Hope and Encouragement!

Aug 22 rainbowThis is the sign of the covenant which I make between Me and you,
and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:
I set My rainbow in the cloud,
and it shall be for the sign of the covenant
between Me and the earth.

It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud;
and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you
and every living creature of all flesh;
the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh.
–Genesis 9:12-15

[Rainbow: A phenomenon that is caused by reflection of LIGHT (Wikipedia); “appears in the sky when the sun shines through rain” (Webster’s Dictionary)]

I’ve heard it too many times to ignore it
It’s something that I’m supposed to be
Some day we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers, and me
—from Rainbow Connection (the Muppets theme)

He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven.
–Psalm 107:29-30

“Stop telling God how big your storm is. Instead, tell the storm how big your God is!”
—me, posted online the day before I got engaged (after a long wait for that proposal, which was out of the blue)

Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. 
Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, 
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
–Psalm 126:5-6

“True faith is trusting God, even in the darkness. Greater faith is trusting that the darkness is just a tiny, black speck in the beautiful masterpiece He’s painting.”
— a friend

There I will give her back her vineyards,
and will make the valley of trouble
a door of hope.

–Hosea 2:15

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”
— C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces

“Anytime you feel powerless, out of control, devastated, inconsolable, or lost, cry out to Jesus. Say His name, over and over again if you have to. There is power and protection in the Lord’s name.”
—Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;

and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
–Isaiah 43:1-2

“While other worldviews lead us to sit in the midst of life’s joys, foreseeing the coming sorrows, Christianity empowers its people to sit in the midst of this world’s sorrows, tasting the coming joy.”
—  Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

“If a mother is mourning not for what she has lost but for what her dead child has lost, it is a comfort to believe that the child has not lost the end for which it was created. And it is a comfort to believe that she herself, in losing her chief or only natural happiness, has not lost a greater thing, that she may still hope to ‘glorify God and enjoy Him forever.’ A comfort to the God-aimed, eternal spirit within her. But not to her motherhood. The specifically maternal happiness must be written off. Never, in any place or time, will she have her son on her knees, or bathe him, or tell him a story, or plan for his future, or see her grandchild.”
— C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

Weeping may last through the night,
but joy comes with the morning.
—Psalm 30:5

“Either we ask the negative: ‘Why did this have to happen to me?’ or we choose the positive: ‘How has this resulted for some benefit God had in mind?’ Just as it says in Genesis 50:20 — You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good. The Lord is a master at taking our turmoil and revealing the best possible solution to us. 1 Peter 5:6-7 — Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety upon Him because He cares for you.
—Charles Swindoll, Laugh Again

“Through various scenes of life, God has sustained me. May He ever be my unfailing friend; may His love cherish my soul; may my heart with gratitude acknowledge His goodness; and may my desires be to Him and to the remembrance of His name…”
–Oliver Wolcott, American founding father

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
And saves the crushed in spirit.
-Psalm 34:18

“Your real, new self…will not come as long as you are looking for it. It will come when you are looking for Him. Does that sound strange?….The principle runs through all life from top to bottom: Give up yourself, and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favorite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end submit with every fiber of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

But Jesus looked at them and said,
“With man this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.
–Matthew 19:26

“You’re not crazy. You’re not a failure. You’re just trying to do something that matters.”
―Hugh Macleod, cartoonist

Morning by morning I wake up to find
The power and comfort of God’s hand in mine
Season by season I watch Him, amazed
In awe of the mystery of His perfect ways
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.
I can’t remember a trial or a pain
He did not recycle to bring me gain
I can’t remember one single regret
In serving God only, and trusting His hand
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful to me.
This is my anthem, this is my song
The theme of the stories I’ve heard for so long
God has been faithful, He will be again
His loving compassion, it knows no end
All I have need of, His hand will provide
He’s always been faithful, He’s always been faithful
He’s always been faithful to me.
— singer Sara Groves

“Don’t give up the fight. God’s designs are to bring a surprising verse into your heart in a surprising moment in a surprising situation and do a surprising work of transformation.”
— anonymous

“When I try to do God’s job for Him — the more I try, the more I think through how to fix my problem, the more unglued I become. I was not meant to control everything. I’m not even meant to figure it all out. Sometimes refusing to come unglued in the moment is the only way to prove to myself that it is possible to have a different kind of reaction.
—Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued (paraphrased)

And after you have suffered a little while,
the God of all grace,
who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ,
will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
–1 Peter 5:10

“Getting over it so soon? But the words are ambiguous. To say the patient is getting over it after an operation for appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg off is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. Presently he’ll get back his strength and be able to stump about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump all his life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be simply written off. Duties too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall presently be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.”
— C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD,
Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me with all your heart.
– Jeremiah 29:11-13

“But resurrection is not just consolation — it is restoration. We get it all back — the love, the loved ones, the goods, the beauties of this life — but in new, unimaginable degrees of glory and joy and strength.”
— Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
– John 1:5

When people believe in boundaries, they become part of them.
―Don Cherry, jazz mucisian

“Trust God, and do the next thing.” — Dawn King, AboveRubies.org

“Don’t squander joy. We can’t prepare for tragedy and loss. When we turn every opportunity to feel joy into a test drive for despair, we actually diminish our resilience. Yes, softening into joy is uncomfortable. Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s vulnerable. But every time we allow ourselves to lean into joy and give in to those moments, we build resilience and we cultivate hope. The joy becomes part of who we are, and when bad things happen — and they do happen — we are stronger.”
— Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

