Tag Archives: suffering

You Can’t Trace God. Yet Trust Him!

Side Of You JoaynnThere are some things that happen to us in life we question that do not have answers. We may never understand why some things happen. Yet will we trust God in spite of unanswered questions.

When we suffer we look for reasons to explain the “what” and “whys” and we ask God” why is this happening to me?” When really, sometimes there are no answers.

We must learn to accept it as such. But oftentimes we will blame God or better yet give the devil too much credit. It is not for us to understand everything that happens in life. Nor is it for us to understand reasons why we suffer. Some things are not meant for us to figure out but keep our faith and trust in God.

There are three things we can be assured of. Sometimes suffering happens and God allows it, in order to shape us, to be used for a special purpose by God for special service to others. Sometimes suffering is an attack by Satan on our lives we may never understand. And sometimes there are no answers to why we suffer. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him (Job 13:15).

Hold on to your faith even when you can’t see God. We can’t trace him. Trust him. Satan will use the very moment of our suffering when we are weak and vulnerable to stir doubt in God and wants to cause us to lose faith in Him. But if we were to ask ourselves these questions, can we ever know.

If we didn’t suffer how then would our faith grow? If we didn’t go through trials whether temporary or enduring, there would be no room for growth. For every attack the enemy attempts on us, the greater our faith should become. When the attack is deeper than we’ve ever seen before, our faith should increase more.

How can we grow if we’re never tested? How can we grow if we never have troubles? How then will we know God if we never go through trials or tribulations? Don’t stagnate your growth. Consider it all joy when trouble comes. Faith produces perseverance. And here’s the good news! We have two choices, (1) we can curse God and give up or (2) we can trust God and draw from his strength to keep going.

God doesn’t make any mistakes. Testing is for a greater purpose. Glory in your suffering. Perseverance helps your faith grow, even in suffering. Remember, when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. “So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” (James 1:3, 4).

No matter what situation you may find yourself in today, declare “Yet will I trust him. God I can’t trace you. I may never understand why things happen as they do because some things are not for me to understand. In spite of, yet will I trust him.”

Be Blessed! – JD

Job 23:8-10 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him. 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” (AMP)

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I Got A New Perspective. I’m Renaming My Valleys Today. God is Taking Me Through The Valley of Blessing!

wpid-img_20150415_153005.jpgThe past three months have been extremely exhausting to the point where I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. I’ve been going through some major things with my health, devastating pain that I cannot even put a name to. Weariness and not remembering things to the point where I haven’t been able to share or think of things to say to bless others about how good my God is. At times, only sharing a simple word or thought to ease my own fears and still be a blessing to someone.

With all that I am going through, I’ve been extremely discouraged. Yet being the person I am, I couldn’t let it stop me. I’m persistent, strong-willed, and determined. I persevered. Every day I kept trying. But today of all days was the last straw. The devil came and tried to steal my joy.

Early in the wee hours of the morning, before my feet hit the ground the enemy pounced on me like a raging storm. Attacking me from the north, south, east, and west. He wouldn’t leave me alone. It was one of the most frustrating mornings I have had in a long time. Nothing was going right. I said, “Oh my goodness!” My world seemed dark, filled with despair and hopelessness. I felt helpless.

I started hearing voices telling me, “You will never reach your destiny. You will never accomplish your dream. You’re failing at just about everything. Look at yourself. Where is your help?” I told him, “You messed with the wrong person today! I refuse to believe the lies you are telling. I’m not listening. I’ve had enough. I rebuke that spirit of failure, defeat, and discouragement”. I immediately got on my knees and prayed to God. I felt better after I talked with God. And although nothing changed immediately, I could sense in my heart God was with me.

As I tried to find strength to begin simple tasks only to feel defeated again or gain motivation to get on track, I couldn’t. I needed God’s strength. I opened my Bible to read the book of Jeremiah, chapter 22. I looked at the first verse and for reasons I cannot explain, something alerted my attention to Joel Osteen’s broadcast I stopped in the middle of listening to the other day because I had to attend one of many doctor appointments I had this week. The message, “The Valley of Blessing”.

