The good news of the gospel [for sufferers] is not an exhortation from above to 'hang on at all costs,' or 'grin and bear it' in the midst of hardship. No, the good news is that God is hanging on to you, and in the end, when all is said and done, the power of God will triumph over every pain and loss.
I never realized how much I've become dependent on human approval until God took it away. I didn't even realize that I was in a self-made prison of human approval and human acceptance. Most of the prisons we live in we are not conscious of. God showed me Jesus plus nothing equals everything. And everything minus Jesus equals nothing. That set me free.
When we depend on anything smaller than God to provide us with the security, significance, meaning, and value that we long for, God will love us enough to take it away. Much of our anger and bitterness, therefore, is God prying open our hands and taking away something we've held onto more tightly than him.
I grew up in a remarkable home, the middle of seven children. My parents raised us well. They loved us well. We laughed hard growing up. But being the middle child, I couldn't figure out where I fit in the home, whether I was the youngest of the older three or the oldest of the younger three. When you don't know where you fit inside the home and you're young and you're desperate to fit in somewhere, I'd figured where I would fit outside the home. So I made some bad decisions about who I hung out with, I dropped... Read more »