Wednesday, June 30, 2010

"My Dear Child"

My oldest daughter is away for a few days visiting with some very dear brothers and sisters in San Antonio. Trips are a frightening prospect for her, and her purpose for this one is to actively exercise trust in her Father. I am being forced to rest in Him as well and entrust my dear one into His hands. While we were driving to Round Rock where we were meeting our friends who would take her to San Antonio, she read the following letter to me. Our pastor had read it recently during Bible study, and she found it on the internet and printed out a copy. It expresses beautifully my affections and desires for her in a way that I never could. The grace of our precious Saviour has turned this dear daughter of mine into His child and my sister in Him. What a joy it is to share daily life with a believing child! To bear each others burdens, spur each other on to obedience, share glorious times in God's Word together...
I'm praying for my girl these few days that she will experience the grace of her Saviour in a way that she never could in the comfort of home. I pray that He will show her how very sufficient He is for all her needs, and far exceeds anything she could imagine. And if I could write as beautifully as the great Jonathan Edwards I would tell her this...

"My dear child,
You may well think it is natural for a parent to be concerned for a child at so great a distance away, so far out of view, and so far out of the reach of communication; where, if you should be stricken with any dangerous sickness, which should issue in death--you might probably be in your grave before we would hear of your danger. But yet, my greatest concern is not for your health, or temporal welfare--but for the good of your soul.

Though you are at so great a distance from us--yet God is everywhere. You are much out of the reach of our care--but you are in His hands every moment! We have not the comfort of seeing you--but He sees you! His eye is always upon you. And if you may but live sensibly near to God, and have His gracious presence, it is no great matter if you are far distant from us. I had rather you should remain hundreds of miles distant from us--and have God near to you--than to have you always with us, and live at a distance from God.

And if the next news we would hear of you, would be of your death, though that would be very sad; yet, if at the same time we had the best grounds to hope, that you had died in the Lord--how much more comfortable would this be to us--than if you died without the grace and favor of God!

It is comfortable to have the presence of earthly friends, especially in sickness, and on a death-bed; but the great thing is to have God as our friend, and to be united to Christ, who can never die--and from whom our own death cannot separate us.

My desire and daily prayer is, that you may meet with God where you are, and have much of His divine influences on your heart, wherever you may be; and that, in God's due time, you may be returned to us again, in prosperous circumstances in your soul.

I hope that you will maintain a strict and constant watch over yourself, against all temptations, that you do not forsake or forget God; and particularly, that you do not grow slack in secret piety. Retire often from this vain world, from all its bubbles and empty shadows, and vain amusements; and converse with God alone. Seek for that Divine grace and comfort--the least drop of which is worth more than all the riches, gaiety, pleasures, and entertainments of the whole world!

May you be sensible of your dependence on the care and kindness of God--and of the vanity of all human helps. May you seek His face, to trust in Him, and walk closely with Him. Commending you to the care and special favor of our heavenly Father,"

Your very affectionate father,
Jonathan Edwards, July 26, 1749
Northampton, Massachusetts

You can read Lydia's testimony of God's amazing grace in her life here:

I love you my dear daughter and sweet sister. I look forward to you being back home with us very soon!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't Follow Your Heart!

Point #1 Sin is a lie.
Point #2 Sin resides in the heart.
One verse ties both these truths together "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" Jeremiah 17:9

