God’s hands was the very best place that he could be. LeeAnn and I were willing to accept God’s will for Steven, and for us, because we were living by believing, not by seeing.
My friend, there are countless times in each of our lives where we cannot see what lies ahead. We don’t know what God is doing in a given situation. All seems lost, or the way forward is unknown. That is where faith comes in. We live by believing, not by seeing.
Philippians 4:6 and 7 says, “6Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
“The peace of God, which transcends all understanding…” All of the knowledge in the world, all of the “seeing” in the world, will not bring such peace. To have this peace, the peace of God, we need to decide to believe. Put the need to know away. You can’t know. Do your due diligence, to be sure, but then, make the decision and let the peace of God guard your heart and mind. He has made promises galore in regards to his love and protection.
As I record this, it’s Thanksgiving Eve, and this is without a doubt, the most special Thanksgiving my family has ever had. I’ve been telling you about what happened to my son, Steven. Today I will finish the story and talk a bit more about this life of faith.
So today I’m just going to pick up where we left off last week.
My Son’s Story Concludes
It’s now Steven’s twelfth day in the hospital, January 20th. His fevers have not gone away, and the tube that was inserted through his ribs into the area around his right lung has produced very little fluid. Also his red blood count keeps dropping. The three different antibiotics are still running twenty-four hours a day, and the picc line is still giving him his only nourishment.
Now it looks like the incision, which runs from just below his sternum to just above his pubic bone, has become infected. Dr. Ha has had to remove all the staples, except for a few around his navel, so that the wound can be cleaned. This means that it will have to heal from the bottom up, or put another way, from the inside out. The staples were removed without anesthesia, and once the wound was opened, it was, is at the widest part, about 3 1/2” wide and 2” deep. There were areas of dead tissue and infection, and a couple of places where the bowel was very close to coming out, or eviscerating. As Steven’s dad, watching the doctor poke and prod the wound to evaluate the situation was almost more than I could take. It was obvious that every time the doctor touched the wound it shot pain through Steven, but I knew it had to be done. The wound is packed with gauze, and four times a day the gauze is changed out. Of course, the gauze adheres to the tissue as it absorbs the fluids that seep from the wound, and when it is removed it causes a great deal of pain.
At this point, Steven is truly my hero, because he is beyond brave as he endures all of this. Only one time during this entire ordeal have I heard him say, “Why am I going through this, God?” His faith has remained steadfast.
And I have begun to feel a bit like Job. But I’ll talk about more after I complete Steven’s story.
On this day, after working on the wound, Dr. Ha said that Steven might be able to go home in a couple of days if Steven begins to improve. He really wants to get him out of the hospital. It’s easier to get really bad infections in a hospital that at home, and he knows that Steven will get better rest at home.
But the next day, Steven’s fever goes back up to 103, and he has a rash all over his body. And of course, the packing on the incision is changed four times a day. Steven is becoming really discouraged at this point. It’s obvious that he won’t be released tomorrow.
Two days later, after looking really good in the morning, by the afternoon his fever again spikes to 101, and a chest X-ray shows fluid around his lung again.
I posted on my Facebook timeline “As for me and my house… We. Will. Serve. The Lord!” By now I am becoming increasingly aware of the fact that this entire episode is an attack from the enemy. I know that my commitment to the Lord is being tested, and I am determined now more than ever, to cling to my Creator. More on that later.
Also on this day, it’s now January 23rd, the wound treatment was changed. Instead of doing the gauze thing four times a day, an apparatus called a “Wound Vac” was brought in. Without going into all the details, I’ll just say that a special type of foam rubber is fitted into the wound, and then a vacuum is applied. What this does is help draw out any infection, but more than that, it stimulates blood circulation to the area, speeding up the healing process. Also, the dressing only has to be changed three times a week. The process of changing is extremely painful, however, so three different pain killers are necessary, including morphine. He’s pretty much asleep during the procedure.
