Please Don’t Reject Hope

6294765917_27edd90858_zExodus chapter 6 in the Bible discusses God’s plan to liberate the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt. He laid out the specifics to Moses and Moses then delivered the plan to the people. Their response is depressing: “So Moses told the people of Israel what the Lord had said, but they refused to listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the brutality of their slavery.” (Exodus 6:2) They rejected God’s plan. They had given up on the idea that they would ever be free.

What causes people to reject offers of help and hope? The Exodus passage explains that they refused to listen because they were “discouraged by the brutality of their slavery”. Their bondage had gotten the best of them. Their pain had caused them to give up. When people hurt badly enough, they can be tempted to reject hope. This is sad.

As if the pain isn’t bad enough…

God’s plan may now be derailed – if they refuse to believe and participate, things may not turn out the way God had planned. He wants them to participate in the escape process. If they don’t get involved and take action, their slavery will continue.

For sure, their misery would be compounded, without the hope of hope. The human spirit can endure amazing stress, if there is the promise of hope. Without hope, pain can destroy us.

No matter what you are going through today, please don’t reject hope. It may seem like there is no promise of things changing. But there is hope! If you reject hope, your chance of things changing reduces drastically. If you reject hope, your pain will intensify.

There is hope in Christ. Please don’t reject hope.

If you need someone to pray with you, feel free to contact me at or maybe I can help put you in contact with someone locally.

The Fight against Widow Burning

sati-mitul-vyasSati, an ancient Hindu custom practiced in parts of India until 1829, was the focus of William Carey, Christian missionary. In this practice, a recently widowed woman would immolate herself (burn herself alive) on her husband’s funeral pyre.  We are appalled at such a practice.

Carey, a preacher and social reformist battled the ancient custom, seeking respect and fair treatment of these marginalized women. They had no choice in the custom. It was Carey’s relentless 25 year war against Sati which finally led to the famous Edict in 1829 banning widow burning.

A few critics condemned Carey for entangling himself in cultural issues. He was denounced by some Christians for spending time doing anything other than preaching the Gospel. But Carey stood for justice and God’s Word in regard to the treatment of women. Thankfully, he had an impact.

There are issues in our American culture that, in my opinion, scream for our focus, as much as Sati did for Carey. There are societal matters that have become political – but at the root they are basic human justice issues. One such example is abortion.

While some believe that abortion is taboo for public discussion, I believe that a battle must ensue. In the spirit of William Carey, those who believe in justice for all people must begin to speak out and act out on behalf of these marginalized people. Too many babies have been killed and too many mothers have been destroyed. Taking the life of an innocent child may be acceptable in our society, but it is an atrocity that must be addressed – and stopped.

Hopefully, one day, people will hear of our custom of killing babies and be appalled. Hopefully, this atrocity will end.

The problem isn’t those who’ve never heard of Jesus. The problem is those who refuse to tell them.

An age-old theological conundrum is: What happens to the people that die who have never heard the Good News of Jesus?  Does God hold them responsible for something they have not heard? We know that those who reject Jesus will not spend eternity in heaven (Acts 4:12 “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”). But will God send people to hell if they lived in a place where the Gospel has never been preached?

Without diving into a theological debate, we can rest in the fact that God is just and loving. He will do whatever is righteous and fair with these people.

Considering our cultural context, I think there is a more pertinent issue at hand:

The problem isn’t those who’ve never heard of Jesus. The problem is those who refuse to tell them.

I wonder what God will do with those of us who refuse to tell people about Jesus. What about those who are called to go to the parts of the world that have never been reached? What will God do with them (us)?

While we can’t say what God will do with those who have never heard, we should be concerned if He has asked us to tell them, and we refuse to do so.

cross retouched

Our Healing is Not Complete Until we Help Heal Another

images-98In my darkest hour, I received more help from a friend who had previously walked the same road that I was currently on. We were now fraternity brothers. And it somehow made me feel better to know that he got it.  He only said a few things, but they stuck – and made a difference. I have used the words he shared to help others.

If you’ve been through some stuff and made it, share it. The wisdom you gained by surviving can benefit the guy who is coming along behind you. It hurts to hurt alone. Reach out to someone who could use a pick-me-up and tell them how you got through it.

Not only will you help them, you will help you. Our healing is not complete until we help heal another.

If you got through it, you just gotta share it. Don’t hesitate to give what you know.

Jesus does that for us. He is close to you if you are hurting, He’s been there. He knows how you feel and can get you through.

God’s Will has Nothing to Do with My Feelings


We sometimes mistakenly think that God exists for the purpose of making us happy. Be aware, however, our comfort is not God’s priority. While He is not into inflicting pain on His children, we cannot equate our good feelings with His plan.

I was challenged with this thought yesterday when we said goodbye to our 20 month-old granddaughter, as her parents were taking her back to the Guatemalan orphanage that they direct. It hurts to see her go. If I had the power to choose a different plan, I would. Yet we are absolutely convinced that they are within God’s will for them. His will for them results in a broken heart for me and my wife every time they get on that plane.

I can never make the mistake of thinking that because being away from my family hurts, God must be displeased. I think He is very happy, not with our pain, but with our obedience. He hurts when we hurt. He hurt when Jesus died on the cross, but He was pleased with His obedience.

Obviously, the presence of pain is not an indicator that we are within the will of God. We simply must not make ease of living or comfort in our emotions the litmus test for the fulfillment of God’s will for our lives.

If you are right smack dab in the middle of God’s plan for your life, and you are pain-free, congrats! For most of us, it costs a little more.

And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.

I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire—
See in my quiet places, wishes thronging—
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.

Amy Wilson-Carmichael