In our culture and the world at large the constant mantra we hear is "Follow your heart." It's the theme of EVERY Disney movie my kids have ever seen, it's all over Oprah, and it rings in my ears from my own thoughts. But according to Scripture, our heart is the last voice we should follow. Jer. 17:9 tells us that our hearts are liars. Would you listen to someone you knew to be a liar? Would you go to your local con man for wisdom and direction in your life? Of course not! You can't trust them. They're not interested in what's best for you, only what benefits them. And so it is with our hearts. Our hearts are the seat of our desires and seek only pleasure and comfort. They give no thought to the consequences that may come. So why on earth would we follow a liar?
An example:
King David....I'm sure we all know the story of how King David's lust brought death and destruction into his life, but how close are you and I to following our hearts into the same plight? King David knew the law of God regarding adultery, so what was he thinking up on that rooftop when his eyes fixed on Bathsheeba? I don't think he was thinking. He was listening intently to the liar inside of him that told him that this moment of pleasure would have no consequence, no one would find out, he needed Bathsheeba to make him happy, etc. He must have believed the lie of his heart because he acted and started a spiral of sin, deception, and grief that lasted the rest of his earthly life.
By God's grace David was brought to repentance for his adultery and murder and graciously forgiven. We have the account of that repentance in Psalm 51 where David cries for God to create a "clean heart" in him. That's the only remedy to our lying hearts. The cleansing and renewing that only Christ can bring.

I have been thinking a lot lately about the deceitfulness of the heart, mostly my own heart. I have seen seemingly faithful believers who appeared to be walking with the Lord fall into sin and walk away from the faith. What in the world would cause someone who knew the Truth and lived according to it for so long to abandon it? Answer: the deceitfulness of the heart. They believed the lie that their sin was more precious than the Saviour. They abandoned eternal joy for momentary fulfillment. Either they completely walked away from the Truth revealed in God's Word or they twisted it to accommodate their sin. How close am I to stepping off of that cliff? What lying sin is in my heart that could rise up and compete with the blessing of salvation? "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right (steadfast) spirit within me"! Ps. 51:10

So, how do we guard against the liars inside of us? First of all, there are precious promises to those of us that the Lord has saved from sin. Philippians 1:6 says, "And I am SURE of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." And Jude 24 and 25 praises the One who is "ABLE to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of His glory with great joy, to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority before all time and now and forever. AMEN"!! We know that if we have truly been saved our God can and will keep us from ultimately being destroyed by sin. The reality of those who have walked away from the Gospel and followed their hearts is that they were never really His to begin with, and their apostasy is just the outward manifestation of that. At the same time, we are exhorted in Scripture to be vigilant and watchful ourselves, not just lay back in our security.


Proverbs 9 gives an excellent example of the two voices that are constantly competing for our attention. Lady wisdom and the woman Folly.

Wisdom says:
"Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
To him who lacks sense she says,
5"Come, eat of my bread
and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6Leave your simple ways, and live,
and walk in the way of insight."
Wisdom offers Truth to those who don't have it. Farther down the source of wisdom is revealed...
" 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom,
and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight."


13 The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.
14She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15calling to those who pass by,
who are going straight on their way,
16 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
And to him who lacks sense she says,
17 "Stolen water is sweet,
and bread eaten in secret is pleasant."
18But he does not know that the dead are there,
that her guests are in the depths of Sheol."

Did you notice that she offers the same thing that Wisdom does? They both say, "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!" They both claim to have understanding. One is real, the other is a liar. Lady Folly packages her lie as Truth. And what does she say? "Stolen water is sweet..." In other words, sin will bring you happiness. Go ahead, follow your heart, there are no consequences, enjoy your sin! The Truth is "the dead are there...her guests are in the depths of Sheol."

