Allow God To Refresh You

Allow God To Refresh You

Allow God To Refresh You

 

In last Monday’s blog I wrote about being refreshed during a recent trip to Billings, Montana. It was the last thing I did before flying out that most deeply affected me. Or, actually it was the second to the last thing.

The last thing I did was have lunch with my host and hostess who were delightful. Dick and Nancy took great care of me throughout the weekend and I enjoyed getting to know them. Our time together at a casual lunch in their home was a reminder that genuine conversation with like-minded people is good for us. They and their passion for God, His ways, and our country refreshed me.

Before lunch we went to church together. Because of my traveling to teach elsewhere, I don’t always get to go to my own church. Even on the road, attending a church service isn’t always possible. But, I greatly value church so I was refreshed. Corporate worship, prayer, and hearing and learning the Word of God is important to me. I hope it is to you.

I was refreshed by what Dick and Nancy’s pastor, Nate Poetzl, taught at Faith Chapel. You can go here and choose the January 28th message to either watch or listen to his message. You’ll enjoy watching because of some diagrams he draws.

He teaches from 1 Thessalonians: 4:1-12, a passage that is about “living in order to please God.” I appreciated his sensitivity and boldness when teaching “that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.”

What Refreshes You?

Truth refreshes me. Boldness refreshes me. Not compromising for comfort refreshes me. Not apologizing for God’s Word refreshes me. Accepting and not rejecting God’s Word refreshes me.

The mature people at Faith Chapel who handled well a hard-hitting message delivered with love and compassion refreshed me. Pastor Nate obviously loves his people. They know it. They trust him. They listened. They learned. They increased my hope.

Something Pastor Nate shared in his introduction was very significant to me. It might be good truth for you to ponder, too. When talking about his sadness and concern that too many of us have separated morality and spirituality, he taught that there’s no Hebrew word from the Old Testament that can be translated “spiritual.” He explained that it wasn’t a necessary word. Back then, everything was spiritual.

Of course, this should still be true. “Of course?” I think “of course” is appropriate there, but sadly many would disagree with me.

Everything was spiritual. Everything is spiritual. Being reminded of this concept when so many people don’t agree refreshed me. Hearing a pastor stand up for truth, like mine does every time he teaches, refreshed me.

Be Refreshed by God and His Word

We know from word studies of “renew,” that God, His Word, and His Spirit renews and refreshes our mind and heart. (e.g., Psalm 51:10, Psalm 103:5, Isaiah 40:31, Lamentations 5:21, Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 4:16, Ephesians 4:17-32, Colossians 3:9-10)

Turn to God when you’re tired, weary, discouraged, overwhelmed, confused, wondering, angry, bitter, broken, prideful, sinning, separated, fearful, rejected, grieving, critical, depressed, experiencing guilt, alone, dysfunctional, suffering, experiencing shame, stressed, hopeless, struggling, addicted, feeling like a failure, worried, angry, bullied, sick, conflicted, lonely, stuck, lying, manipulated, procrastinating, living in rebellion, purposeless, tempted, doubting, …

Allow God to refresh you.

Live in order to please God. Remember, everything is spiritual. Let that refresh you.

How Do You Refresh Yourself?

How Do You Refresh Yourself?

How Do You Refresh Yourself?

 

How do you refresh yourself? Or maybe I need to back up and ask, do you refresh yourself?

Last week I wrote about how we’re refreshing Celebrate Kids in some important ways. It’s all necessary and I’m glad we are doing it. Yet, I was reminded this past weekend that taking care of myself is more important. What about you? Do you take care of yourself? Do you refresh yourself?

Restore

Refresh means “to restore strength.” In addition to yourself, who do you need to be strong for? Maybe playing with your toddlers is emotionally exhausting. You need to be strong for them. Does monitoring older children’s technology use take the wind out of your sail? You need to be strong for them. Is always wondering how your aging parents are doing stressful? You need to be strong for them.

Refresh yourself to restore your strength. On Saturday, my hosts in Billings, Montana, drove me up into the mountains. We saw lots of deer and beautiful sights. Trees of all kinds were covered in snow or partial snow and made a tapestry of green and white as far as my eyes could see. I rested. I was away from my screens. Using my eyes refreshed me with strength for another day. How can you refresh yourself and develop strength?

Replenish

Refresh also means “to restore or maintain by renewing supply; to replenish.” What do you need more of? Contentment, joy, security? Wisdom, healthy perspective, energy? Purpose, optimism, commitment?

