Dear Bruised Reed

Dear Bruised Reed, God’s got you.  Some days may be harder than others, but He’s here for you.  You may stand in need of restoration; that’s okay.  He is able to provide that too.  If peace has moved away from you, He is able to call it back into your life.  If love has sidestepped you, He Himself is love, and has satisfied all the requirements of love, and is able to make it reign in your life again.  He can turn all the hurt and disappointment you are feeling into joy.  Everything may not always work out the way we want it to, but it will work out for our good (Romans 8:28).

Dear Bruised Reed, I’m not promising you there won’t be days of tears and that everything will always be alright for Jesus Himself said in the world you will have trouble (John 16:33).  But, what I can promise you is that when you are God’s child, you can still have hope in the midst of whatever it is you are facing.  You are not forgotten.  He sees everything.  And, you are so incredibly loved through it all.  Restoration is always in His hand for the heart that will turn to Him for healing today.

Dear Bruised Reed, whatever it is, take it to the Lord and let Him in on what’s going on (1 Peter 5:7).  Pour out your heart before our Savior who cares.  He loves you and wants to see you walk in the victory He has secured for your life through our Lord Jesus Christ.  As quick as it is to worry and complain, with the same quickness we can unload the burdens of the heart and be free.

Dear Bruised Reed, trust in His judgment today.  He has never failed a case, and He won’t start now.  Nothing escapes His notice and it is His truth, His will, and His way that will always win out in the end.  Never lose hope in what God can do in your life.  His mercies and compassions fail not (Lamentations 3:22).  We are here today because of God.  We are loved by God.  We are covered by God.  And, God is the one that will see us through when we rest our lives in His grace.

Dear Bruised Reed, Jesus Christ is waiting to be your ultimate source of true peace today (John 16:33).  Turn to Him.  Trust in Him.

“A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.” Isaiah 42:3

But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all; And charged them that they should not make him known: That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.  He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.  A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.  And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Matthew 12:15-21

“Dear Bruised Reed…”

Call for Christians to be added to terror watch list for opposing LGBT abuse of children

By Ethan Huff -December 26, 2019

(Natural News) Former Vice President Joe Biden – who will never be elected president, by the way – has a message for American Christians: If you don’t defect from your faith and embrace leftism, then you’re going to be added to the government’s terror watch list.

This is what Biden promised during a recent CNN “town hall” event as he decried believers in Jesus Christ for opposing the radical LGBTQ agenda.

In Biden’s view, unless you vigorously support the transgender mafia in its effort to “transition” all children into something other than their natural biological sex, then you’re a terrorist who deserves to be marginalized from society, and possibly even shipped off to Guantanamo.

Biden’s antichrist position stems from a suggestion put forth by the radical, far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) hate group, which is pushing for all opposition to the Cult of LGBTQ to be designated as “terrorism,” which under George W. Bush’s “Patriot Act” means that an individual’s constitutional rights are nullified.

Fast food chain Chick-fil-A, by the way, despite having long pandered to Christian evangelicals, is also a supporter of the SPLC, which we previously reported is pushing not just a pro-LGBTQ agenda, but also an anti-white and antichrist agenda.

“What we had before to deal with hate crimes was we had a position in our administration, within both the Department of Justice as well as within Homeland Security, a provision to keep watch on these groups that we know are out there – like terrorist groups, they’re similar,” Biden stated, referring to the “danger” of Christians in American society.

“To be able to follow what they’re doing and follow up on threats that come forward,” Biden went on to contend about how he believes the federal government should be able to spy on Christians, who are “like terrorist groups,” he says. “They’re similar,” he added.”

Joe Biden, the SPLC  want to make Christianity a crime in America, just like it’s a crime in communist China

Biden, just like the SPLC (and apparently Chick-fil-A), is fully onboard with passing the so-called “Equality Act,” which would be better named the Inequality Act due to the fundamental changes it would impose on society.

In essence, the “Equality Act” would grant LGBTQs even more special rights and protections than they’re already receiving as a “protected class” of American society, setting them high above everyone else legally speaking.

With Biden at the helm of our country’s highest office, LGBTQs would be free to accuse anyone they don’t like of committing “hate crimes.” The government, under Biden, would then respond by putting these “haters” on terror watch lists so that they could then be ostracized, persecuted, or worse.

The SPLC has already classified most Christian groups as “hate” groups, and thus “terrorist” groups. Biden would essentially crystallize this classification at the public level so as to make it the law of the land – meaning Christianity would effectively be criminalized under a Biden administration, just like Christianity and other religions are already criminalized in communist China.