I think the struggle that I often have regarding my lying heart is whether or not I really BELIEVE what God tells me in His Word. It's sad, but very true. I tend to discount His warnings to "cut off my right hand, and gouge out my right eye" if it causes me to sin. I don't believe that dabbling with sin, especially in my mind, is really as dangerous as He tells me. And when I do this He responds with His faithful discipline, because He loves me too much to let me go on believing my lies. But like David, the consequences of His discipline are often scorchingly painful. I want to learn to Trust His Word and preach it to myself BEFORE I start following my heart.
It's interesting that immediately preceding the verse about the deceptive heart in Jer. 17:9 it says this,
"Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and it is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit."
That's true happiness and life! That is the result of believing God's Truth rather than my own heart. Read all of Jer. 17 sometime, there's so much rich Truth there!
While we're guarding our own hearts, there is a crucial place in this struggle for other believers. Hebrews 3:12 says, "Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But EXHORT ONE ANOTHER EVERY DAY as long as it is called "today", that none of you may be hardened BY THE DECEITFULNESS OF SIN. For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end." Because sin is such a liar, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we're safe in our sin. That's why we need the Church, i.e. other believers actively spurring us on to faithfulness to the Lord and abandonment of our sin. I could write a whole other post on that concept and I think I just might, but this one is already frighteningly long so I'll leave it at that. Just don't forget this, we NEED other BELIEVERS, we NEED the BODY OF CHRIST, Christ Himself made it that way!
One final Scripture that most of us know, but that states clearly how to battle the liar inside of us...

And when you don't trust Him and follow your deceitful heart...


Trust the Lord, FOLLOW HIM, NOT YOUR HEART, and guard against the sin that endeavors to appear more beautiful than your Saviour!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Food of Love

"Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality." Romans 12:9-13

I love this passage! It is just stuffed with so much practical instruction. What I want to focus on is love for the saints and showing hospitality. This is a super practical post. There have been so many times in the past when another believer needed a prepared meal. I've always been happy to provide it, but I've never really found a faithful, go-to recipe that I really like. Well, I've found one and I wanted to share it. I like this recipe because it's GOOD, it's CHEAP (relatively), it's COMFORTING, and it's FREEZABLE, and my favorite can make one for your family and one for someone else. So, here it is, a modified (very slightly, basically I doubled it) version of...

The Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti. (Original recipe at

4 c. cooked shredded chicken
(I bought 1 lg package of chicken thighs @ 99 cents/lb., cooked it in water with some celery, onion, salt and lemon pepper, and removed it from the bone RESERVE THE BROTH!)
6 c. (I think that's about a lb.) thin spaghetti broken into 2 in. pcs
1 lg. can cream of mushroom soup
1 lg. can cream of chicken soup
4 c. grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c. finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 c. finely diced onion
8 oz. jar pimientos
4 c. reserved chicken broth
2 t. seasoned salt
1/8 t. cayenne or cajun seasoning (opt.)
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 c. additional grated cheese

1. Cook spaghetti until ALMOST done. Make sure it still has a little bite to it, because it's going to finish cooking in the oven. Drain.

2. Combine everything else including the spaghetti, except for 1-2 c. of additional cheese.

3. Grease (or butter would be even better) 2-13x9 baking dishes. Dump half in each dish. Top with remaining grated cheese. Bake one for supper tonight (uncovered at 350 for 45 minutes or until bubbly), cool the other one, cover it with foil, and put it in the freezer for someone else. To prepare from freezer, thaw in fridge over night. Bake uncovered as directed above.

To me this is the ULTIMATE chicken spaghetti, (I've tried a lot of duds :-). It's just the right ratio of creaminess and flavor to spaghetti. So, I have one of these in my freezer as we speak, anyone out there need a meal? :-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

And now for something completely different...

I made Pioneer Woman's Apple Fritters tonight and just had to post pictures... find the recipe at

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Covetousness and its Opposite

"You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant or his female servant, or his ox or his donkey or ANYTHING THAT IS YOUR NEIGHBOR'S" Exodus 20:17
Okay, I don't think any of us has been coveting their neighbor's donkey or ox lately, although some of my friends around Gatesville might be involved in some goat coveting :-)
This post is the outflow of a battle I'm having in my own mind with covetousness a.k.a lust, desires, passions etc., so I thought I'd share some of the Truth that I have found regarding this for your encouragement. (Just a note here-we often associate lust with sexual temptation, and it very often is, but sinful lust and desires can be for anything, good or bad, that we desire above Christ. It can be as simple as the desire for peace and quiet when your children are clamoring for your attention, and becoming sinfully angry when there is no peace and quiet to be found :-)

