In Our Trouble

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“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Trouble.  Jesus promises us trouble.  He didn’t say you might have trouble or there is a possibility of having trouble.  He tells us we will have trouble.

His words are recorded at the end of chapter 16 in the gospel of John.  Right smack dab at the end of His teaching to the disciples–which was meant to prepare them for His impending death and resurrection–He tells them what to expect and that it wasn’t going to be easy or comfortable.

He taught them but they really didn’t get it.  He also promised them a gift…the gift of the Holy Spirit.  When they received that gift after His resurrection, they understood and they received power to live as overcomers.

Jesus overcame death through the resurrection.  And His followers will too.  “But take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

But what does all this mean for me today in the here and now?

In my present situation, it means that when the doctor tells me that I will be my husband’s nurse–post bone marrow transplant–and there will be daily infusions to give him in his chest catheter, flushing the 3 lines with saline and heparin, taking his blood pressure, temperature and watching him closely for signs of disease…I tremble!  This is trouble!

And I cry out to God and I overcome my fears, not by bailing out, but by sticking in there with the help of the Holy Spirit.

When I am at my weakest, when I feel helpless and I look at Bob who is even more helpless, this is trouble!

And I cry out to God and somehow I’m uplifted and given strength that I could never muster up myself.

When I say, “I’m not capable for this task.  I’m not a nurse and if I wanted to be a nurse I would have become a nurse,”  and when I fear doing new things and organizing and administering 13 medications, preparing food that Bob can tolerate, keeping the house fit and sanitized for a transplant patient, and transporting him to hospital visits, I miraculously don’t cave under the weight of it.  Humanly, I think I will.  But I don’t

God knows ‘I can’t’ but through Him I can do all things.  Just like Philippians 4:13 promises.

And in the midst of the trouble there’s even moments of repose, quiet and deep peace.

It doesn’t always come easy but it comes.

God is good in the midst of trouble and in our weakness He is strong.  And that’s how we overcome.



(The above photo was taken in our home away from home near the hospital where my husband is being treated.  I have been photographing indoor scenes since I don’t get out in nature much.  My camera is my companion on this journey.  I thought I’d have to give up my photography but how could I?  It’s a gift from God, and all that I photograph are reminders of the small delights and simple pleasures that I have to be thankful for).

And Then He Speaks Peace

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It had been a rough few days.

They were cowering behind locked doors.

They couldn’t wrap their minds around what happened.

Broken hearts.

Trying to comprehend.

But it was incomprehensible.


Afraid to move.

Afraid of the future.

Afraid to hope again.

Then he came.

The one they followed.

Their leader.

He could have said:

  • “Thanks guys.” (sarcastically)
  • “Why did you leave me”
  • “Why did you run?”
  • “Where were you when I needed you?”
  • “After all I’ve done, this is how you treat me?”
  • “Where is your respect?”
  • “When I spoke, were you even listening to me?”

He could have.

But he didn’t.

Instead he said:

“Peace be with you!”

And when we’re afraid.

When we’ve been hurt.

When we feel that we can’t go on.

When life is hard.

When burdens are heavy.

When friends leave.

When family is distant.

When life hurts.

When we don’t understand.

When tragedy strikes.

When illness invades.

When life gets messy.

When hope seems gone.

He comes.

And He speaks to us.

He speaks into our circumstances.

“Peace be with you!”

(Based on John 20:19-23)  To read the story click here ->Peace



When Being Thankful Seems Hard

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If you look back on my last few posts, you’ll discover a pattern.

I’ve woven the word steal into my text a few times.

In the article I wrote for FullFill Magazine I used the word rob–same thing.

My point was to help us realize that nothing can rob our joy or steal our thankfulness.

I mentioned in Don’t Let Them Steal Thanksgiving (part 1) and Don’t Let Them Steal Thanksgiving (part 2) that in the world of advertising and retail–the focus is to get our attention on the next best thing to buy and they zip right past Thanksgiving and into Christmas often before the end of October.

I’m a true fan of Thanksgiving.  It’s a holiday that isn’t surrounded by purchasing gifts and commercialism.

For me Thanksgiving means gathering the family around the table, with a delicious spread of food, conversation, laughter and love.  When I sit back and enjoy the day, all I have to do is look at the people who are sharing it with me and give thanks.

However I realize that for some this whole season, beginning in November through the end of December, is the hardest time of year to make it through.

Recently I spoke to a woman who is contemplating divorce.  She has a fractured family and her pain runs deep.  The Norman Rockwell images of family and home can haunt a person in her circumstances especially at this time of year.

My husband knows a young man who lost his father at the tender age of 15 mo. and struggles in a difficult relationship with his mother.  His feelings of loss and abandonment are real and they intensify starting in mid-November.

Some people are separated from family by miles and can’t make it home.  Some are estranged from family for various reasons.

Those who have lost loved ones, during this season, carry that reminder with them every year while trying to wear a smile.  A loved one’s passing (at anytime of the year) can create a deeper void during the holidays.

I’ve heard people gloss over others’ pain with the trite remark, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle,” as if somehow those words are ointment that can heal a wound.

First of all that statement cannot be found anywhere in the Bible.  This imperfect world sometimes gives us more than we can handle and if we rely on “The God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” theology then the question becomes “how am I going to handle this?”  The emphasis is put on I.  That sort of ointment doesn’t work.

So what works?  The healing ointment of grace and mercy from Jesus–that works.

Jesus Himself told us, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)  He said we would have trouble not that we might have trouble.

His overcoming power is available to help us through any obstacle, hardship or painful situation and that’s something we can always be thankful for.

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When we are weak He is strong.  That’s what 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us.  In other words, when we tell the Lord that WE CAN’T HANDLE IT–whatever IT is–that opens up the connection for His resurrection power to flow.

That’s the key.  It’s how we lean and how we wait during the blackest of days that gets us through them.  Leaning on God, waiting on Him and looking for even the tiniest things to give thanks for restores hope and joy.

If we keep seeking Him through prayer–even when we doubt that he is there–even with our questions–our load becomes lighter, because in the seeking and the waiting we start expecting.

We become expectant for the arrival of an answer, a direction, a change in us, a change in circumstances, and just plain help.  Whatever form it takes, it will come and we start believing that truth while we seek and wait.

Sometimes taking a look back at our lives helps.  Pause for a moment in that place that seemed dark at one time.  It’s good to recall how God took the ashes (adversities) and made something beautiful out of them.  This practice always helps me when I’m in a troubling season, because it reminds me that what He did once He will do again.

In Isaiah 61 He promises a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

So this Thanksgiving I hope that we can all find something that we are thankful for even if it’s just giving thanks that God has seen us through difficult days before and He will do it again.

Written by: Nancy Janiga ©2014