Refresh yourself to renew supply. We stopped at two stores on Main Street in Red Lodge. Shopping didn’t necessarily renew me, but the stories my friends and I shared did. I compared the candy store to one in the stockyards of Fort Worth. Nancy and Dick compared it to their friend’s store in Cody, Wyoming. Nancy and I compared stories and pictures of making Christmas cookies last month after she, Donna, and I saw the beautiful candy creations. When I purchased an ornament for my collection, I enjoyed telling them about others I’ve purchased on trips. Stories warmed me. Pictures bonded us. I was renewed with joy, friendship, and hope as we visited. How can you refresh yourself to replenish supplies of what you need?

Renovate

Refresh is a rich word. It also means “to freshen up; to renovate.” Slow down so you can feel and think. What parts of your life need to be renovated? Attitude toward neighbors? Beliefs about our country? Character when you’re at work?

You and I may not need to use a bulldozer to raze our heart or mind. They are not in need of total makeovers. But maybe a renovation is in order.

Refresh yourself to renovate. Sunday morning did this for me. We know, based on Ephesians 4:23, that the mind is renewed with the Word of God. God and His Word also renew the heart. That’s why David wrote in Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

On our own we can’t renovate. We need God. I went to church with my friends before flying to Los Angeles and it was exactly what I needed at the end of a very long week. God’s Word renewed my heart and mind. Come back Wednesday and I’ll share some specifics with you. Maybe God will use my experience to renovate, renew, and restore you.

But, don’t wait for my example. Think of your own times when God’s Word has renovated your heart and mind. Praise Him!

Go To God

Go To God

Go To God

 

I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe God is in control of everything big and small. Though I will admit that I don’t always pray about the things I consider small. I will more often in 2018.

Last Friday I left my brother’s home in the Atlanta, Georgia, area to drive about 12½ hours home to Fort Worth. It was a beautiful morning as I headed south on 85 and then 75 to merge onto 20. This highway would take me west, all the way home.

The sun was behind me and I responded with gratitude in my heart. I remembered that when I drove to Atlanta a month earlier, the sun was in my eyes for the first two hours or so. Do you know what I mean? There was that long, awkward period when the sun was too low for the car’s sun visor to block it. Even with great sunglasses, it’s frustrating and dangerous because you can’t see well?

Remembering the drive that began my Christmas break at Dave’s, I realized I would be approaching Dallas at an awkward sunset time. It would be the same problem, but at the end of the day. Knowing I would be tired after a long day and that the sun can make seeing everything so much harder, I prayed a little prayer. I said something like Father, cloud cover at the end of the day would be a blessing. If you’d choose that as a good gift for me today, I’ll be grateful.

I didn’t think much more about it and just kept driving. At about noon, I talked with Nancy. When she asked about the drive, I mentioned my prayer. I commented that cloud cover certainly wasn’t the most important thing God could do for me, but that it would be a blessing. I quoted Matthew 7:11 – “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!”

Nancy understood.

There’s No Such Thing as a Little Thing

At about 3:00, I stopped to get gas and something to eat. When I walked into the restaurant, the sun was out bright and beautiful. When I walked out 15 minutes later, the entire sky was covered in white fluffy clouds. The sun was completely hidden behind them.

It wasn’t until I was leaving the parking lot that I realized I did not need my sunglasses. I saw the clouds. I was stunned. The clouds! They were everywhere! I know the biggest smile came across my face and I smiled the rest of the way home. I thanked and praised God constantly.

God delighted to give me a good gift. This is His nature. I want to pay more attention to His blessings and I want to know His goodness. I want to expect it and I don’t want to take it for granted. Therefore I will pray more often for the things that seem small to me. This will help me see God in what happens so I further dismiss the idea of coincidences. These prayers will grow my faith. God’s answers will allow me to give Him the glory He is due.

Perhaps you’d like to join me this year. Let’s trust God for the big and the small and let Him know we trust Him by our prayers.

What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

 

What a Day of ThanksLIVING Looks Like

 

My friend, Sue Bohlin, posted a blog last week that I knew I needed to share with you so here it is. You will react, I’m just not sure how. You may be humbled. I’ll be shocked if you’re not. Inspired? Yes. Convicted? Possibly. I definitely was.

Perhaps you read in one of my earlier blogs that “thankfulness” comes from an old Anglo Saxon word, “thinkfulness.” From the day I learned that, I’ve approached gratitude differently.

