How Can This Be for My Good?

“How can this be for my good?”

I’ve found myself asking this question an awful lot lately. With every disappointment, rejection and set back I keep thinking of Romans 8:28,

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

I have a love/hate relationship with this verse. It’s hard to read it or have someone flippantly tell you it’s going to be okay because “all things work for good”. Those words certainly don’t feel very comforting when you are in the midst of chaos and confusion; when you feel like your world is spinning out of control and there’s not been any semblance of normalcy for what seems like an extraordinarily long period of time; when “good” feels more like “cruel”.

And then on better days, this verse encourages me. It reminds me that though everything seems to be falling apart around me, there is hope. This destruction is not the end but it is the beginning of starting something new. These endless valley days are preparation for something better. Even though this season is hard, it is for my good.

So often my thoughts drift towards the former way of looking at this verse. To question; to doubt; to struggle. Yet, I feel as if my heart is coming to accept the reality that even the darkest days are for my good.

There’s another verse in the Bible that says,

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Hebrews 12:11

“At the time,” this struggle is very real and painful. It’s not pleasant. I don’t enjoy it. I’m not a big fan of this season. But there is hope!

I’m grateful that the verse doesn’t just end there; it continues. “Later on” has never been two of the sweetest words known to mankind. Usually “later on” means having to wait; be patient; sit tight. My kids hate it when I tell them later on. Why? Because they want it now! But in this case, “later on” signifies hope. Hope that whatever trial or struggle I’m going through will not last forever, because “later on” there will be righteous and peace for those who are trained by it.

Training is not easy. Training is not quick. Training is the day in and day out arduous task of never giving up and remaining steadfast. It’s not growing weary and losing heart. It’s remembering that this process is for my good. Because all things, even hard things, work for good.

Strawberry Picking at Storm Farms

At the end of last month, we went to Storm Farms to pick strawberries for the very first time. My parents are in town, and so we brought grandpa and grandma along for the ride. Growing up in Hawaii, we never had a chance to do something like this, and so my mom finally got to experience a moment straight out of a Hallmark movie (she really wanted to chop down her own Christmas tree when they were here last December, but that never happened, so this was the next best thing).

We almost passed the farm entirely. It’s on a busy street in Arlington surrounded by homes and buildings. When we got there, we went to the table and were given baskets and instructions on how to pick the right strawberries. We were told to pick the ones that were all red, since the ones with white would not ripen once they were picked.

We searched through rows and rows of strawberries and I’m glad we wore rain boots, since it had rained the day before and some spots were very muddy. Once we filled our baskets, they were weighed and then we only paid for what we picked ($8 per pound).

We were also told to only wash the strawberries we were going to eat because they wouldn’t last as long once washed. I asked if that was the same as store bought strawberries, and the lady said that store bought ones are covered in chemicals so when you wash them you are washing off the chemicals. There were no chemicals used on these strawberries, but they were natural.

When we got home, we only washed what we were going to eat, which ended up being all of them since they were so sweet and delicious. It was such a fun…and tasty experience!!!

Push Through, Don’t Pull Back

I’m at a funky place in life right now. My faith can be so weak at times, and yet I know in my head that the only real solution to all my fears, is greater faith in God.

But the struggle is real.

The other morning as I drove Ellie to school, a familiar song came on the radio. It’s one I’ve sung in church before. Hands lifted high, tears streaming down my face because, at the time, I could wholeheartedly agree that the name of Jesus was indeed beautiful.

But that morning, well…I just wasn’t “feeling it”. I didn’t feel like I had what it took to agree in my spirit that Jesus’ name was above every other name. At least not when everything seemed to just be one letdown after another.

And then I felt convicted. “Marissa, just because your circumstances seem horrible, does it change the fact that Jesus’ name is beautiful?”

Like a dagger to my heart, I had been pierced by my very own words from just a few days prior. What I feel doesn’t change who Jesus is. No matter my circumstances, He is still the same. He is still altogether lovely.

So I had a choice to make. I could either pull back, which is what I felt like doing, or I could push through.

I decided to push through. 

I didn’t like it; I didn’t feel like it, but I knew pulling back wasn’t going to get me anywhere. Pulling back hadn’t gotten me anywhere thus far.