Biden is an antichrist, in other words, just like those who run the SPLC, and just like those now in charge at Chick-fil-A. He may not be the antichrist, but he’s certainly embraced the image of such, as have most in Hollywood, the mainstream media, and even many LGBTQ-embracing “churches” that have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, just like Romans 1 warned they would.

“This is just more proof that Democrats hate Christians and the country,” writes Warner Todd Huston for The Washington Sentinel about Creepy Joe’s ominous statements in opposition to Christianity.

Joe Biden calls for Christians to be added to terror watch list for opposing LGBT abuse of children




Fossil Ape Skull Is a Game Ender



A recent poll of college-age Americans showed that the single most convincing science-based argument for evolution is the lineup of supposed ape-like evolutionary ancestors of mankind.1 But epidemic disagreement among researchers over the relevance and position of every thus-far-proposed human ancestor undermines confidence in this fluctuating and fragmented fossil lineup. Creation researcher Marvin Lubenow called it “the fake parade” in his book Bones of Contention.2 A new ape-fossil study adds even more reason to decry this fossil parade as a fake.

Publishing in the journal Nature, a team of experts described a fossil skull that puts both a new face and a contradictory age onto an extinct ape variety previously known only from teeth and bone fragments.The team discovered the fossil in 2016 in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Early on, they recognized it as an australopithecine ape, but after analysis, they assigned it to the species anamensis.

Australopithecus anamensis supposedly evolved into Australopithecus afarensis—the most famous example of which is nicknamed Lucy—which some have asserted became humans. But many evolutionists see no anatomical link between this extinct ape kind and mankind. One zoologist admitted, “They are just apes.”4

Bible-respecting scientists see both Australopith varieties as members of the same created ape kind—now extinct. From this perspective, they would have lived at the same time but perhaps in different places, much like the two chimp varieties on Earth today. The common chimp Pan troglodytes has a wide habitat range, whereas the more rare pygmy chimp (bonobo) Pan paniscus appears to only live south of the Congo river in the Congo basin.

The story of supposedly ancestral A. anamensis evolving into A. Australopithecus was easier to tell back when A. anamensis fossils occurred in rock layers below, and thus before, those of A. australopithecus. But this newly described A. anamensis skull received an evolutionary age that overlaps its supposed descendant by 100,000 years. Lead author of the Nature paper Haile-Selassie told the Max Planck Institute, “This is a game changer in our understanding of human evolution during the Pliocene.”5

Talk about an overstatement. Rather, this is a game-ender for merely the Australopith backstory of one of the many human evolution narratives. The long overlap in evolutionary time erases notions of an ancestor-descendant relationship between these extinct ape varieties, but leaves intact the Genesis-friendly model of variations within kinds.

1. Biddle, D. A., and J. Bergman. 2017. Strategically dismantling the evolutionary idea strongholdsJournal of Creation. 31(1): 116-119.
2. Lubenow, M. 2004. Bones of Contention. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 167.
3. Haile-Selassie, Y. et al. 2019. A 3.8-million-year-old hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia. Nature. Posted on before print, August 28, 2019, accessed September 2, 2019.
4. Lewin, R. 1987. Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 164.
5. A face for Lucy’s ancestor. Max Planck Institute. Posted on August 28, 2019, accessed September 2, 2019.

Stage image: cranium of Australopithecus anamensis
Stage image credit: Copyright © Dale Omori, Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

Dr. Thomas is a Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.

Give Us God

My Open Letter to Pastors

Article by Stephen Witmer
Pastor, Pepperell, Massachusetts

It’s amazing how many things churches don’t need. Churches, for instance, don’t need a full-time pastor. I’ve seen healthy, effective congregations led by energetic bi-vocational pastors. Churches don’t need to own a nice building. I’ve met with Chinese Christians in a rickety home and African pastors in an open-sided pavilion, where the rain drummed so loudly on the metal roof that it was sometimes difficult to hear.

Churches don’t need organs, baptismal tanks, or that little sign on the wall that advertises the hymns that will be sung in the service. Nor do they need drum sets, electric guitars, sound boards, graphics on the front wall, or a website. Dare I say it: they don’t even need to serve coffee.

Churches don’t need administrative support staff or a custodian. They don’t need a nursery or a dynamic children’s ministry. Of course, all these things can be greatly advantageous for the sake of Christ. But all over the world, churches are thriving without them.