Sue writes about “thanksliving.” Thinking about living with thanks is always challenging. It was extra challenging to read Sue’s words because she is a survivor of childhood polio and rides a scooter to get around. Yet, she’s thankful. She’s so thankful she leads a life of “thanksliving.” I want to be more like Sue.

****

Guest post by Sue Bohlin

“Always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father . . .” (Ephesians 5:20). That’s a pretty tall order: all the time? for all things? Seriously?

When I was first challenged to obey this scripture, some 44 years ago, I thought that surely it wasn’t translated properly. Or maybe there was a footnote. Or an asterisk. Surely some kind of loophole, right?

Nope. It means just what it says. We can continually give thanks for all things because if God is truly in control, then everything He allows us to experience comes with His permission-and thus He has a plan. For everything He allows. Even if we can’t see it.

It became a way of life for me, and has been a habit for over four decades. With the celebration of Thanksgiving looming, I paid attention to what that long-standing habit sounds like in the course of a day.

[Upon waking] “Oh, it’s morning. Thank You, Lord, that my radio came on at the right time. That means we had uninterrupted electricity all night.” Alternatively, “Oh, it’s morning. Thank You so much for the blessing of being able to sleep till I woke up, with no alarm! What a blessing!”

[Upon turning over in bed] “Lord, thank You so, so much that I can shift position without pain now! Thank you again for the stem cell treatment that made it possible!”

[Upon getting out of bed into my mobility scooter] “Lord, {ouch ouch ouch} I thank You that the pain of moving from the bed to my scooter will dissipate quickly. And thank You again that I have a scooter for getting around.”

[Standing up to transfer from the scooter to the commode] “Owwwwww! But Lord, I thank You for the grab bars to lean on, and thank You for the new tall handicap toilet. It is so much easier to use this than the regular ones everywhere else.”

[Riding to the kitchen] “Lord, thank You for speed and painlessness! I love being the fastest one in the house!”

[Making coffee] “Lord! Bless You for creating coffee! Thank You for caffeine! Thank You for my coffee maker, and half and half, and sweetener. Thank You for mugs. Thank You for Central Market and the wonderful flavored coffees I can get there. Thank You for blessing [our son] Kevin in the coffee world—Lord, order his steps today in Nepal while he’s investigating becoming coffee partners with farmers there, and use him to help fight sex trafficking through coffee instead.”

Sue’s Thanksliving Continues

[Moving to the couch] “Oh Lord, owwwww—thank You that the pain will subside quickly, and thank You for our couch and the table to hold my coffee while I read Your word. Thank You for a Bible in English and the ability to read. Thank You for the Holy Spirit to illumine its meaning to me. Thank You for an online Bible reading program from my church that allows me to join with thousands of people worldwide in reading the same passage and then reading a devotional from one of our members. Thank You for the technology that allows me to affirm the devo writer and share my take on today’s reading.”

[Preparing to take a shower] “Thank You again, Lord, for this magnificent roll—in shower You gave us in the recent renovation to make our house handicap-friendly. Thank You for the grab bars and for the bench seat that lets me sit down. Thank You for the hand-held shower. And for hot water. And for clean hot water! And for 24/7 clean hot water! Thank You for the blessing of being able to take it for granted, but Lord, I don’t want to take it for granted.”

Sue Leaves Her Home

[Getting in the car] “Thank You, Lord, for [our son who lives with us] Curt’s availability to help me get in and out of the car and take care of the scooter. Thank You that the barometric pressure is stable today so my pain level is lower. Thank You that no rain is forecast. Oh, there’s our trash bin at the edge of the driveway; thank You for helping Ray remember to get it out before the garbage truck came by. And thank You for garbage pick-up, Lord! Thank You for people willing to take care of that for us!”

[Driving] “Thank You for paved roads, Lord. And for traffic lights. And for the engineers who set all that up. Thank You that everybody drives on the same side of the street. And thank You for everybody honoring that red lights mean stop and green lights mean go. Thank You that I can read all the road signs and street sights because they’re in English. I remember sounding out the Cyrillic letters in Belarus like a kindergartner, and thank You for helping me do that when I was able to go, but today I’m thankful to be surrounded by English!”

[Arriving at church for Bible study] “Thank You, Lord, for the growing number of friends in ‘Sue’s Scooter Army’ who are trained to help me by getting the scooter out of the car and bringing it to me at the driver’s seat. Thank You for their sweet joy in genuinely being glad to help. Thank You for making my love language acts of service, so it makes me feel so loved!”