As I drove away from the school, another song came on the radio. The song actually came out a few years ago, but I didn’t really pay much attention to it because it wasn’t really my type of music. But this time I didn’t just listen with my ears, I listened with my heart.

Those words. Those beautiful, gut-wrenching words.

Now I don’t recommend bawling in morning rush hour traffic, but all the tears I’d been holding back for so long came out like someone had opened up the floodgates.

Near the end of the song is a powerful drumline paired with these words:

When the storm is raging
And my hope is gone
When my flesh is failing
You’re still holding on

And then the spoken word of Psalm 23:

The Lord is my Shepherd
I have all that I need
He let’s me rest in green meadows
He leads me beside peaceful streams
He renews my strength
He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to His Name
Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid
For You are close beside me

At this point, I am just done. There are tears and snot all over my face. I’m sure other drivers think surely something must be wrong with this crazy lady. Thankfully, I pull into my driveway and I just sit in the silence. The only sound is the gentle rain hitting my windshield as the impending storm rolls in. I let the truth of that song and God’s Word, wash over me like a cleansing flood.

Even when it feels like I’m alone in this and my prayers are not being heard or answered, God’s still holding on to me. In this storm, He remains in control; guarding my soul and surrounding me with His love. The only hope I have is to trust in Him; to trust in His beautiful name. He is everything that I need. He fulfills every longing. He’s my strength, my peace, my rest. The darkest valleys will be but a shadow because He is with me.

Storms are a reality in life. We all face them at one time or another. And there is a choice to be made. To either pull back or to push through. Perhaps it’s my stubborn nature, but I’m gonna push through. God’s not just walking beside me in this valley, often times He is carrying me. So whether by walking, crawling or being carried, I’m going to get through this valley because He is with me.

Choosing Faith Over Feelings

This past week a sermon by Charles Stanley kept on popping up on my FB feed. It was entitled, “Triumphant Joy”. I watched a clip of it and made a mental note that I needed to watch the full sermon later. Then life happened- an awards ceremony, Egyptian feast, recitation, birthday festivities, another bout of strep. So it wasn’t until last night that I had a chance to watch the sermon…twice, and I’ll probably end up watching it again with Shelby.

Dr. Stanley talked about the book of Philippians and how the Apostle Paul wrote the letter while in a jail cell. Yet, despite his dire circumstances he didn’t complain. Instead, he repeatedly wrote about being joyful and having joy.

It’s hard to imagine that the letter which talks about the Lord completing a good work in our lives, doing everything without grumbling or complaining, pressing on to take hold of the prize, rejoicing in the Lord always, and being able to do all things through Christ, was written in a cold, dank jail cell.

He probably knew that his future most likely included death, but his joy wasn’t contingent upon his circumstances, instead his joy was based upon his relationship with Christ. Even though his circumstances were bleak, he choose joy. 

These past few weeks my eyes have been fixed on my circumstances rather than on Christ. Yet, even though I’m not necessarily “happy” with my situation, I can still have joy. My feelings may come and go, but I can’t allow how I feel to dictate my joy. Feelings are fickle and unpredictable. They can change without a moment’s notice. However, I can’t base my faith on how I feel. My faith needs to be grounded in truth.

A lot of times living the Christian life is full of hard things. It often means making a choice that doesn’t feel good but it’s the right thing to do. It means choosing obedience even though everything in your flesh is screaming otherwise. It means choosing joy even when everything around you is falling apart.

Sure I can be upset; think life is unfair (which it is); be angry at how cruel and harsh my circumstances are, but it doesn’t change truth. Unlike what the world may say, truth doesn’t change. It remains the same. Two plus two will always equal four; an apple will always be an apple; the earth will always be round. And not to trivialize God…but God will always be God. He doesn’t change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word will always be true; it stands firm.

You can be as angry and bitter as you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that God is God. He will always be God. He is still Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer and Lord. Whether you believe it or not, He is still God. How you feel about God doesn’t change who He is. You may doubt his goodness, but He is still good. You may not believe He loves you, but He is still love. 

