The Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

It’s been a rough week. This year, our Thanksgiving found us at a hospital, visiting a close relative who had surgery for cancer. It’s strange how Thanksgiving has held many bittersweet flavors in my life.

The Question We Ought to Ask When Hurting

(Photo By Artur Pokusin. Courtesy of Unsplash.com)

I’ve been lost in nostalgia for several reasons.

  • Eleven years ago on Thanksgiving Day we discovered my mother had died.
  • Last week I spoke with another woman who had surgery for cancer the next day.
  • Today marks the birthday of a longtime friend of ours who died from cancer several years ago.

That’s why, in part, when I asked you last week to tell me in one word what you’re thankful for, my one-word answer to that question was HOPE.

When we’re struggling or suffering, there’s one question we need to answer.

Did You Know There was a Peace Offering for Thanksgiving?

For many people, reading about the sacrifices of ancient Israel is a real yawner. But as we approach Thanksgiving, one sacrifice rises from the ashes of antiquity to offer encouragement.

Did You Know There was a Peace Offering for Thanksgiving?

(Photo by Photodune)

In the days of ancient Israel, a special offering, different from the ones required for sin, allowed a person to give God thanks for something the Lord had done.

Rituals are apparently irrational acts which become rational when their significance is explained. —Northrop Frye

Hidden behind the veil of ritual and strangeness are principles of timeless value for your life.

Why God Connects Your Physical Needs to Your Spiritual Life

The superscription of Psalm 63 notes how David prayed the psalm in the wilderness of Judah, either while fleeing from King Saul or, later, from David’s rebel son Absalom.

Why God Connects Your Physical Needs to Your Spiritual Life

(Photo: Sunset over the Judean Wilderness. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

My soul thirsts for You, my flesh yearns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. —Psalm 63:1

The “dry and weary land” that David described also described his own weariness, and the lack of water around him served to surface an even deeper thirst.

At the height of his emotional and physical distress, David sought refuge in his spiritual life. He yearned for God.

Our physical needs are connected to our spiritual lives for that very reason.

Vanishing Grace

Vanishing Grace: What Ever Happened to the Good News? (Zondervan, 2014)

Reading Yancey’s book, Vanishing Grace, took me back 20 years when I read his excellent volume, What’s So Amazing about Grace? At the time, the book held its place in my life as one of the best books I’d ever read.

As I read this new volume, it struck me as tackling a similar thrust: we live in a world thirsty for God’s grace and Christians often throw salt on the wound rather than live as dispensers of grace.

Give Your Pastor the Gift of Bible Lands

Your pastor likely has never seen the places he preaches about each week: the holy city of Jerusalem, the waves on the Sea of Galilee, the rocky slopes of the Judean wilderness. You can change that.

Jerusalem from east

(Photo: Jerusalem from east. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

To your pastor, these places may be mere words on the pages of his Bible—places he’s experienced only in his mind’s eye through pictures, Bible atlases, and travel videos.

Your pastor’s seminary gave him the biblical languages. But YOU can give him the Bible lands.

It’s easier than you think. Here’s how.