1. Coveting doubts the goodness and provision of God. It is an indictment on His character. The first example that came to mind was Eve in the garden. God had abundantly provided for Adam and Eve a multitude of different kinds of fruits and vegetables to enjoy. He had been good to them beyond measure. He had limited them in only one thing, they could not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. That one thing that was withheld from them was the very thing that the Serpent used to tempt Eve. He essentially told her that God was keeping something back from them that would make them REALLY happy. It was a lie, and plunged all of us into the devastation of a sinful world. So when your mind starts to wander to that place where you think, "I would be so happy if...." recognize it as the lie that it is and resist its allure.

2. Coveting is essentially desire for pleasure, and more than that a desire for the fulfillment of our pleasure at the expense of fellowship with God. In the case of unbelievers, it is at the expense of their eternal souls. "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world- the DESIRES OF THE FLESH, the DESIRES OF THE EYES, and the PRIDE OF POSSESSIONS is not from the Father, but is from the world, and the world is passing away WITH ITS DESIRES, BUT WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF GOD ABIDES FOREVER." I John 2:15
Our pastor in San Antonio once compared this verse to the temptation of Eve. Genesis 3:6 says," So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food ("desires of the flesh") that it was a delight to the eyes ("the desires of the eyes") and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise ("the pride of possessions" or "the boastful pride of life" in another translation), she took of its fruit and ate." She was tempted by the three desires listed in I John 2:15. All temptation to sin, as far as I can tell, falls into one of these three categories of DESIRE. Adam and Eve forfeited their fellowship with God, and their very lives to "satisfy" these DESIRES.

3. Coveting breeds other sin. If our coveting doesn't lead to sinfully taking what God has not provided, it usually morphs into other sin.
Complaining "And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it His anger was kindled...Now the rabble that was among them had a STRONG CRAVING. And the people of Israel also wept again and said, 'Oh that we had meat to eat. We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this MANNA to look at" Numbers 11:1, 4-6 I seriously doubt that Egypt was as good as they remembered. Seems like there was the small matter of them being SLAVES, which makes me think that their diet wasn't as rich as they described. Sin has a way of distorting our vision like that. But more than their desire for what they couldn't have, was their rejection of the miraculous manna that God had provided for them. Which brings us right back to coveting being a doubting of the goodness and provision of God, and complaining is one way that that doubt manifests itself when covetous desires are not fulfilled.
Arguing "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You DESIRE and DO NOT HAVE, so you murder. YOU COVET AND CANNOT OBTAIN SO YOU FIGHT AND QUARREL" James 4:1-2 Not having our covetous desires satisfied leads to strife. We are all pulling for our own way, and that brings us into conflict with each other. Even the heinous sin of murder is mentioned here. I know that most of us have never killed anyone out of covetous anger, but who hasn't had murderous thoughts when someone got in the way of our lust?