“I must remember…coveting chokes the joy out of me. It makes me feel empty. And that feeling settles in where unmet desires restlessly wait — and it triggers me coming unglued in the right moment. Too often I let comparisons and the anxiety they create negatively affect my relationships, my mood, and my confidence to pursue my dreams. Comparison steals celebration. And a life void of celebration is a life empty.”
—Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued (paraphrased)

Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
–Psalm 34:19

“‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.'”
― C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

“Christianity teaches that, contra fatalism, suffering is overwhelming; contra Buddhism, suffering is real; contra karma, suffering is often unfair; but contra secularism, suffering is meaningful. There is a purpose to it, and if faced rightly, it can drive us like a nail deep into the love of God and into more stability and spiritual power than you can imagine.”
— Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
My soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
When I was being made in secret,
Intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
In your book were written, every one of them,
The days that were formed for me,
When as yet there was none of them.
–Psalm 139:13-16

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

“Jesus lost all his glory so that we could be clothed in it. He was shut out so we could get access. He was bound, nailed, so that we could be free. He was cast out so we could approach. And Jesus took away the only kind of suffering that can really destroy you: that is being cast away from God. He took so that now all suffering that comes into your life will only make you great. A lump of coal under pressure becomes a diamond. And the suffering of a person in Christ only turns you into somebody gorgeous.”
— Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed
Perplexed, but not in despair;
Persecuted, but not abandoned
Struck down, but not destroyed.
–2 Corinthians 4:8-9

“That’s true to life. Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer.”
— C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed

“The joy of the Lord happens inside the sorrow. It doesn’t come after the sorrow. It doesn’t come after the uncontrollable weeping. The weeping drives you into the joy, it enhances the joy, and then the joy enables you to actually feel your grief without its sinking you.”
— Tim Keller, Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering

Do not fear, for I am with you;
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,

Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any senseWhat on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

And to think, when his little eyes opened, the first thing he saw was the face of Jesus.
– Etsy art

“Mommy, please don’t cry.
A beautiful angel carried me here!
I met Jesus today, Mommy!
He cradled me in His big, strong arms.
He made me feel so happy inside…”
–Linda Deymaz, Mommy Please Don’t Cry: There Are No Tears in Heaven

Do not be afraid.
Stand firm and you will see
the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.
The Lord will fight for you,
You need only be still.
–Exodus 14:13-14

“A miscarriage is a natural and common event. All told, probably more women have lost a child from this world than haven’t. Most don’t mention it, and they go on from day to day as if it hadn’t happened, so people imagine a woman in this situation never really knew or loved what she had.
But ask her sometime: how old would your child be now? And she’ll know.
― Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted…”
― C.S. Lewis, The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume 3: Narnia, Cambridge, and Joy, 1950-1963

“Joy is a choice. It is a matter of attitude that stems from one’s own confidence in God — that He is at work, that He is in full control, that He is in the midst of whatever has happened, is happening, or will happen. Either we fix our minds on that and determine to laugh again, or we wail our way through life.”
―Charles Swindoll, Laugh Again

So we do not lose heart.
Though our outer self is wasting away,
our inner self is being renewed day by day.
–2 Corinthians 4:16

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When you don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His heart.
― singer Babbie Mason

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.
Look full in His wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
―Helen H. Lemmel

“God isn’t scanning the horizon looking for superwomen. He is actively looking for those who will believe and trust Him to do what is humanly impossible…just like [He did] with Esther.”
―Darlene Wilkinson, The Prayer of Jabez for Women

“Faith isn’t really faith
until circumstance gives us every reason to doubt,
but we choose instead to believe.”
―anonymous

“Stop discrediting yourself for everything you aren’t. Start giving yourself credit for everything that you are.”
―Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

“Own your thoughts. Don’t let them own you. Ground yourself in the reality that you trust God. I have a choice to have destructive thoughts or constructive thoughts, with everything that happens to me, every minute of every day. I can wallow in what’s wrong and make things worse, or I can ask God for a better perspective, to help me see good in something even when I don’t feel it is good. Acting out of control or worrying about something only adds to my troubles. I can’t just say or even think this new thought pattern, though — I have to believe it. And in order to believe it, I have to settle a matter of trust in my heart. Can I trust God and believe that He is working out something good even from things that seem no good, or even horrible?”
―Lysa TerKeurst, Unglued (paraphrased)

“Do not worry about the douche bags. It’s hard enough worrying about the nice people.”
―Hugh Macleod, cartoonist

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
―Japanese proverb

“Our tendency in the midst of suffering is to turn on God. To get angry and bitter and shake our fist at the sky and say, ‘God, you don’t know what it’s like! You don’t understand! You have no idea what I’m going through. You don’t have a clue how much this hurts.’ The cross is God’s way of taking away all of our accusations, excuses, and arguments. The cross is God taking on flesh and blood and saying, ‘Me too.'”
―Rob Bell, pastor

“Suffering in the path of Christian obedience, with joy, is the clearest display of the worth of God in our lives. Therefore, faith-filled suffering is essential in this world for the most intense, authentic worship. When we are most satisfied with God in suffering, he will be most glorified in us in worship.”
―John Piper, Tested by Fire

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