On the morning of Saturday the 26th, it looked like we would be taking Steven home. He was more than ready to get out of the hospital. He was tired of nurses coming in every two hours to take his vitals, he was tired of seeing people check into the bed next to him and then be released before him, some of whom were loud and/or out of their minds, and most of all, tired of being told he would be going home in the next day or so only to be disappointed with a setback. But in the afternoon, we were yet again told, “Not today.” This time it was because of red tape. Seems they couldn’t find a home care group who were willing to take on Steven’s case. I have to confess that We pretty much went ballistic on our case worker. It seems that she hadn’t even tried to set up the home care arrangements until that day, when it had been known now for three days that this would be necessary. And she waits until Saturday to try to set this up? A weekend? We were livid, and Steven finally boiled over. Pretty much the entire floor heard his reaction. He felt as if he was in prison, and he was so sick and tired of seeing the same four walls of his room, of laying in the same uncomfortable bed, of being poked and prodded every two hours, of the noise of the hospital, of getting no fresh air, of hearing “You’ll be home soon.” I didn’t blame him a bit. But later, he apologized for his outburst.
All along the way, we were posting Facebook updates and letting our church community know what was going on with Steven, and I know that the prayers that went up for us definitely helped us through, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Steven’s fevers have not gone away, they still spike to 101, 102 and even 103, but the consensus of the doctors seems to be that if they keep the heavy-duty antibiotic IVs going and treat the fevers with Motrin, eventually whatever is causing the fevers will give up. The infectious disease doctor does insist on a final test before releasing Steven, but finally the tests are complete and home care arrangements are made, and on Tuesday, January 29th, Steven is released from the hospital. It’s been 21 days since we nearly lost him, but our boy is home. He still has an open wound, he still has IVs running 24 hours a day, he’s 40 pounds lighter than he was when he got sick, he’s barely able to walk, he has an ileostomy that needs care, but he’s alive and on the mend.
LeeAnn and I are trained by the visiting nurses how to change Steven’s IVs. The longest time between changes is five hours, with most changes taking place at two hour intervals, so we’re on duty pretty much 24/7 for the month that the IVs are needed.
The wound vac is a part of Steven’s life for a total of nearly three months. Slowly, the procedure becomes less painful and fewer drugs are needed to dull the pain.
Finally, Dr. Ha tells us that the wound vac has done all that it can, and just like that, it’s gone. The wound is now only about five inches long and only a few millimeters deep. And now it’s time to talk about the next surgical steps.
Steven can live with the ileostomy for the rest of his life, if he wants. Many people live nearly normal lives with them. The bag, or appliance, just becomes a part of their daily routine. But Steven is only 21 years old, and there is a procedure that can be done that will restore him to being able to eliminate waste normally. In layman’s terms, part of the small intestine can be made into what is called a J-pouch, which will sort of take the place of the now absent colon.
And here is where my respect and admiration for Dr. Ha went from an already high level, right up to the stratosphere. He told us that he could do the procedure, but that he had not yet done one, and it was very complex. He didn’t want to make a mistake on Steven, especially since he was so young. He suggested we find a specialist, and he gave us some recommendations. Now, being a young surgeon, I’m sure that there was a part of him that would have loved to do the surgery so that he could have it for his resume’, and of course, surgeons in general have a very high opinion of themselves. But Dr. Ha put all of this aside in order to give Steven the very best chance of living a normal life. I love Dr. Ha, and I thank God that he was Steven’s doctor.
So the surgical process actually involves two surgeries. The first procedure is to build the J-pouch and connect it to the anus. Then about six weeks is needed for the tissues to heal, before allowing the waste to go through. So the ileostomy is still functioning during this healing time. Then, six weeks after that surgery, all the plumbing is hooked up, the ileostomy is closed up, and you’re done.
God led us to UCI Medical Center’s Dr. Steven Mills, who is the chief of the Colon & Rectal Division of their school of medicine. He, too is a young doctor at only 40 years of age, but after doing our due diligence, I believe him to be one of the best specialists in the country in this field.