Now for covetousness' opposite:
My battle this morning was, "I know that these covetous desires are wrong, but how do I get them out of my mind?!" I remembered the principle of putting off and putting on, the idea of not only throwing off sin like an old piece of dirty clothes, but also putting on sin's righteous and God-honoring opposite. (see earlier post "Lessons from an Old Carpet) So what is the opposite of covetousness? The answer was almost immediate. If coveting doubts God's goodness and provision, then what is it that trusts in His goodness?...CONTENTMENT! While covetousness is restless and always wants more, contentment RESTS in the goodness and faithfulness of God. Psalm 84:11 says, "For the Lord is a sun and shield, the Lord bestows favor and honor, NO GOOD THING DOES HE WITHHOLD FROM THOSE WHO WALK UPRIGHTLY." The contented heart believes that God is not keeping any good thing back from them, no matter how bad their circumstances are, He has already given us His favor (grace). Covetousness, as I mentioned before, doubts that God is good and grasps for what He has not provided. Contentment is happy with God alone, so it doesn't require anything else. "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Ps. 23:1 Here are a couple of passages that illustrate contentment:
"Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things (be content in all circumstances) through HIM who STRENGTHENS me." Phil. 4:11-13 Paul wrote this while he was chained to a Roman guard, so they are by no means empty words. A parallel passage to this is one I found in Habakkuk 3:17-19
"Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail, and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls,
I really thought the similarities in these passages were amazing. They are both saying that even if they have nothing but the Lord alone, they can be content, happy. They also both mentioned that God was their strength to endure any circumstance. Habakkuk brings out the connection between contentment and joy when he says, "yet I will rejoice".
Contentment, joy, and thankfulness are all very closely linked to one another. They all express a settled trust in the goodness and love of God and a satisfaction in Him alone. Cultivating an attitude of joy and thankfulness encourages contentment and squelches covetousness. Recently I heard John Macarthur preaching on joy. He said that here is never a time in the Christians life when we do not have reason to rejoice! Habakkuk illustrates this point perfectly.
We are commanded to rejoice, "REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS!" did you get that? Just in case you didn't, "again I will say, REJOICE." Phil. 4:4
We are also commanded to give thanks. A precious friend of mind mentioned I Thessalonians 5:18 to me. It says, "give thanks in ALL circumstances, for this is the WILL OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS FOR YOU." She said that she was learning to have a thankful heart by filling in the blank of the "all circumstances" in this verse. "give thanks in __________________ (pain, loss, injury, difficulty, when things aren't going my way, when I'm having a bad day etc.) for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you." I love that idea. According to that verse ALL circumstances are a reason to give thanks to God. So, rejoicing and giving thanks should be constant in our thoughts and on our lips. This will teach us contentment in our Lord alone and keep our hearts from reaching for the things that would compete with Him.

So in my battle for contentment I am going to remember:

1.Thinking that something God has not provided for me will make me happy is a LIE! (remember Eve)

2.Covetous desires lead to other sin and snowball into a chaotic sinful mess.

3.Contentment is the opposite of covetousness and rests in the Truth of Ps. 84:11 God is not withholding any good thing from me and, in Him alone I find the height of goodness and pleasure.

4.Rejoice always!

5.Give thanks in every circumstance!

I am so thankful for the precious Word of God that teaches us how to follow Him! Now that I know these things the hard part begins- putting them into practice! This will come as a result of my working hard to practice the truth, and more than that as a result of His grace working in me.

"Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in strength fails because of my iniquity."
Ps. 31:9,10
"God, the Lord is my strength!" Habakkuk 3:19

"Take all my hunger for all that's forbidden, every desire and sin I keep hidden.
Search me and know me, I want to bring to You, a life that is holy and sanctified through You"
from "Surrender All" Sovereign Grace Music (listen to the whole song in my playlist on the sidebar)

"Jesus I am resting, resting
In the Joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power
Thou hast made me whole.

Jesus, I am resting, resting
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

O how great Thy loving kindness.
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O how marvellous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings;
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me,
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth's dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father's glory,
Sunshine of my Father's face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting;
Fill me with Thy grace."
Jean Sophia Pigott 1876

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

What the Lord has Been Teaching Me Lately

Don't be afraid of suffering and pain.
I think one of the things I fear the most is pain. I fear physical pain that can't be relieved. I fear the emotional pain of loss and disappointment. I think we all want to be comfortable and "happy", but lately the Lord has been teaching me not to fear pain. And here are some of the reasons:

1. Pain, if rightly responded to, drives us to trust our Father and rest in our Savior. It seems like painful days are the days when I am clinging tightest to my Lord. I can see clearly how much I depend on Him for every moment of my life.