Life is messy because we live in a sinful world. We hurt, face trials, go through unimaginable pain and heartache not because God enjoys seeing us suffer, but because perfection was marred by sin. In the midst of the realities and cruelties of life, I can still choose joy because joy is not based upon my circumstances or feelings, but it’s based upon the truth of who God is and my relationship with Him.

The Apostle Paul was human flesh like you and me. He was a sinner just like us. In fact, he considered himself to be the worst. His circumstances were dismal, his future included the possibility of certain death, and yet he chose joy. He could choose joy because his hope wasn’t found in what he could see but it rested in what he couldn’t see. It was deeply rooted in Christ and the assurance of what hope in Christ brings – eternal salvation.

I have this hope, and yet I so easily forget. I look around at the towering waves and I loose sight of the goodness and beauty of Christ being my all sufficiency. I focus on my feelings and forget the truth of God’s Word and who He says He is.Thankfully, even though my feelings change, God doesn’t. He remains. I must choose faith over my feelings. Choose joy; choose hope; choose Christ. Because in Him is fullness of joy.

All Things New

I’ve contemplated whether or not I should share this. Not only has this been a difficult season, but it has also been a humbling one. I take pride in being able to do things for myself, to be able to bless others and help them when they are in need. So to be in a position where others have had to help us in numerous ways has humbled me and made me so incredibly grateful. It has also restored my hope in the goodness of mankind.

But for some reason, there are certain aspects of my life that I still desire to look like I have it all together. In reality, I don’t. I’m far from perfect. Most of the time I’m just a hot mess held together by lots of grace and prayer.

So I was afraid to share this part of our lives, because it would be vulnerable. A vulnerability that I’m not yet comfortable with. But, I’ve discovered that my pride only robs God of receiving glory, even in the most intimate parts of my life.

Let me start by going back to two weeks ago. Probably around the time of my last blog post. Shelby had a job opportunity that he had been preparing for for about a month. It required a written and physical test along with an extensive background check that included 54 pages of intrusive questions about things he had done in his past, dating back to before we had even met.

When I met Shelby, he had been a Christian for a few years. He wasn’t raised in a Christian home and had spent a decade in the nightclub scene before he felt the Lord telling him to get out of that environment.

Now before you get all judgy (like I initially was), it was actually through a church that was started at the nightclub that Shelby came to know the Lord. I remember in the early days, when he and I were just casually dating, struggling with his past. Never in a million years would I have dreamed of being with someone like Shelby. I was always the good kid, the goodie two shoes (which some people even called me in high school). So his previous lifestyle was new territory to me, even though we would later learn that my brother shared a somewhat similar lifestyle.

But I remember the day when the Lord spoke clearly to me about Shelby and his past. I was substitute teaching at my old elementary school. It was a Christian school and that day the kids had chapel, and as I sat in the wooden pew singing about the B.I.B.L.E. this verse came to mind, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (1 Corinthians 5:17).

From that day on, I looked at Shelby with a new perspective. Fresh eyes that saw him as a new creation in Christ. His old, former way of life, was gone. He was now a living, breathing testimony of what Christ can do to a life that is surrendered to God.

But unlike God who forgives our past and makes all things new, people don’t easily forget those things. They hold them against you as a reminder that you messed up.

So two weeks ago, after Shelby had passed his test for the job he was applying for, he was pulled aside and told that because of the things he had done in his past, he was automatically disqualified from moving forward. Even though it had been over a decade and a half since he’d done those things, it was as if he couldn’t shake the things that were his former way of life.

We all mess up. Fall short. Make grievous mistakes that we can’t seem to escape. Was it true he had done those things? Absolutely. Can he change what he’s done in the past? Absolutely not. Can he make better choices? He already has and will continue to do so.

Society might hold your past against you and you might feel as though you are just stuck in this perpetual cycle of bad choices. There’s no way out. This is just your lot in life. No matter what you do, there’s nothing you can do to change things in the past.

I wish that we (myself included) would see that people have the capacity to change. That through the power of the Holy Spirit, people can be redeemed from their pasts. God can bring people to repentance and what was their former way of life is just that, former. The old is gone. It’s a complete 180 from the direction they were going in. God can and does make all things new.