So Steven had two more hospital stints in 2013, but they went without a hitch. Obviously, Steven was much healthier, because he wasn’t fighting ulcerative colitis any longer, and his insides had not just been bathed in poisons from his perforated colon.
Dr. Mills and the staff at UCI Medical center were awesome. The surgeries that Dr. Ha rightfully described as complex, were routine for Dr. Mills and the gang at UCI. They do them many times per week. It felt so good to be in their care.
Steven’s recovery ended up being faster than we expected. When this chapter began, Dr. Ha told us that the entire process, with all the surgeries and recovery times, would probably take ten months. That would have meant that Steven would be able to return to normal life in about November. As it turned out, his first day back to work was on September 21, and at his last checkup, a week after his last surgery, Dr. Mills told Steven, “I’ll see you in a year.”
As I record this, Steven’s back to his normal weight, and he just bought an engagement ring for Tarynne, his girlfriend of six years. My wife, the lovely lady LeeAnn and I, are thrilled. She stuck by Steven’s side during the entire ordeal and was a very real help to him.
This Thanksgiving, the Webb family has so much to be thankful for!
We still have Steven. We have a new, beautiful granddaughter from our oldest son, Matthew and his beautiful wife, Mareena. Our youngest son, Tim survived an auto accident that, had his car been a foot to the left, would have killed him. But he walked away with a few minor scratches and a totaled car.
We have a church family that supported us through the ordeal with prayers, with dinners brought to our home, and even financially. I don’t think I mentioned during my retelling of the story, that a week after Steven went into the hospital, LeeAnn lost her job. The job through which we had our health insurance. Yes, our church family was a nearly perfect reflection of what the New Testament church should be. People sacrificially gave to us to help us get through the worst times. We love them, and thank God for the very real ways they love us.
Some of the listeners to my podcasts sent financial gifts, as well. You know who you are, and I thank God for you, too. Steven’s girlfriend, Tarynne, set up a website to take donations for Steven, and many of our friends from many different walks of life, gave gifts as they were able. You know who you are, too. We thank God for you. Steven and Tarynne are fans of the Anaheim Ducks hockey team. There’s a clothing company that makes Ducks jerseys and t-shirts. They designed a special shirt for Steven, and all proceeds from the sale of that shirt are given to Steven to help with the bills, which are staggering. We are thankful to them. The name of their company is Violent Gentlemen.
I could go on. Suffice to say that God showed his love to us through countless people who reached out to us and supported us with these financial gifts, and even more important, with their prayers and well-wishes. I know that there were hundreds, even thousands of people around the world who were following Steven’s journey. We owe a debt of gratitude to so many people, some of whom we will probably never meet on this side of Heaven. We were truly humbled by the emails and Facebook comments.
The Story of Job and This Life of Faith
So I mentioned earlier that I felt a bit like Job in the midst of this ordeal with Steven. In case you’re not very familiar with Job’s story, I’ll take a moment here to give you the 10,000 foot view. Job lived a very long time ago, and he was a righteous man.
One day God mentioned to Satan what a good and righteous man Job was. And Satan said, “Of course he is. You’ve put a hedge of protection around him. You’ve blessed him with wealth and a family and every good thing. Take that away from him and he’ll curse you to your face.” So God said, “Ok. I’ll give you everything he has. But you can’t touch him.”
So Satan took everything away from Job. All of his wealth, and all of his children. One after the other. In one day. And the Bible tells us, “Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21And he said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
And then the story goes on to tell us that God even allowed Satan to strike Job’s body, and he became very ill with sores all over him. His wife told hime to curse God and die.
And his friends told him he needed to confess whatever horrible sin he must have committed for these tragedies to befall him. But Job did not waver. He continued to worship and love God.
In the end, God restored everything that had been taken from Job, and even doubled everything.