2. God is good. He just is. And He knows exactly what is good for me. A friend of mine told me recently, "I am the worst at deciding what's best for me." And my Father is the Best at knowing what's best for me! In a sermon I listened to a few days ago the pastor likened trials to surgery. He referenced James 1:2-3
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith PRODUCES steadfastness, and let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and COMPLETE lacking in nothing."
He likened trials that God brings into our lives to surgery. God has a specific purpose for each trial and a fruit for it to produce in us, but the process of the trial is like surgery, and we need to resist the temptation to get out of the pain before God has brought about its "full effect". To do that would be like someone getting up off the operating table in the middle of a surgical procedure and saying "OK that's enough, this is too much, I can't handle it, sew me up right now and let me out of here!" How ridiculous that would be! The result would most likely be very serious and possibly deadly. So we need to remember in our pain that God is good, and that He is doing something very good in us. "LET steadfastness have its FULL EFFECT"

3.God can be trusted. I've discovered that I'll never know this to be true unless I actually have to TRUST HIM! That means that I have to be pressed into situations that leave me without any other resource but HIM! That means painful, sometimes frightening circumstances that cause me to run to my Father, and in running to Him I find peace and unbelievably, JOY! I have experienced some of the most joyful moments right in the middle of some of my most gut wrenching pain.

4.Pain causes us to let go of this world and long to be with Christ. We are so stuck to this planet we live on. Everything here seems so real and sturdy and trustworthy. The world beyond this seems ethereal and intangible, until pain shatters that reality and makes us realize that this world has very little to offer us BUT pain. "In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, I have overcome the world!" John 16:33 Yes, there are precious blessings that God showers on us here, but they are nothing compared to HIM. Pain and loss peel our fingers from the here and now and focus our eyes on Christ who is our life.
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. when Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." Colossians 3:1-4

5.Pain humbles us. It reminds us that we are really nothing, after all, and that's a great place to be, because that's the place of grace. "God resists the proud, but gives GRACE to the HUMBLE. Humble yourselves therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you. Be sober minded, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of sufferings are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace , who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. TO HIM BE DOMINION FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN!" Wow, don't you love God's Word?!
In Paul's suffering from the thorn in the flesh that God GAVE him, he was told by God Himself, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." And Paul responded, "Therefore I will BOAST all the more GLADLY of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then I am CONTENT with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Paul was crying out a few verses earlier "take it out! make it stop" (my paraphrase) and then when he realizes that it is the means for God to show His strength in him, he basically says, "bring it on! If it exalts Christ, it it makes His power known in me, I'd rather have the pain!" (my paraphrase again)

6. And finally, pain is the means by which God comforts us so we can then comfort each other. Nothing so tenderizes our hearts to the pain of others as experiencing pain ourselves. And when we have walked through it with the Lord as our Helper, we can encourage another believer when they are walking through something painful that our God is gracious and He is enough, because He was gracious and He was enough for me. What a great encouragement we can be to one another. What a great and worthy reason to rejoice in our sufferings! To think that this pain may be the means of comfort one day to brother or sister in Christ.
" Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and GOD OF ALL COMFORT, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, IT IS FOR YOUR COMFORT and salvation,; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Still, my Soul be Still
Words and music by Keith and Kristyn Getty & Stuart Townend

"Still, my soul be still,
And do not fear, though winds of change may rage tomorrow.
God is at your side, no longer dread
the fires of unexpected sorrow.

God, You are my God,
And I will trust in You and not be shaken
Lord of peace renew, a steadfast spirit within me,
to rest in You alone.

Still, my soul be still,
Do not be moved, by lesser lights and fleeting shadows.
Hold onto His ways, with Shield of Faith,
against temptation's flaming arrows.

Still, my soul be still,
Do not forsake, the Truth you learned in the beginning,
Wait upon the Lord, and Hope will rise
As stars appear when day is dimming.

DON'T FEAR, but rather TRUST in your GOOD and GRACIOUS FATHER!
"Rejoice in hope,
Be patient in tribulation,
Be constant in prayer."
Romans 12:12