So I’ve walked in this tension the past two weeks and just the other day received a letter in the mail that brought me to tears. Because of Shelby’s emergency surgery we have had this outstanding medical bill looming over our heads for the past few months. I saw on the back of the bill that we could apply for financial aid.

Remember my pride issue I mentioned earlier. This is my area of struggle. It’s embarrassing that we are at a place in life where we can’t take care of our own medical bills. Where people have helped us financially through this entire ordeal, and I’ve just had to swallow my pride and learn to receive blessings from others with gratitude. It’s hard to be on the receiving end of a hand out. Maybe there are those who don’t mind it and feel entitled to it, but it makes me uncomfortable.

After applying for financial aid, I didn’t hear back, so I had to keep following up on it with no answers. I figured that we would probably just be denied and be stuck with this bill of thousands of dollars we didn’t have. That, plus the devastating news of being disqualified from what seemed like our last job option, made me grow bitter.

Bitter to see everyone else living their #bestlifenow. Upset when someone told me how God works all things for good when their husband was also let go, only to discover he already had a job lined up and would never experience this valley we have been walking through for so long. Frustrated to see others living the life I rightfully felt should of been ours because we had been more faithful, obedient….(self)-righteous!!!

So when I opened the envelope, I figured it was just another sorry reminder that we were poor, jobless, and destitute. I should be used to it by now, but it still hurts to be reminded of the painful condition your life is in. But instead, it was a letter of acceptance. The financial aid had been approved and our balance was zero. We owed nothing. The debt was paid.

This is where God shows up. He always shows up, but in that moment I burst into tears. Yes, I was relieved that we didn’t have to pay the thousands of dollars left on our hospital bill, but God also revealed to me that this is how he views our sin, our past, the things that disqualify us from life. Christ, in his mercy and grace, pays the debt we owe. He doesn’t care about our past, instead He wipes it clean. He declares us new creations, not because of any of our works (which are like filthy rags) but because of His undeserved mercy and grace.

It’s like the hymn:

All to Him I owe

Jesus paid it all

Sin had left a crimson stain

He washed it white as snow

We all have things in our past. Things that disqualify us from life, but praise God that He doesn’t just toss us aside and leave us that way. No, He provides a better way because He is the only way. I’m so glad that what the world may reject and discard, Jesus died on the cross for and redeems as His own.

Side note: I’ve realized that the very things my pride has made me ashamed of are the very things that boast of Christ’s power at work in my life. I need to allow Christ to use my weaknesses so that I can boast about His power. For it is when I am at my weakest, that I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

Things Seen and Heard

It seems somewhat fitting that today I just started reading the book of 1 John. Almost a week out from Good Friday and Easter Sunday, this is a good reminder that just because we’ve put away our Easter decorations and eaten all our kids’ chocolate eggs (because we don’t want their teeth to rot *wink, wink), we should never forget or stop proclaiming about what Christ has done.

1 John 1:1-4 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We write this to make our joy complete.”

Jesus’ beloved disciple, John, records the things which he witnessed with his own eyes and touched with his own hands. He can attest to the fact that what was once dead, came back to life. When he says, “life appeared,” he literally saw Jesus appear… or more aptly, reappear.  One day Jesus lay in a tomb and the next, He was risen.

Fifty years have passed between what John witnessed and what he now writes, yet I can still feel his passion as I read his words.  He’s still astonished; still amazed; still in awe and wonder. Not only did he witness these things, but he now testifies about them. Although he had abandoned Jesus that night in the garden, John is now proclaiming who Christ is. He does it because he wants others to join in this sweet fellowship that he has come to know and also to make his joy complete.

I’ve never thought of it this way, but the only way I can know complete joy is by sharing with others the things which I have seen and heard. The things which I have read through the pages of Scripture. The things which I have seen Him do in my life and in the lives of the saints. The things that, through the crucible of pain and suffering, have forced my life to be a little bit less of me and increasingly more of Him.

I want my joy to be made complete. When blessings abound, may Christ be given all the glory. When sorrow and grief are my closest companions, may I continue to be steadfast in His love and faithfulness. From highest heights or lowest valleys, may every season of my life be used for His glory.

