When It Doesn’t Make Sense

Sudden/unexpected death of a loved one. Death of a child. Diagnosed with a serious illness when you’re doing all the right things. Faithfully and promptly going to work each day only to be handed your last paycheck. Missile strikes commercial jet, killing all crew and passengers aboard. Unarmed teen and robbery suspect in Ferguson, Mo., shot six times, fatally by police officer. When it doesn’t make sense.   man with question marks

This week in particular I’ve repeated the words “this doesn’t make sense” when I learned of the sudden passing of a dear friend. A young person, loved by his wife, family, friends and co-workers, his death seems unfair and leaves us wanting to understand the reasoning behind. We’re simply left to deal with the outcome, best handled on our knees in prayer. Prayers amounting in a few words, cries and groans, simply because there are no words. The one-worded question that resurfaces throughout is “Why?”

I’ve learned that such questions cannot be fully answered with an intellectual answer. God exists and operates beyond our human intellect and comprehension (read the Lord’s three-chapter response to Job’s questions in Job 38-41). Trust that nothing God does is random; He has a plan though we may not understand it on this side. What I do know is that God is sovereign—He’s in control of everything. We have to trust God even when life doesn’t make sense.

The following devotional written by brother-in-Christ Minister Dracy Jenkins is right on time. The encouragement offered in his message brought me some solace and I pray it brings you comfort and peace as well.  God bless you and in prayer.   -Nicole

“Anyone can thank God for the light. Jesus teaches us to thank God for the night. He says to us, ‘You’ll get through this!’  And we will.” – Max Lucado

 

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

Minister Dracy Jenkins, Devotional Writer

1 Corinthians 11:23b-24a- On the night when he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread 24- and gave thanks to God for it. (New Living Translation)

For a long time, I focused on the Last Supper as Jesus shared one last meal with His Disciples and encouraged them for the times to come, when He was to leave them and return to Heaven. However, as we have read many times, Jesus’s words often contain much more than we initially hear and realize.

 

To understand the concept that even though Jesus was about to go through a horrendous ordeal at the hands of His enemies, He demonstrated the importance of giving thanks to our Heavenly Father. While we may not fully know what we will face tomorrow, Jesus did.  And regardless, Jesus knew He needed to continue to praise God and thank Him for all that He had.

 

This is a critical lesson I know I must learn and demonstrate.  I believe we all must learn this to truly demonstrate not only our love for Him, but our gratitude and faith in Him.

 

We are all going through something fearful, unpleasant or not what we wanted or expected.  If you are not right now, unfortunately, that time will come.  No matter when that time comes, giving thanks to God, through it all and for it all, is something that we must learn to do and actually do.

 

Jesus did it, I believe not only because it was part of His character, but to continue to teach those that followed Him, what they and subsequently, we, must do.

 

Giving thanks in the midst of our struggles doesn’t necessarily change the situation, but there are those around us watching, whose hearts and thinking may be encouraged and changed by our actions.  We are witnesses of God’s love, power and grace in all that we say and do.

 

Praise God for His light that is illuminating our lives for His glory.

 

Minister Dracy
After God’s Own Heart Ministries
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.

 

 

Do We Lift Up and Encourage or Tear Down and Destroy?

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

Ana Martinez, Chef and Voices Against the Grain Devotional Writer

My heart sank to hear of actor Robin Williams’s death. This man brought so many of us laughter and joy. It saddens me to know that the happiness he so freely gave was the happiness he in turn so desired. Depression is real and plagues many. The Book of Psalms is filled with desperate pleas for help—and God’s ability to comfort us. We daily look to God to fill our empty spaces—and He does. I know there have been times in my life when I looked to man to fill the void yet man cannot. I began to ask myself how many people are on the brink of giving up.  Many like Williams probably can mask their hurt and pain very well. I know I can.

I remember a time when I was really struggling while on a business trip in Charlotte, N.C. I felt alone, rejected and extremely stressed out. I had to stop by the bank to cash a check. I went through the drive thru and after my transaction was complete the teller sent the money back to me in an envelope. On it she wrote, “It was so nice to see you today Ana. Have a great day.” I almost started to cry because her kind hello was just what I needed at that specific time.  The Lord also sent my fellow writer/friend the next day to take me out to lunch after church.  For me, the fellowship we shared was so uplifting at a very desperate time in my life. I praise God that they were tender to His voice and showed me kindness. How many people do you pass on a daily basis? Do you recognize that some of these people could really be struggling? Maybe a co-worker, boss, bank teller, server, roommate, etc. Are you lifting up and encouraging daily? Or tearing down and destroying? If you are reading this and are struggling yourself I encourage you to hold on dear friend.

God has big plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11), if only you call on His name and surrender all that holds you back from Him, He will show Himself faithful.

Psalm 23: “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want 2- He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3- He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4- Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5- Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6- Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (King James Version)

-Ana

About Ana Martinez

Ana Martinez was born in Michigan. When she was age 4, her parents Pastor Juan and Deborah Martinez founded the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship in Almont, Mich.  Ana grew up in the church and in a humble, loving Christian home.  Her parent’s faithfulness and commitment to ministry for over 27 years has been a testimony to her.  In her youth she was like the prodigal son.  She knows what it means to walk away from your call and to stray from the Word of God.  Her life experiences have taught her that God’s way and His principles are worth upholding.  She is a God-fearing Christian woman determined to do the will of The Lord.  Her heart’s desire is to reach the lost and win souls for the kingdom of heaven by sharing the Good News, according to Matthew 28:19. Ana truly believes people are hurting and need to know that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ.  Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give ye rest.”

Ana has served on the Missionary Field, and has served in and led praise and worship, web design, children’s ministry and youth ministry.  Ana’s most recent initiative is Georgia Peach Ministry, a non-profit she founded that serves widows and orphans.  Ana is also on the board of the Potter’s House Christian Fellowship. Ana is a private chef and has worked with professional athletes over the past five years. She is also an entrepreneur and is part owner in an interior design business, a chef placement business, and is entering into the food product industry.