What Every Good Church Needs

A healthy, fruitful church, however, cannot do without a few precious things if the people want to be the congregation God wants them to be.

Above all, a church must know and treasure and celebrate and commend the triune God. Without this, a church will cease to be a church in all but name. That’s why, when I recently preached the ordination sermon for a dear friend, I charged him from Ephesians 3, on behalf of our congregation, to be God-centered in his future ministry among us.

“Please give us nothing less than God himself.”

What churches and pastors need more than anything else is a great big vision of a great big God, a God of magnificent love and lavish grace. Ephesians 3:14–21 gives us that kind of vision. So, this can be an exhortation and a prayer not just for one pastor in one congregation, but for every pastor in every church. I’ve written it that way, as a letter from a church to its new pastor.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith — that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Dear Pastor,

We’re glad God has called you to shepherd our congregation. We love you, respect you, and pray for you. We know you’re human just like us. We don’t need you to be a perfect minister, because we’re all ministered to by a perfect God. The apostle Paul’s passionate prayer in Ephesians 3:14–21 for those he shepherded gives expression to some longings we feel for you as you shepherd us, so here are three heartfelt requests for your ministry.

Please Depend on God

As your church family, we’re grateful that you’re a competent person. But we want and need something much more and better than a competent pastor. We need a deeply God-dependent pastor. Paul models this dependence, because these verses are a prayer.

Paul longs for a powerful spiritual work to occur among Christians. How will it happen? He’s certainly working hard for it — he says he’s in prison for the sake of the gospel. Clearly, he’s not lazy or unmotivated. Equally clearly, however, is that his hard work is carried out in dependence upon God. In his prayer, he asks God to do the work he’s longing to see. He asks God because he knows God’s awesome power: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.”

“What churches and pastors need more than anything else is a great big vision of a great big God.”

You will show us your dependence upon God by being a man of prayer, praying for us as Paul prayed for his churches — sensitively, knowledgeably, alertly, specifically, and with utter, urgent dependence. Please don’t run in your own strength. Please don’t counsel us from your own wisdom. Please don’t preach to us your own words. Please don’t love us with your own love. When you visit us in the hospital or lead the funerals of those we lose, please don’t give us your own comfort.

Please trust God to be the source of every good thing in your ministry. Please depend on him.

Please Give Us God

We long for God to be not only the source of your ministry, but its substance. As your church family, we have many needs. We’re sometimes discouraged, sinful, and lonely. We lose our jobs, struggle financially, endure health difficulties, experience problems in our marriages and with our kids. What we need infinitely more than even the most helpful practical advice is a great big, compelling vision of God. Please make it the steady aim of your ministry to give us God.

The aim of Paul’s prayer appears in Ephesians 3:19: “that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” We love that phrase, “the fullness of God,” which refers to the sum of God’s character, person, and glory. Paul prays that Christians (ordinary Christians like us, not extraordinary saints) will be saturated with that — with the wisdom, beauty, justice, mercy, and tenderness of God. That’s Paul’s understanding of Christian maturity.

As a congregation, we long to be mature Christians, not spiritual babies. So, we need you to give us God. Every Sunday (and every day in between those Sundays) we need to hear you herald a great big vision of a great big God. We need you to be God-saturated so that you will convey God to us in in every aspect of your ministry among us: the counseling sessions you lead, the books you recommend, the sermons you preach, the relationships you build. Please give us nothing less than God himself.

Please Yearn for God’s Glory

Finally, in everything you do, in all your prayers, preaching, and leading, please yearn for God’s glory. Paul’s heartbeat is evident in Ephesians 3:20–21:

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Paul’s ultimate aim is making known God’s worth everywhere, for all time (“forever and ever”). As your church family, we need you to treasure God above all things, to long not to make much of yourself but of God, to show God’s worth and make God famous among those who haven’t yet heard of him — and among those of us who have. Please yearn for God’s glory.

In Romans 11:36, Paul writes, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” This expresses the kind of pastor we long for you to be. Please depend on God as the source of your ministry among us (“from him”). Please give us God as the substance of your ministry to us (“through him”). Please yearn for God’s glory as the ultimate goal of your ministry with us (“to him”). As you shepherd us, we will pray these things for you.

Remembering Her Son

Years after Donna Davis’s son was murdered, she’s learned to carry her grief together with her joy in God’s abiding love.