I thought, how ironic. Believing it was not a coincidence. I said, “Thank you God.” I needed to hear this! I said to him, God this is why I love you soooo much! You know exactly what I need when I need it. You will send a word that speaks to my situation to guide, encourage, bless, and deliver me from evil that surrounds me. That I may know everything will be all right, even in the valley.

Pastor Osteen had a lot to say and I wish I could put everything here but I can’t so I will share this. He said, “In every valley you’re gaining something. There is a purpose. Nothing happens by accident. Stand still and you will see the victory. Don’t complain about the valley. Have this new perspective. There’s a blessing in the valley.

Perhaps you’re in the valley of sickness and could easily be discouraged (Yes that’s me). It’s only temporary (Glory!). Don’t settle (I won’t). It’s going to turn into a valley of health and strength (Praise the Lord). You may not understand it right now but learn this. “God doesn’t move the valley. He will bless you in it.” No matter the circumstance, He will deliver you in it.

I started reflecting over my life journey and realized what I was missing. Although I may have been in the valley for almost eleven years, I am assured there’s a purpose. If it wasn’t going to turn out for my good, God wouldn’t never have led me to it.

Just because I lost some things including my passion, independence, pride, and dignity, God would restore these things and more back to me. I came to understand I wasn’t dealing with trivial things but with something critical to my destiny. The valley was preparing me for something greater. Glory hallelujah!

I learned my experiences were for my benefit. I gained something that would be instrumental in reaching my destiny. Experience and confidence opened the door to new beginnings. I may have faced challenges that seem insurmountable but what came to me as a surprise, this time the challenge is even bigger. It’s like something I have never experienced before. Thank God! I’m getting closer to my destiny.

When the enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy, I will declare how great my God is. No weapon formed against me shall prosper. I’m more than a conqueror. Trouble don’t last always. This problem did not come to stay. It will come to pass one day. God will show up and show out. He will see me through this. He will fight my battle. I am in the valley of blessing.

God, you gave me a vision. I know this was your plan. Even when I don’t understand why this is happening to me or it doesn’t make sense, I will stand. I served the devil notice today. I told him I’m renaming my valleys today. I’m calling them one by one. Valley of defeat is valley of victory. All the valleys of sickness and disease, I’m renaming it to valley of restoration and health. Valley of death, struggle, and lack, I’m taking my rightful names back. You will be known as the valley of abundance, promotion, increase. I will decrease that God may increase.

I got a new perspective. I will get my passion back. I am victorious. I am triumphant. I will not be discouraged. My breakthrough is on the way. I will stay in the faith. I won’t let nothing stop me. What God has for me is for me!

For anyone who is in the valley this message of hope and inspiration is for you. Rest assured. God will see you through. You may be struggling. Know this, whatever God starts he finishes. Your situation may seem hopeless. It ain’t over until God says it’s over. Don’t be discouraged. When God says it is finished, it’s done. Trust Him. Count it all joy!

Be blessed! –JD

2 Chronicles 20:26-27 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. 27 Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies.” (ESV)

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Thanks to Bishop Thomas’ Powerful Sermon on Sunday, God Led Me into a New Season of Fresh Anointing!

wpid-shared.jpgAfter thinking about how the devil worked my nerves the other day, I woke not feeling well, but excited because I was looking forward to going to church the following Sunday. Then after receiving some disappointing news, my whole attitude changed. I became weary and started complaining to God, again.

Asking him why I was suffering. I didn’t understand what it was I had done to deserve such punishment. I began to look at my circumstances and cried out to God, in response to the things I felt were hindering my faith in Him.

It wasn’t until after I began to confess my own indiscretions and flaws, that I witnessed the power of God. I asked for forgiveness and decided at that moment to give it all to Him. I wouldn’t complain. I made a declaration to get to church somehow, some way. I started making phone calls expecting miracles and blessings. God sent an angel. I made it and found myself in the house of the Lord. I was overjoyed. It was such a blessing.