Now my story, thankfully, is not identical to Jobs, and I am not comparing my righteousness to Job’s by any means. But listen here. Several years ago, specifically it was 2007, my wife and I had an extremely good year in our family business. We had a record year. We had a beautiful home in a nice area of our town, our boys were all doing well and they loved the Lord, we were in ministry at our church and my podcasts were ministering to people around the world. And I remember being thankful for each blessing we had. I also remember saying on one of my podcasts, and in other places, that my faith in God was unshakeable. That there was nothing that would cause me to turn my back on Him. I didn’t say this from a prideful place, but from a place of gratitude. It was a statement not of my faithfulness, but of God’s faithfulness. In every situation, at every turn, God has demonstrated His faithfulness to me, even when I was not faithful. He patiently and lovingly built my faith to the point where I believed that nothing would shake it.
And I think that when I said that in such a public way, the enemy (satan) said, “Oh yeah? Let me at him, God.” And I am humbled to say that I believe God agreed to let me go through the process.
Late in 2007, both my dad and LeeAnn’s dad died. My dad had been sick for a long time, so it was not a surprise. LeeAnn’s dad, however, was fairly healthy, and he died as a result of bad care in the hospital after a routine surgery. In 2008, our business was hit especially hard by the economic collapse. We took a 90% hit. I also went through a very ugly, unjust legal battle with my sister and mother, which effectively tore both of them from me, and we began a multiyear battle to try to scrape enough money together each month to keep our home.
Literally, almost overnight, our lives were turned upside down. We went from having everything we wanted, to living on the edge of having our basic needs met.
To this day, we struggle financially. I’m working three jobs. LeeAnn still hasn’t found employment. Things are very slowly getting better, with the recent addition of my third job, but at least we are still in our home and food is on the table.
You may ask why I still have faith. I have faith because of the miracles I’ve seen since all of this began. So many times, it looked as if we would lose everything, and then God would supply, miraculously, at the last moment. We would receive a gift just in the nick of time to pay a utility bill or a house payment. I would get a voiceover job that would pay the medical insurance bill. And on and on it goes.
Also, I look at life more from an eternal perspective that I do an earthly perspective. We are only on this planet for a flash of time. It’s just the blink of an eye. I can endure hardship here, knowing that very soon, I will stand before God. And I want to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
This life of faith is not about having an easy life. It is about having a life of knowing God and serving Him. It’s about living a life of love, and sharing the love of God with those who need Him. Love is not about warm, fuzzy feelings. It is about helping others, it’s about sacrificing for others, it’s about building up and supporting other people. It’s about doing for other people.
This life of faith is about serving. It’s about standing fast, knowing that the One who loves me will never leave me or forsake me.
So don’t despair if you, too are going through hard times. I don’t deny that it’s hard. I don’t deny that there are times of the fear of the unknown. I have often wondered, “How is God going to work this out?” But I have not doubted that He would.
Life may be different than I thought it was going to be, but my life belongs to Him. He has the right to do with me what He wants. But for me, that is not a scary thing, because I know that He loves me. The New Testament book of Romans tells us, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I know that I love God, and I know that He called me, so I know that all things in my life are for my ultimate good. And I can rest in that, in the midst of all the trials.
This life of faith is not easy, but there is peace in the midst of the trials.
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Adrina Thorpe is one of my favorite singer/songwriters. I’ve known her now for about six years. She has a sweet, clear voice and the heart of a poet. Her music first came to my attention in the early days of podcasting, and she was one of the early stars of this medium. I found out she lived not far from me, right here in southern California, so I asked her to come to the Lifespring! studios in December of 2005 and do an interview with me. Since that show aired, we’ve kept in touch over the via email.
Not too long ago, Adrina sent an email newsletter out to her fans in which she told a story that brought tears to my eyes. You see, Adrina has suffered for years with a condition that causes her a great deal of pain. In her letter, she talked about her faith in God, her pleading to Him for healing, and how He has spoken to her in response. It’s a story I thought you should hear.