The bell rings and children file into a classroom at a domestic abuse shelter in downtown Philadelphia. Donna Davis greets each kid and marks attendance, checking the list of families staying there. The names change regularly as women come and go from the program.

Once all the students are seated, Donna begins the lesson with a question: “How are you feeling today?” It’s not something they’re used to being asked.

One older kid raises his hand. “Ms. Donna, I’m feeling crazy!”

The Davis family, from left: Brandon, Donna, Shannon, and Clarence.

“OK, alright, let’s talk about that.” Donna listens as the child opens up about missing his father. These kids have little opportunity to explore their emotions so openly. Donna may have only a few days with each one, so she insists on wasting no time in order to have as much of a positive impact in their lives as possible.

A mother herself, Donna empathizes with the women who seek safe haven. Most of them never imagined their lives turning out this way, she says. Even if women won’t leave an abusive relationship for their own sake, they have their children to think about. Donna knows that mothers will go to extreme lengths to keep their kids safe.

But there are times when safety is out of a mother’s control. An act of violence transformed Donna’s own family more than 15 years ago: the day her son Ricky was killed.

In the middle of the night, Brandon Davis lay awake in bed, unable to sleep. It was 2004, only a year after his brother’s murder. Often, amid the turmoil of intense emotions, fear so filled his mind that he could think of little else. What am I going to do without him? he thought. Ricky always knew what to say—he had a way of making everything seem so simple. Brandon would be finishing college soon but felt directionless. Each day, the stress of life increased just enough for Brandon to feel like a twig bending under immense weight. But now he had a sense that the breaking point loomed. Brandon knew Donna was concerned about his emotional state, and he wanted to be the ideal son.

Donna Davis attends a Bible study.

In a fevered prayer, Brandon cried out, “God, if You could just let me see Ricky one last time, somehow … Please, help me.” Though he grew up in church, Brandon had never put much thought into his relationship with Christ. But he cast his whole heart into this prayer.

That night, he had the most lucid dream of his life. In it, Ricky climbed the steps to Brandon’s attic bedroom, as he’d done countless times. Brandon jumped out of bed and ran to his brother, squeezing him like a vise. Ricky laughed and teased his little brother, telling him to knock it off.

“I woke up the next day, and it felt like a thousand pounds lifted off me,” Brandon said. “It was probably the biggest moment I could ever have, because it gave me a newfound energy.” Within months, Brandon started a nonprofit foundation dedicated to assisting young entrepreneurs. To date, he has helped hundreds of young Philadelphians realize their dreams.

Just a few days after Ricky’s funeral, Shannon Davis stormed into the cemetery office. “Where’s his marker? There’s nothing there!”

While her parents Donna and Clarence still reeled from the death of their son, Shannon took it upon herself to tend to her brother’s gravesite. When the woman at the counter asked what was wrong, Shannon pointed out that there was nothing to distinguish Ricky’s grave from the others. The woman handed her a temporary plaque—something to place while waiting for the actual tombstone to come in—but it was blank.

Brandon Davis visits an area where he helps entrepreneurs.

Shannon fumed. She grabbed a marker and wrote out his full name: Clarence Rick Davis III. He would be remembered. She couldn’t let herself imagine a future where people forgot Ricky. Everyone in the neighborhood thought of this outgoing, popular boy as helpful. Though he hadn’t pursue college like his sister, he was gifted with his hands and an extremely knowledgeable mechanic.

With the help of her fiancé Chris, Shannon had taken care of all the funeral arrangements. She also became more heavily involved in the lives of Ricky’s three small children. But it all became too much. Stress fractures emerged in her relationship with Chris, fights erupting with little apparent reason. It would be years before Shannon realized, with the help of a therapist, that she battles bipolar disorder—a condition possibly present since youth but almost certainly inflamed by the loss of her brother.

Shannon remembers the moment she decided to take her own life. Though a dedicated follower of Jesus, she couldn’t find the solace that she’d once experienced in spiritual disciplines. Knowing the stigma attached to suicide, Shannon considered crashing her car in some spectacular way that would be seen as an accident.

As she drove, contemplating the wreck, a song came on the radio: “The Battle Is Not Yours” by Yolanda Adams. In the live version, the artist speaks directly to the audience, reminding them, “There’s no sadness Jesus can’t feel / And there is no sorrow that He cannot heal.” Shannon pulled the car over and began to wail, giving her despair and anger to the Lord.

A view of Philadelphia City Hall down South Broad Street.