Bishop Alexis Thomas preached a mighty word about the trees. His sermon came from the book of Genesis 2:16-17 and was titled, “Look At All These Trees.” He said, “Stop grumbling, murmuring, complaining, and thank God for all the trees. You may not live in the house you want, or have the job you want, or drive the car of your dreams. Look at all these trees. Trees of health, family, grandchildren, and financial blessings. Thank God for what you do have and stop complaining because of the things you don’t have.” Praise God for the trees.

The next day, I woke and couldn’t get the message out of my head. The sermon spoke to me. It confirmed the very things I heard God say the previous morning. Bishop prophesied. God led me into a new season of fresh anointing. He shifted something in the atmosphere. I couldn’t even explain the feeling.

No matter what the week may have sent me through, it was something about making my way to church to hear a message from the head of the house. And receive a word from the Lord to stir my spirit and change my entire perspective.

The most difficult chapter of our life can be the greatest story told because it’s when we discover God’s purpose. It becomes our testimony. Transformation took place. My mind was renewed. No matter what the enemy tried to do, I was assured nothing would stop what God promised me.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I’m praising and thanking God in advance for the trees. I’m filled with the Holy Spirit. I’m believing God for a miracle. I moved from the complaint window to the claim window, declaring good stuff over my life. Although I may not feel good every day. I’m claiming healing, no matter the strife. I may not have all that I want but I’m mentally, physically, spiritually, and financially blessed. Thank you Jesus.

I’m claiming and naming my blessings. I speak increase, favor, and prosperity. I’m walking in victory. I may be troubled on every side, yet not distressed; perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). I’m glad I didn’t let nothing, not even the devil stop me from getting to church that Sunday morning. It opened my eyes. It put everything in the right perspective. I left with a glimmer of hope. I was thankful.

Thank you Bishop Thomas for Sunday’s powerful sermon. I won’t receive God’s grace in vain. I am a believer. I will not ignore God’s message nor what he is saying. Knowing that everything I do is observed by others, I will live to be an example. I am a minister for God. I will not doubt. I won’t complain. The word shall go forth.

Next week may be the start of a new week, but don’t get weary. Stay in the word. For in due season you shall reap a reward if you faint not (Galatians 6:9). Keep God at the forefront. The enemy will come in like a flood. God will lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 6:9). Stand firm in your convictions. The battle is not yours. It’s the Lord’s. Thank God for the trees. As for me, God has been good to me. I will praise him for planting some good trees around me.

Be blessed! -JD

2 Corinthians 6:1-111 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 3 We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4 Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5 in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6 in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7 in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8 through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9 known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10 sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (NIV)

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They Persecuted Jesus – They Will Also Persecute You

wpid-img_20140723_062114.jpgGod will take care of you. His grace abounds to you. He’s faithful. He will never leave you or forsake you.

The word of God tells us what suffering can do for us. Trials strengthen us. We may suffer along the way. Through Christ, God gives us the victory.

They lied on Jesus. They persecuted him. That didn’t stop him. Jesus died on the cross for us. If God be for us, who can be against us?

People may persecute you. They may even lie on you. Whether you fail or succeed, people still will talk about you. Give them something to talk about. Be the light. Let them see Jesus in you. Shine bright! Jesus said, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:10).

Be blessed! -JD

John 15:20“Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” (ESV)

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Don’t Let Stumbling Blocks Get in Your Way

MP900149038One of the greatest stumbling blocks in our life can be any form of suffering. Be it sickness, jobless, or disease. We all will suffer. Oftentimes it can be of our own doing. That can make us feel our life has been ruined.

Not all suffering is intended by God. We must know the difference and not blame it all on God. We may create it ourselves out of disobedience. That will cause us to sin because we were not obedient.

Suffering is the result of sin that started with man. Genesis tells us how Adam and Eve went against God’s instructions and sinned against Him. They were disobedient.  As a result, sin came from man and woman’s disobedience.

We live in a fallen world. Suffering is to be expected. But the difference is in how you handle it. When stumbling blocks get in your way, don’t let temptation stop you from reaching your destination. Through faith, God can crush temptation.