[Riding into the church] “Lord, thank You for electricity, and comfort because of the heating and air conditioning. Thank You there’s nobody threatening to arrest or persecute us for coming to church. Thank You for the freedom to study Your word publicly . . . and Lord, today I am so very very grateful for the privilege of teaching Your word to precious women who are so teachable and so appreciative. Thank You for the ramp that allows me to ride my scooter onto the stage. Thank You for the face mic that lets me keep my hands free. Thank You for the lights, and the padded chairs, and the audio system, and for Powerpoint that’s working so everybody can see the slides I prepared. Thank You for the other leaders who helped me do my run through the other day so I could make my lecture even better. Thank You, Lord, for your Holy Spirit to empower me to speak Your truth in Your strength, to Your glory.”

And that takes me to 10:30. That’s what thanksLIVING looks like.

————————

What Do You Think? What Will You Do?

I’m going to pay more attention to the elements of my day and my attitude toward each. Will you join me? Let’s be brave!

———————

Sue Bohlin is a speaker/writer and webmistress for Probe Ministries, a Christian organization that helps people to think biblically. She loves teaching women and laughing, and if those two can be combined, all the better. She also loves speaking for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women’s Clubs) on the topic How to Handle the Things You Hate But Can’t Change, based on her lifelong experience as a polio survivor.

She has a freelance calligraphy business in her home studio; hand lettering was her “Proverbs 31 job” while her children were young. Sue also serves on the board of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered organization that helps people struggling with unwanted homosexuality and the family members of those with same-sex attractions.

Sue never met a cruise ship she didn’t like, especially now that God has provided a travel scooter for getting around any ship! She is happily married to Dr. Ray Bohlin, writer and speaker on faith and science with Probe Ministries, and they have two grown sons. You can follow Sue on Twitter @suebohlin.

Sue first guest-posted for me back in May. You can read that blog about helping teens continue strong in their faith here. She blogs regularly at Bible.org/Engage. You may enjoy following her there.

Thankfulness Comes From Thinkfulness

Thankfulness Comes From Thinkfulness

Thankfulness Comes From Thinkfulness

 

Last Wednesday, on November 1, I suggested that November could be a month of thankfulness rather than be a month with one thanksgiving day. Does that appeal to you?

We would be better off if we become grateful people and not just say we’re thankful. We need to recognize what and who we can be and even should be grateful for. Some people make a list. Some keep a gratitude journal. I think doing something has value. It makes gratitude more concrete and real. This may be especially true for children of all ages.

Thankfulness comes from an old Anglo-Saxon word, “thinkfulness.” As I wrote about it in Screens and Teens, Thinking leads to thanking. I’m not talking about teens who say “thank you” because their dads glare at them. I’m talking about grateful being who we are, not just what we do and say. Gratitude can be a built-in part of our identities. This is what allows us to be thankful “in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). (page 79)

Let’s get our kids thinking about thankfulness. Maybe it would help focus their thoughts if we gave them categories to think about. They could make lists or just process ideas internally and then talk with you. Young children can dictate their answers to you or older siblings. I picture some of you collecting, posting, and talking about many lists! (If you do, I’d love to see pictures.)

Let’s Get Practical

Try these categories. Let me know what you think of to add. Maybe you could put each set of words on a piece of paper, assign each family member a color of pen or pencil, and start writing. If you leave the papers out somewhere, hopefully each of you will stop by often as you think of things to add. Remember to discuss why you’re grateful on the nights when you make time to go through the lists.

You might want to list a few things first on each paper to provide examples. After a few days, help your children who haven’t listed much think more. Discern why they’re hesitant. What don’t they understand about gratitude?

One more comment before I give you the categories. This exercise is very self-focusing. That’s fine because the only people who will be grateful are those who know what they can be grateful for. But, we don’t want this to encourage self-centeredness or pride. You can expand the idea to be more family-centered if you’d like. For instance, you could put each person’s name on a piece of paper and have others list things about that person they’re grateful for. If they’ve already used the categories when thinking about themselves, it should be easier to think of things from the categories for you and their siblings without even listing the categories on the family pieces of paper.