Ennis Bluebonnet Trails

I’m not a native Texan, but I have lived here long enough to know that around this time of year the natives go crazy over bluebonnets. In all honesty, I haven’t paid much attention to them, but after seeing social media flooded with pictures of cute kids engulfed in a sea of bluebonnets, I figured it was time to discover what all the hype was about.

So I did a little research (a.k.a Google search) to find out where all the bluebonnet lovers go. It was either “go big, or go home,” so we decided to go big. And by big, I mean we drove an hour out to the “Official Bluebonnet City of Texas” in Ennis. It is listed as one of the top 10 place to find the best bluebonnets in 2019, so I figured it must be worth the trek to see these blue beauties. There were some other places listed, but I wasn’t about to dive 4+ hours with three kids by myself to go and see them. We went big, but not that big!

According to the Ennis Visitor Center website, the city showcases over 40 miles of mapped driving Bluebonnet Trails from April 1-30. These are the oldest known trails in the state, and tens of thousands of visitors come to view this wonderful wildflower show.

We arrived at the visitor’s center and received a map and suggestions on the best places for kids and where we could get out and take pictures with the bluebonnets. They also have a free app you can download on your phone that features the bluebonnet trail map with GPS location and a full directory of restaurants, shops, hotels, attractions and events. I wish I would have known this ahead of time, since we ended up getting lost (totally my fault, not the map).

The lady at the visitor’s center recommended that we check out the Meadow View Nature Area. I could not have agreed more. It was located close by and had plenty of places to park and snap a few shots. It’s also right by Lake Bardwell, which made for a pretty backdrop. If you have little ones or are short in time, you’ll definitely want to go here.

There are also a couple other parks nearby the nature area, but the lady at the visitor’s center said the bluebonnets there had been trampled, so we didn’t bother trying those places out.

Since the kids were having a great time, we decided to try out one of the driving trails. The South Trail was closer and shorter (45 min) and also had another field 8 mi. east called Holy Field where you could take pictures at. The North Trail was about 15 min up the I-45 and was longer (1 hr) and more scenic. There is also a winery up there, but I had my kids with me…plus I don’t drink, so that wasn’t a selling point for us.

We ended up going to the North Trail because there are also longhorns, swans, donkeys, goats, horses…okay, livestock, along the way. Since it’s in a residential area many of wildflowers are on someone’s private property and it’s strongly discouraged that you take pictures in someone’s yard, field, driveway, etc., which is completely understandable.

We did pull off the road a couple of times to find patches of bluebonnets we could take pictures in. There may have been more places along the trail, but since I got lost a few times, we decided to call it a day and head back home during Dallas rush hour traffic. Yay me for not planning that out a little better.

All-in-all, the kids had fun and so did I. We learned more about the Texas state flower and enjoyed God’s beautiful creation. I have to say, that seeing fields and fields of bluebonnets and other wildflowers is quite a sight to behold and I’m glad we got to experience this spectacular display of beauty.

The Time in Between

Everyone remembers Good Friday, the day our Savior bled and died; and celebrates Easter, the day when Christ overcame the grave. But what about the day in between? When the world grew eerily silent. Hearts crushed the day before. All hopes and expectations were shattered. What was once so very certain and sure had become fleeting and an utter disappointment.

The disciples had scattered, fearing for their own lives. During Christ’s greatest moment of need, those closest to him abandoned him. I’m sure they were bewildered. The whirlwind that had occurred under the cover of darkness wasn’t a surprise. It was a methodically thought out plan. One that was just waiting in the shadows for a ripe opportunity.

I have found that most things that are done in secret, during the cover of night or during the wee hours of the morning are rarely ever things which bring about peace or are acts of love. They are usually things so wicked that it is only when darkness reigns that these vile schemes can be carried out. Even Jesus, when being arrested, questioned the mob that was led by his betrayer saying “Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me.” Mark 14:49

But now, when there were no crowds to fear (Luke 22:2), when darkness had given them courage, their evil plans were set into motion. However, what they thought was Jesus’ downfall was actually just the beginning of his greatest moment of victory.

But here we are. The day after what seemed to have been the most awful day for Jesus’ followers. They didn’t know Sunday was coming. They didn’t know victory was waiting just around the corner. Good Friday was the finale. A tragic ending. And they sat in Saturday knowing that. Feeling the angst and pain. Fearing for their own lives. Not knowing what was going to happen next. Oh the immeasurable amount of grief they must have felt. A sorrow no words could express.