When Donna looks back at photos of herself from a year after Ricky’s death, she’s struck by how gaunt she appears: dark circles under her eyes, weight lost from grief—like a zombie on the television show The Walking Dead, she says.

During that time, she would regularly examine the things Ricky left behind. She remembers holding his shirt tight to her face and taking deep breaths, inhaling the scent of her missing son. For a brief flash, he wasn’t absent from the world. But the scent was fading.

Donna found herself with more time on her hands. She’d quit her job eight months after Ricky’s death, on what would have been his 24th birthday. Meaning had been sapped from everything she once cared about. “I was willing myself to die,” Donna says. “I was getting up, doing the bare necessities. In my heart, I just wanted to be wherever he was. I wanted to drift away—not commit suicide, but just drift off.”

When she couldn’t sleep, Donna would go downstairs and turn on the radio. She’d dial through the stations, hoping to find something, anything, to distract her from her thoughts. Then one day, a familiar voice came through the static. It was Charles Stanley.

The Davis family at home, reminiscing together.

Though she was already a longtime listener of In Touch with Dr. Charles Stanley, Donna didn’t immediately expect that his messages could help ease the grief of losing a child to murder. But Dr. Stanley reminded her that God—above anyone else—understands that kind of pain. She thought of God’s Son hanging on a cross, punished for something He didn’t do.

Though Donna didn’t always approve of the company Ricky kept, she felt it was important people knew he wasn’t to blame for his own death. Ricky was shot while being robbed by someone he knew. The guilty party was sentenced to life in prison.

Yet that brought only partial solace. Donna still needed something, and she wasn’t quite sure what. She returned to the notes and letters Ricky had given her throughout the years. Inside a Mother’s Day card, he’d written that he felt inspired to share with her John 16. In the chapter, Jesus comforts His disciples in preparation for His eventual death. Donna had read this message before but without really noticing that detail. Opening her Bible, she was struck by verse 22: “Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you.”

For Donna, it was as if Ricky had sent a message into the future, a word of comfort for just the right moment. Thoughts of Shannon and Brandon and the three grandchildren flooded her heart. They still need me.

Always carrying a burden for children, Donna decided to go back to school at an age when many people are starting to wind down their professional careers. She received a master’s degree in education, then began a teaching job that led to her eventual recruitment for the shelter where she now works. Donna understands that though her grief may never fully recede, there are people in her life, and her city, who can benefit from the love in her heart.

It’s a warm summer Sunday afternoon, and Donna and her husband Clarence prepare their house for a weekly family get-together. Now that the children have grown up and moved out, these gatherings are an opportunity to share what’s happening in their lives. Though he’s been gone 16 years, Ricky increasingly plays a part in the conversation as the Davises heal. Perhaps it’s about the many times he fixed a neighbor’s car. Or when he said he would help his little brother set up a recording studio in the attic because Brandon had aspirations for a music career. Or about how much Ricky adored his young children, the oldest of whom is now heading to college.

Donna sits back and takes it all in. On the wall above them, there’s a large frame bearing dozens of family photos taken throughout the years—snapshots of her marriage to Clarence, the children as toddlers, class pictures. Once it could have been taken as a sign of happier times. But today it’s a testament to resilience, a reminder that God’s love speaks gently to us in our deepest places of grief.

Photography by Ben Rollins

Bible Verses about Prayer & Praying

Linda J. Gilden


Many people say, “I don’t really know how to pray.” But God’s instructions are clear as to how to pray, who to pray for, when to pray, where to pray, and what you should pray for. The Bible gives specific direction for all those things and more. God created man to be in fellowship with Him and daily prayer is important to that relationship.

Bible Verses about How to Pray

Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7,8 NLT

For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. Psalm 66:17 NLT

But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! John 15:7 NLT

Bible Verses about When to Pray

Never stop praying. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 NLT

Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Philippians 1:3 NLT

We always pray for you, and we give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:3 NLT

Bible Verses about Who to Pray For

I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 1 Timothy 2:1 NLT

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16 NLT

But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! Matthew 5:44 NLT

Bible Verses about Where to Pray

But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.Matthew 6:6 NLT

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. 1 Timothy 2:8 NIV

Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray. Mark 1:35 NLT

Bible Verses about What to Pray For

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. Psalm 122:6NIV

If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Matthew 21:22 NIV

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. Romans 8:26 NIV

Copyright 2016 Linda Gilden. Used by permission.