Thinkfulness Categories for Thankfulness

  • attitudes, actions, beliefs
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful for my positive outlook, actions I’ve taken so I will lose weight, and my belief in Christ.
  • people, things
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful for my brother because of his constant support and for a new shelf a friend built for me that is allowing me to have easy access to some of my favorite books. (Look not only at what your children list, but the order in which they list everything. Are many things listed before any people? Or, are the only people they list family members? Have a conversation.)
  • strengths, challenges, interests
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful for my problem-solving abilities. Your children may be surprised to find  “challenges” as a category. It’s so worth thinking about these things with the big picture of life in mind. For instance, I’m grateful for each of my three knee surgeries because God used them to show me I couldn’t do everything myself. I learned to ask for help and to allow people to serve me. People were blessed and I’m a better person. I’m grateful I’m interested in our government, our country’s Christian heritage, and our future as a nation.
  • spiritual self, emotional self, social self, intellectual self, physical self, character self
    • For example, among other things, I’m grateful:
      • Spiritual: the examples of Nehemiah and Esther from God’s Holy Word inspire me.
      • Emotional: it’s been a long time since I was surprised by my quick temper.
      • Social: I love introducing people to others and watching their friendships flourish.
      • Intellectual: I enjoy putting ideas together in new ways.
      • Physical: my back is much better.
      • Character: I’ve become more teachable, especially in regards to what I need to do to lose weight.
  • past, present, future
    • For example, among other things, in my past, I’m grateful that my parents encouraged my brother and me to pursue our musical interests because we still enjoy music today. In the present, I’m grateful for an excellent chiropractor who is staying knowledgeable through many training opportunities. For the future, I’m grateful for opportunities coming up that will allow me (and all of Celebrate Kids) to influence more people. (And, I can’t wait until I can fill everyone in!)

Don’t wait

If you read something that makes sense, don’t wait to implement your ideas. Thanksgiving is a day 17 days away, but we can have a month full of thanksgiving. And starting now will make the day more meaningful than typical. We can celebrate thankfulness this month!

Dr. Kathy doesn’t just have books in her office. In today’s video, she explains why she has an unusual “picture” of an eagle hanging there. Do you know that they regularly fly at 100 miles an hour and can strangle animals four times their weight with their talons? They’re strong animals!
#Kathyism #DrKathyKoch #parenting

How To Help Those In Need

How To Help Those In Need

 

How To Help Those In Need

On Monday, we heard about and then grieved the loss of life in Las Vegas. As of when I’m writing this, 59 people have died and 510 were injured. Of course, everyone there was affected. It’s hard to imagine.

There’s so much on my mind.

We can’t prevent every tragedy, but we can love well. So let’s let people know we care. We love. We like.

Make eye contact. Smile. Ask how they’re doing and care enough to listen to what they say. When people ask us, we can answer their questions.

We can offer comfort. Be present. We can listen. Sympathize. Empathize.

We can share. Talk. Ask. Tell stories.

We can see needs and help before being asked. We can let others help us.

Reach out. We can let others reach in to us.

We can look for the lonely and sit by them. Listen. Talk. Just be present.

We can comfort the hurting by listening. By offering support. Maybe by connecting them to those who can help.

We can “weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15) We don’t need to question or analyze their tears. Just share them.

We can hug and smile.

We can ask “How can I help?” instead of “Can I help?” We can keep asking “How can I help?” until they let us.

We can be careful to not share verses like “God is close to the brokenhearted” (Psalm 34:18) unless we stay close, too. And, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) unless we welcome them to come to us, too.

Finally, in good times and bad, let’s be who we know we can be and let’s do what we can do.

Uniting In Christ

Uniting In Christ

 

Uniting In Christ

Did you read last Monday’s blog, Give The Gift of a Car? In it, I told the beautiful story about friends from a church who decided to give me a car.

I commented that the church is most beautiful when it’s being the church. For example, check out these “one-another” passages that were written to the church:

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)

“Encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (Philippians 2:3-4)

These verses describe my friends well. They are beautiful people from a beautiful church.

In several ways last week, I observed another beautiful scene – the unity of Christ. Like me, do you sometimes grieve denominational differences? I understand them, but I grieve still the same, especially when they become barriers and not just differences. I grieve even more the differences that can exist within one church.

Uniting In Christ

Last Week’s Rally

Last week, my friend Suzanne and I attended a rally in Charlotte, NC, sponsored by Love Life Charlotte held outside the City Hall. www.lovelifecharlotte.com  This pro-life group works to prevent abortion at a large “women’s center” in Charlotte. The center’s director petitioned the city to change the parking laws on their street. If passed, it will mean mobile ultrasound units can’t park there. That will mean missed opportunities to save babies so we were there to remind the mayor and other voted officials that many people in Charlotte value life.