No matter what form of suffering you may experience. Know that God’s grace is sufficient. God can use it to accomplish a greater good. Have faith. Persevere. Endure.

Be blessed! -JD

Matthew 18:7 “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (NASB)

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Look For God In The Midst Of Your Pain

The Lord is My LightI find that as humans, we all are afflicted with something that will bring pain in some way where we will suffer be it physical, spiritual, or mental, acute, chronic, temporary, permanent, incurable, or curable.

Pain comes in many forms and can be experienced in the loss of a loved one. The effects of grief may cause failure in our ability to overcome. It can come from an injury, an illness, or a health condition where symptoms may never cease. Or from a heart that has been broken into pieces. There’s no getting around it. We are not exempt. However, some of us will give up while going through and hold contempt. Or some of us will persevere and relent, when experiencing a painful event. It’s all in who we know and whose we are. It will depend on our relationship with God.

Much like Jesus, who suffered both physically and spiritually, yet persevered. He still served.  His suffering was nothing in comparison to the price he paid when he carried our sins and died to pay the penalty for them. Yet he served. He didn’t let that stop him from fulfilling God’s plan.

One of my greatest passions is being a voice and advocating for people in pain. Yet one of the hardest challenges I face is being able to lend my efforts as I would like to. Oftentimes, giving up and losing the perseverance to stand. As such what I’ve found as a silent advocate is my message sometimes fall on deaf ears.

I know you’re saying, “It sounds like an oxymoron to be a ‘silent advocate.’” And when I look at it, it does. But what it means is, in my heart I advocate while at the same time my family helps with efforts to lend my voice that sometimes is bare minimum in comparison to what I see in most people who advocate for a cause. This is primarily because of my limitations but I still fight when I can as I can.

Did you know there are 116 million American adults that suffer from chronic pain (June 2011 IOM report), of which I am one of them.

Throughout this particular season in my life, I have encountered some of the strongest people whose plight is acutely worse than mine but I’ve witnessed their drive and tenacity to reach their God-given destiny. They’ve beaten the odds and lived to tell their story. As well as found success in spite of their situation. Sadly, I was not one of those people.

After a 9 ½ year long battle with unresolved pain issues taking its toll on me, I had come to the conclusion that my life was over. At the time, I was ready to begin a new journey after finishing grad school but found my life changed in a matter of a split second. I thought it was shattered because I had hopes and dreams and found myself giving up all because of one dramatic change. The devil is a LIAR! My God reigns!

It was in this instant I woke up to my reality as I said to God, “I know this life is not what you have in mind for me. I know this is not the life you promised would be.” I cried out to him, “Lord I know this season I’m in is only temporary. You know the burdens I carry. I know I am not here to live a substandard life. I know in my heart you have a better plan for my life. I ask that you show me what it is I can do, to make a difference and glorify you.”

I told him, “I know there are people in this world in much worse shape than I, who have stood the test of time. And if they can do it so can I. Use me Lord to do thy will. Not based on my circumstances but because of my circumstances let your will be done.”

As I turned over and mediated on my petition to God, I fell asleep and hours later, woke up with a strange urge to do something beyond my understanding not knowing how it would be accomplished. All I know is God revealed it to me and told me the pity party was over. He said, “The time has come as you asked to be used. Rejoice. This is Good News.”

“Paul tells us that in the future we will become, but until then we must overcome. This means we will experience difficulties that help us grow. We rejoice in suffering not because we like pain or deny its tragedy, but because we know God is using life’s difficulties and Satan’s attacks build our character.”

Romans 5:3-5 “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

That same day I gathered all the strength I could and discussed with my sister the story I later shared with American Pain Foundation (APF) three years ago in submission of my story after completing an advocacy survey. I told my sister that after we submitted my “Share Your Story” God had given me a revelation. I wanted to help people in pain even though I wasn’t sure how it would be accomplished. My sister assured me it could happen with God and family as my source of support.

