My Comforter Saw it Coming

by Meredith Kendall

I knew God was up to something when my husband and I both felt it was time to sell our home in order to be ready for our next assignment. But God’s literal handwriting on a wall on March 10, 2018 while driving. I had to hit my brakes so that I would not rear end an 18-wheeler who just happened to be going slow as I turned the corner. “Ready 2 Move” was the slogan on its back doors. One of the three cities printed underneath the slogan was Cape Coral, Florida.

It was more than mere coincidence. We had been earnestly praying for God to give us an answer as to whether we were to move over 12 hours away from our children and grandchildren to Cape Coral to plant a church.

Since moving, things haven’t gone as I planned, so to say I have been at odds with God is an understatement. During one of my episodes, I told Him that if I was going be depressed and lonely, the least He could’ve done was leave me where I had grandchildren and thirty-four years of roots.

Then at the beginning of May, our thirty-six-year-old son-in-law was diagnosed with a form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He went to the doctor thinking he had pneumonia and walked out after hearing “we need to find out what this iPhone sized mass behind your heart and lungs is.”  And his wife, our daughter, is finally pregnant with number three after almost four-years of month after month disappointment.

I started in again with God. “Why am I here? Why did you send me 823 miles away? Why would you keep me away from them? Why?”

When I started to yell, God didn’t apologetically say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t see this coming.” No. He ushered me into His lap, put His loving arms around me and said, “My child, you will see, I promise. I have a plan for this as well.”

I found myself often repeating Romans 8:28, a verse for which I actually have a love-hate relationship. It says that “all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.” And just like God, He didn’t leave me there. He also gave me 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4, a promise that the comfort we receive from Him in our suffering will be something we can someday offer to other fellow-sufferers.

I know that I will come away from this hardship better for it. I will be equipped to offer new wisdom and truth that comes from experiencing adversity. I will know Jesus better than ever before, because my suffering will give me insight into His heart. I will learn to trust God on a deeper level by the necessity of placing my broken heart into His hands.

I choose to trust God through this present affliction. He will be my Comforter and my teacher. He will carry me through the pain. And in the end, it will be worth it all.

I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” Philippians 3:8-10 NASB

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My Comforter Saw it Coming – insight on following God from Meredith Sage Kendall on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

meredith kendallAbout the author: Meredith Sage Kendall, is a change agent, driven by her God-given passion to equip struggling families to achieve their unique God-given potential. As a nationally recognized sales leader, Meredith learned how to build bridges and make connections with the heart of what people need. God called her to co-found Advancing the Gospel which serves those who are often forgotten. Today she uses her giftings to help people understand the root causes of their struggles and find freedom through Christ. Visit her online atwww.meredithsagekendall.com.

The Bull Rider

by Sheri Schofield

It’s rodeo season here in Montana. Crowds flock to the fairgrounds to watch friends and family compete for prizes. The youngest rodeo riders, usually ages 4 to 7, start the contest by riding bucking sheep. They are the “wool riders”. Welcome to Mutton Busting! They hold onto the thick wool for dear life, cheered on by their families. Sometimes they cry when they are bucked off. They run to their mothers, who fold them in their arms and comfort them for a few minutes. Then the child wipes away his tears and rushes over to watch the next wool rider perform.

The rodeo events will gradually increase in danger from calf roping, to steer roping, horse shows, barrel racing, and bronco riding. Finally, the experienced riders head for the bulls. The huge animals snort and stamp their feet, just waiting for that man to drop on top of them. The gate opens. The bulls rush out, thrashing wildly.

This is the bull rider’s greatest test. Atop a horned bull that weighs between 1,500 and 1,900 pounds, the rider must spur this mountain of powerful muscles to make it an even wilder ride! It seems like an eternity as he holds on with only one hand! But in truth, the ride lasts only eight seconds. At the sound of the buzzer, the rider tries to jump off the bull and a clown rushes in to distract the angry beast while the bull rider picks himself up and heads for safety.

Sometimes, life can feel like a rodeo bull ride. We hold on for all we’re worth for what seems like an eternity before we are able to rest! We pass through stress, grief and loss. But it is not forever. It is only for a relatively short time, in view of eternity.

When we first begin to experience difficulties in life, we may be like the children—the wool riders—on sheep. It looks fairly safe from the standpoint of the bleachers. But to the child, it seems impossible! Then the tests increase in difficulty. We grow stronger. Soon, if we learn to stay in the saddle, we may find ourselves on top of the equivalent of a bull in life. Stay strong! Stay in the saddle! The ride is short! The rest is sure for those who trust God. The reward is tremendous!

We do not ride through these difficulties for our own spiritual maturing alone. Paul writes, “He (God) comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” (2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT).

As we grow spiritually from these difficult experiences, we are able to reach out to others and help them through their own anxiety or grief. Sometimes, we simply stand with them, arm across their shoulders, and let them know we care, that we are there for them. Sometimes we share our own sorrows or stress, and tell how God helped us through them. We help others hang onto life and Christ. We give them the gifts of listening and understanding, prayer and comfort – gifts that God has given us in our times of testing.

Are you riding a bull today? Or are you resting from the testing? If you are in the saddle, hold onto Jesus! He will get you through this.

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm.  Ephesians 6:10-13, NLT

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The Bull Rider – insight on spiritual maturity from SheriSchofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Sheri’s new book, The Prince And The Plan, is a beautifully illustrated, interactive picture book, written for children ages 4-8, that helps parents lead their children into a lasting, saving relationship with Jesus. It explains abstract concepts through words and interactive, multi-sensory activities. Useful for children’s ministry as well.

Join the Conversation: Have you been riding a bull lately?