Uniting In Christ

Walking back to our car after the rally and our time in the City Council Chambers, Suzanne and I talked about the crowd. There were men and women. There were children, teens, and adults. Different races were represented. At one point, five pastors representing different denominations linked arms and worshipped together. Prayers were offered by different people. Tears were in our eyes often and it wasn’t just because we were praying that God would save babies. The unity of Christ was precious. It is precious.

Uniting In Christ

Two days later, I spoke at chapel at Charlotte Christian School. www.charlottechristian.com That night I spoke to parents. From their website: The student population of more than 1,083 reflects a geographical, denominational, racial and ethnic diversity. The unity of Christ was compelling. I was impressed with the faculty, staff, and students. Their joy was obvious. The Spirit was active.

Uniting In Christ

God Tells Us

In Ephesians 4:1-7, we read this:

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.”

Psalm 131 is beautiful:

“Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!

It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.”

 

This week, I want to be part of the unity. How about you?

There are two things in Dr. Kathy’s office this week that are often, but not always, there. She uses them to explain the power of God’s call on her life. Her insights may help you figure out why you’re feeling the way you are about what you’re doing.

With God All Things Are Possible

With God All Things Are Possible

With God All Things Are Possible

During and after the effects of Harvey and Irma, people helped people and strangers became neighbors. Good people did good things. God’s people did good things. Of course, this doesn’t diminish the reality of definite heartache.

In addition to noticing the good that people did during hard times, let’s notice the good God did. Yes, there was a tragic loss of life and property. Yet, God is a miracle worker. He was there with people as they faced dire circumstances. He is still there.

As a believer in God and as a believer in the holy Word of God, I know God is good. I choose to believe what the Bible teaches. Even when storms surge, God is good. Still good. Always good.

What if we looked for His goodness more intentionally? Let’s talk about His protection, how much worse things could have been, and all that did not go wrong. Let’s testify that God is strong, wise, and omnipotent. He is almighty and infinite in power.

Sometimes it’s hard to see God’s goodness in the midst of hard times.

Destruction. Fear. Danger.

Sometimes, we don’t take the time to notice. We’re not seeing what He’s doing. We might expect God to show up in one way. But when He doesn’t, we get disappointed and decide He wasn’t there for us. What if we had looked for other evidence?

God might prove His goodness in surprising ways. Listen to stories from friends and colleagues. Help them see God in their story. Enter into conversations with others trying to process all the damage. Let’s help them believe God was not surprised. He is still there.

The following story is one of my favorite examples of God being good in a surprising way that almost wasn’t recognized. There’s no evidence it’s true, but I could see how it could have been. I hope you enjoy it. I also hope it reminds you that God answers our prayers in His ways that are best. Let’s look for Him more in good times and bad. Then, let’s share what we see.

God Works In Mysterious Ways

During World War II, a US marine was separated from his unit on a Pacific island. The fighting had been intense, and in the smoke and the crossfire he had lost touch with his comrades.

Alone in the jungle, he could hear enemy soldiers coming in his direction.

Scrambling for cover, he found his way up a high ridge to several small caves in the rock. Quickly he crawled inside one of the caves. Although safe for the moment, he realized that once the enemy soldiers looking for him swept up the ridge, they would quickly search all the caves and he would be killed.

As he waited, he prayed, “Lord, if it be Your will, please protect me. Whatever Your will is, though, I love You and trust You. Amen.”

After praying, he lay quietly listening to the enemy begin to draw close. He thought, “Well, I guess the Lord isn’t going to help me out of this one.” Then he saw a spider begin to build a web over the front of his cave.

As he watched, listening to the enemy searching for him all the while, the spider layered strand after strand of web across the opening of the cave.

“Hah,” he thought. “What I need is a brick wall and what the Lord has sent me is a spider web. God does have a sense of humor.”

As the enemy drew closer he watched from the darkness of his hideout and could see them searching one cave after another. As they came to his, he got ready to make his last stand. To his amazement, however, after glancing in the direction of his cave, they moved on. Suddenly, he realized that with the spider web over the entrance, his cave looked as if no one had entered for quite a while.

“Lord, forgive me,” prayed the young man. “I had forgotten that in You a spider’s web is stronger than a brick wall.”

We All Forget At Times

We all face times of great trouble. When we do, it is so easy to forget what God can work in our lives, sometimes in the most surprising ways. And remember with God, a mere spider’s web becomes a brick wall of protection.