With the help of my family we took the first step as they helped put together my story “Joy” and submitted it to APF Action Network. A few weeks later I received news that my story had been accepted and would be featured on their Action Network site under Voices of People with Pain. This in turn set the foundation of my advocacy efforts. The story can also be read at http://action.painfoundation.org/site/PageNavigator/Voices_of_Pain

I was overjoyed and excited in spite of strife. God changed my life. He set the foundation for greater things to come even when I had given up and thought I was done. This is where it all started although the organization ceased last year, this is where I still am in my commitment to serve Him, as I advocate for the rights of people in pain. I am still fighting for the proclamation.

And it didn’t stop there. God showed me what great courage and perseverance will do even in times of despair. Approximately two years later I learned APF was holding a campaign called “If I Lived in a World with Less Pain, I Could…” during September Pain Awareness Month. In an effort to secure a first-ever presidential proclamation proclaiming September National Pain Awareness Month, applicants were given the choice to submit a short story or video of what their life would be like if they lived in a world with less pain.

I thought, “This would be the greatest opportunity to share with others my testimony. Not literally, but what I believe we as pain sufferers experience and are afraid to speak. So, I immediately went to God. I told him “I really want to do this. I really would like to be a voice, in way that would truly make a difference. Please God, I know you’re listening. I ask for discernment and wisdom be it your will that you may guide me to make the right decision that I may fulfill…your purpose.”

I called my sister again and told her what I desired to do but I was waiting on God for confirmation that would lead me in whatever he willed I do. God sent the answer by the time she arrived home and with the help of my family, September 2011 they created this video. I was elated. I only wanted to be a voice. God helped me overcome barriers. In his still voice, he said to me, “This will be your voice.”

The video represented my message to PRESIDENT OBAMA of what MY WORLD WITH LESS PAIN would be like. I felt it was an opportunity to bring national awareness to the “hidden” epidemic of pain (APF) so that those who suffer with pain will have a right to effective care and treatment; because “pain” is not just an individual or local problem.

It is a national healthcare crisis. It does not only affect pain sufferers but it affects families, friends, associates and anyone who is connected to its world. Even though it may not directly affect every individual; the physical, financial and emotional affects can be devastating to the pain sufferer and the families of those who will ultimately suffer. I believed with the help of a nation, we all could make a difference.

Within a matter of weeks, again to my surprise, APF chose my video the second week of the campaign and featured it on their Facebook page. I thought, “This is all God.” He is using me in spite of me to help others who suffer so their voices can be heard.

I thanked him over and over again. I know he sent this new journey in spite of my pain. I truly believe this will be the cornerstone of the new road I will travel in this “new” journey of my life. As I become a voice of reason and a voice of hope for many who suffer from pain of any type.

I say all these things to say this: Although it has been a long and hard journey towards the road to recovery, I wanted to shout to the world what God did for me. He set my soul free. I professed all my troubles to God. I spent time in prayer when things seemed hard. I surrendered my will to him. I prayed and asked Him. Much like the same as Jesus said to him, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

I will follow your example Jesus. I will persevere. I will sustain. I will pray to the Father through my trials and pain. He did it for me. He can do it for you too. Here’s my suggestion for you. Tell me what would you do?

What you say? Do you believe Jesus will make a way? Do you believe He will take all your pain away? Do you believe he will set you free? Free from a life of pain, worry, and misery. What do you believe?

Do you believe God orchestrates things with your best interest at heart? I do. His Word I will never depart. For it is this I believe. I will receive all that God has promised me. I will not get weary in well-doing. I will run and not walk. God will give me the desires of my heart.

This is my platform. God gave it to me. I will use it to encourage others to stay strong in spite of me. In spite of the diagnosis, condition, or symptoms that come. We can be the one that God will use to inspire and help someone.

Look for God in the midst of your pain. God doesn’t change. He is the same. Yesterday, today, and forever more; he reigns. We all can make a difference in the lives of others if only we believe! We can change the world if only we continue in our efforts to make a difference. And we can live life to its fullest in support of others when fighting to bring awareness that they may persevere to the next level. Be blessed! –JD

1 Peter 2:21 “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:”

If I Could...I Would

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