The time in between Friday and Sunday was a place of unknown certainty. What were they going to do now? It probably felt like they were living a nightmare. But it was also the Sabbath. A day that God created to grant us rest, to make us whole, and to provide for our weaknesses.

What felt like the end was really a time of restoration. A time to rest. A time to be made whole. I’m sure in the face of disbelief that was the last thing on their minds, but after everything they had endured, God gave them the time in between to be restored. They didn’t know it at the time, but what they thought was defeat was just a time of restoration before great victory. 

It feels like I’m in the time in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I’ve weathered many storms, faced defeat and heartache, but this is not the end. This is a time to rest and be made whole. Even in the midst of sorrow and grief, God is restoring me. And yes, Sunday is coming!

The Greater the Valley, the Greater God’s Love

If there is one thing that I have come to know during this trying season, it’s that the Lord is close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). I can honestly say that though this has been one of the most difficult times in my life, it has also been one of the sweetest.

At first, I resented the fact that God choose a life filled with suffering for me. I don’t understand why I have had to endure some of things that I’ve gone through, but I’ve also come to realize that the greater the depths of our valleys, the greater we come to know the depths of God’s love for us.

When you are at a place in life where you are desperately clinging to God to sustain you, you come to know Him as more than just words on a page. You know Him as Savior, not just because He saves, but because He has been your salvation. He is Comforter, not just because He comforts, but because He has wiped away all of your tears. He is Redeemer, not just because He redeems, but because He has reached down and rescued You.

Christ has become more real to me in this valley than on any mountain top I have ever stood on. Mountain tops aren’t wrong or less than, just different. I’ve come to know Christ in a different way and had I not been through this valley, I don’t know if I would have ever experienced this facet of my walk with the Lord.

I don’t think you can substitute the things you learn in the valley, unless you actually go through the valley. You can’t read about it, watch someone else go through it, or sit on the sidelines. Going through the valley makes you stronger, more resilient, and refined by His fire into more of His likeness.  There’s no other way. You can’t go around it, jump over it, crawl underneath it; you have to go through it.

And as hard as it may be, it’s worth it. Every single miserable second in this awful valley is worth the richness that I have found in my walk with the Lord.

So, if you are walking through the valley, let God take you by the hand and lead you through it. Just you and Him. No one or nothing else will satisfy. Savor these moments when He draws you into His chest and whispers into your ear, “You are mine”. He will be your refuge and strength. He will protect you and guide you. You will get through this. Maybe a little battered and bruised, but you will experience Him in a deeper way than ever before. He will become your all in all. His grace will be sufficient. He will be more than enough.

Set Your Mind on Things Above

I’m a thinker. Ask my husband and he’ll tell you I’m an over thinker. I can’t stop thinking of something until I have reached a satisfactory conclusion. Then, I neatly place all those thoughts in a box, tie it up with a pretty bow and tuck it away for safe keeping. No lose ends. Everything makes sense and is taken care of.

I want life to be like that. I don’t want unresolved issues. I want everything to make sense even if it means I cram every last loose end into that box and sit on it to make sure everything fits.

But most of the time life isn’t like that.

Things don’t make sense. Things remain unresolved. Things won’t fit into my nice and neat box even if I tried. 

I’ve got a million things floating around in my head looking to be put in a box and tied up with a pretty ribbon, but the reality is that some of those things will never find their way into a box. They will remain messy and unanswered. The more I try to cram them into a box, the more they will resist and refuse. 

So how can a person like me, who wants all things in life to be resolved and put up in a pretty box, let those things go?

Colossians 3:2 says, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.”

Stop dwelling on unanswered questions. Stop looking for resolutions. Stop trying to devise a way justice can be served. Stop trying to make sense of it all.

God is on His throne. He is working in you to will and to act in order to fulfill His good purpose. He’s in control of everything. If He needs you, He knows where He can find you.

Instead, let Christ take captive every thought and fill your mind with His promises. It’s His promises that will preserve your life.

So toss aside the box and the pretty bow. Let that be God’s gift to you in His time and in His way.