When you or your family members are grieving over one of life’s many losses, where can you turn for hope and help?
God’s Healing for Life’s Losses
On Saturday, September 24, 2016, at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Toledo, Ohio, I will be presenting a seminar on God’s Healing for Life’s Losses. The seminar will run from 9:00-3:00 and the cost is just $15, which includes a copy of the God’s Healing book, session notes, a continental breakfast, snacks, and the full-day seminar.
How to Find Hope When You’re Hurting
The world has all types of methods and models for dealing with grief and loss. But what does the author of life have to say about lasting hope, about resurrection hope, about healing from the heart?
Discover the biblical pathways on the journey to healing hope.
To learn more about the seminar, visit the conference page here. https://www.emmanuelbaptist.com/counselingconference/
To download a brochure, visit the brochure page here. https://www.emmanuelbaptist.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/2015-2016-Healing-Hope-Brochure_New_web.pdf
To register online, visit the registration page here. https://members.emmanuelbaptist.com/default.aspx?page=3422&event=930
A Seminar Appetizer: Hoping When All Hope Seems Lost
When life crushes the dreams we dream, is it possible to hope again?
Yes, but let’s be honest. Hope is hard. As I often say, “when life stinks, our perspective shrinks.”
That’s why biblical hope focuses on an eternal perspective. We can learn to hope again by weaving in another way of looking at life—a way that expands our perspective.
Biblical hope is entrusting myself to God’s larger purposes, good plans, and eternal perspective. I see life with spiritual eyes instead of eyeballs only. I look at suffering, not with rose colored glasses, but with faith eyes, with Cross-eyes, with 20/20 spiritual vision.
Joseph’s Story: “Life Is Bad, But God Is Good”
Recall Joseph’s words to his fearful family in Genesis 50:19-20.
Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.
Joseph uses “intended” both for his brothers’ plans and God’s purposes. The Hebrew word has a very tangible sense of to weave, to plait, to interpenetrate as in the weaving together of fabric to fashion a robe, perhaps even Joseph’s coat of many colors.
The Old Testament also uses the word in a negative, metaphorical sense to suggest a malicious plot, the devising of a cruel scheme. Other times the Jews used “intended” to picture symbolically the creation of some new and beautiful purpose or result through the weaving together of seemingly haphazard, miscellaneous, or malicious events.
“Life is bad,” Joseph admits. “You plotted against me for evil. You intended to spoil or ruin something wonderful.”
“God is good,” Joseph insists. “God wove good out of evil,” choosing a word for “good” that is the superlative of pleasant, beautiful. That is, God intended to create amazing beauty from seemingly worthless ashes for those who grieve (Isaiah 61:3).
Grace Narratives: Weaving Truth into Life
Joseph discovers healing through God’s grace narrative. Further, he offers his brothers tastes of grace.
And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been a famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping. But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So then, it was not you who sent me here, but God. He made me father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household and ruler of all Egypt (Genesis 45:5-8).
Amazing! I hope you caught the words. “To save lives,” “to preserve,” “by a great deliverance.” That’s a grace narrative, a salvation narrative. Had God not preserved a remnant of Abraham’s descendants, then Jesus would never have been born.
Joseph uses his spiritual eyes to see God’s great grace purposes in saving not only Israel and Egypt, but also the entire world.
I hope you also caught Joseph’s repetition. “God sent me.” “God sent me ahead of you.” “It was not you who sent me here, but God.” Joseph sees the smaller story of human scheming for ruin. However, he also perceives that God trumps that smaller scheme with His larger purpose by weaving beauty out of ugly.
Life hurts. Wounds penetrate. Without grace narratives, hopelessness and bitterness flourish. With a grace narrative, hope and forgiveness flow and perspective grows.
Instead of our perspective shrinking, suffering is the exact time when we must listen most closely, when we must lean over to hear the whisper of God.
True, God shouts to us in our pain, but His answers, as with Elijah, often come to us in whispered still small voices amid the thunders of the world.
Join the Conversation
How could you look at your suffering not with rose-colored glasses, but with faith eyes, with Cross-eyes, with 20/20 spiritual vision?