Dear Daughter,

I’m always with you: even in the midst of your hurting.

Love, Dad

Just a month ago I found this promise from God to be very real, and very true as Craig and I co-lead the memorial service for my late-mother Laura Ashley. I know this may not be the easiest thing to read or talk about. Yet, I think it is something that’s incredibly important to discuss. It’s easy to assume that since God is for us everything should always go our way. That we will never have to endure hard times. However, that is not always the case and is not what we see in the Bible. For example, we can look at Paul and Silas imprisoned in Acts 16, clearly not the ideal circumstance. Yet through their “suffering”, they discover something so powerful that would shape the way they lived indefinitely. They discovered the power of praise! Once more, we see the result of their praise as the means for their break through. You see the idea that we must be solely sorrowful in our sufferings is actually a myth. There are still so many things to be thankful for and so many things to sing out and praise God about. Now, please hear me, I’m not saying that we need to fake it ‘til we make it, or hide our true feelings. Ecclesiastes clearly points out that there is without a doubt a time for weeping, and it’s important to be honest with God and others about our emotions. Yet, I do believe that we have a hope and a joy that resides within us that even our circumstances can’t deprive us from. When we choose to press in and praise God, something groundbreaking and miraculous takes place just like the story with Paul and Silas. Doors of opportunity will fly open and chains of oppression will fall off supernaturally. So take heart, you are blessed in your suffering, and just like I experienced first hand with the loss of my mom; you will find so much comfort and (believe it or not) joy when you press into Him with praise!

“But even if you should suffer…you are blessed. “

1 Peter 3:14

pic via @tomcatcolee