Can God change your life?

God has made it possible for you to know Him and experience an amazing change in your own life. Discover how you can find peace with God. You can also send us your prayer requests.

If God, Then Why?

 Vincent van Gogh, Sorrowing Woman, pencil and paper, 1887

Article By
Kethoser (Aniu) Kevichusa

My wife, Ono, is someone who has been through quite a bit of physical distress and lives with some measure of disability. In one of her old Bibles is a fading scrawl that she made during one of her bouts of illness. It is a quote by Joni Eareckson Tada: “When we learn to lean back in God’s sovereignty, fixing and settling our thoughts on that unshakable, unmovable reality, we can experience inner peace. Our trouble may not change, our pain may not diminish, our loss may not be restored, our problems may not fade with the new dawn. But, the power of those things to harm us is broken as we rest in the fact that God is in control.”(1)

As is well known, Joni Eareckson has lived with unimaginable handicap for the most part of her remarkable life. In the book Indelible Ink, where 22 prominent Christian leaders discuss the one book (apart from the Bible) that has most influenced each of their lives, Joni Eareckson’s pick was Loraine Boettner’s The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination.(2)

The epigraph that Joni Eareckson used for her chapter in Indelible Ink is also from Boettner’s book: “History,” Boettner says, “in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God. His decrees are not successively formed as the emergency arises, but are all parts of one all-comprehending plan, and we should never think of Him suddenly evolving a plan or doing something which He had not thought of before.”(3)

For Boettner, God is in ultimate control of, and has decreed, everything—not just the larger scheme of things, but also the minutest details and the apparent happenchance of our lives, including the mad, the bad, and the sad. It is in knowing and believing this that lies the secret of rest and strength in the midst of life’s vicissitudes. This is the existential implication and practical application that Eareckson draws from Boettner’s work—and, presumably, Ono from Eareckson’s words. Stumbling upon Ono’s scribble of Eareckson’s words has, however, given me a different (not necessarily contrary) perspective on handling pain and suffering—a perspective that Eareckson or Boettner’s words do not exactly state or bear out.(4)

We humans, not least we Christians, often draw a straight, linking line between our lives—our conditions within and our circumstances without—and God. That is why, faced with suffering and misfortune, we are wont to ask: If God is good, why is my health failing? If God is great, why is my wealth flailing? If God is, why am I not?

But: No.

We need to learn to delink our existential realities and circumstantial instabilities from God’s eternal reality and essential stability. Why of course, sooner or later our health will fail; why yes, one time or another our wealth will flounder. We may be distressed when—not if—they do; but we should not be surprised. Indeed, we should expect them to fail: for they are not God. Only God will not fail. Only God is God.

That is why the prophet Habakkuk says:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.(5)

For Habakkuk, the reality and stability of God is conceived wholly apart from our contingencies and variabilities. Preaching on this passage from Habakkuk, George Muller says:

What is it that brought this man of God [Habakkuk] to the decision that though he should lose everything, though he should be reduced to a state of the greatest poverty and difficulty and affliction, yet he would rejoice in Jehovah? What was it that brought him to this? Because the Living God has given Himself to every one of His children, so that whatever they may lose, in regard to the things connected with this life, God remains to them; in other words, their ALL remains to them. They are not, and they never really and truly can be, losers of anything that is worth anything, for God remains.(6)

When all is not, God is—“I AM WHO I AM.” When all is lost, God remains— “I WILL BE WHO I WILL BE.” The LORD, alone, is God. Realizing and remembering this must have helped Habakkuk and Muller. It helped me and my family too during the last few months or so.

Kethoser (Aniu) Kevichusa is a member of the speaking team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Nagaland, India.

(1) Ono is unfortunately unable to recall and pinpoint the book out of which the quote was taken.
(2) Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination in Scott Larsen, ed. Indelible Ink: 22 Prominent Christian Leaders Discuss the Books That Shape Their Faith (Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 2003).
(3) Cited by Eareckson Tada in Larsen, 5.
(4) The perspective I’m developing here is, it seems to me, subtly different from Joni Eareckson or Boettner’s in the following respect: If their emphasis is more on divine sovereignty and ability, mine is more on divine stability and reality; and if their words have a ring of divine fated-ness, I would like to think of mine as more inclined toward divine faithfulness.

“A Slice of Infinity” is aimed at reaching into the culture with words of challenge, truth, and hope. By stirring the imagination and engaging the mind, we want to share the beauty and truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.