Laurie Coombs is a passionate writer and speaker on the issues of forgiveness, redemption, and the hope found in Jesus. She is the author of Letters from My Father’s Murderer: A Journey of Forgiveness, an incredible true story of grace, mercy, and the redemptive power of God. Her story was featured in Billy Graham’s film, Heaven, as well as on many other national and regional radio and television programs. She is a contributor to Zondervan’s NIV Bible for Women and writes at LaurieCoombs.org. Laurie and her husband, Travis, make their home in Nevada along with their three daughters.
Today is another day. A day full of choices. We can gloat in victory or drown in our sorrows in response to the election results, or we can choose to believe in who God is.
Regardless of whether or not your candidate won last night, we can't let individual preference or fear divide us. In a climate of hate or strife, let's choose love. Let's check ourselves continually to ensure that our thoughts and speech build one another up, that what we say and think is honoring to God and to one another. As followers of Christ, it's imperative that we keep ourselves in check to ensure we're promoting unity instead of contributing to the worldly divisiveness we see so much of in our country right now.
It's not about who our president is. It's about who we are as followers of Christ, first and foremost, and who we are as Americans. Christians are ambassadors of reconciliation, not division (2 Corinthians 5). We are the light of this world.
There is so much fear running through the veins of our country right now, and if we have any chance at unity, I believe we need to commit to listening to one another with compassion, without trying to push our own agendas forward. There's a lot of uncertainty, which makes us all squirm, but let's choose faith over fear and choose to believe that God does in fact make all things beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
I pray for each of us to be a beckon of light during this time. For our country to return to God, ask for forgiveness, and be healed. For unity in the church that spreads like gangrene throughout the rest of our society. For everyone who calls him or herself a Christ follower to take hold of proper perspective. To believe, and I mean TRULY believe, and act like Jesus is still on His throne.
Remember, He alone rules the nations (2 Chronicles 20:6, Psalm 22:28). Let's abandon our worldly perspectives in exchange for Truth.
Truths to Remember
"For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations" (Psalm 22:28).
“'O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you...'" (2 Chronicles 20:6).
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid" (John 14:27).
(I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful" (Hebrews 10:23).
"Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment" (Romans 13:1-2).
"Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer" (Romans 12:12).
"First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time" (1 Timothy 1-6).
"...do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).
"Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!" (Psalm 133:1).
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden" (Matthew 5:14).
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect" (Romans 12:2).
1 Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
2 I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.
3 Put not your trust in princes,
in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
on that very day his plans perish.
5 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them,
who keeps faith forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed,
who gives food to the hungry.
The Lord sets the prisoners free;
8 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
9 The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,
but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.
10 The Lord will reign forever,
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
Praise the Lord!
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.
Jesus turned this world on its head. Things people thought they knew crumbled in light of His teaching.
The first are the last.
The greatest is the least.
The rich are the poor.
Life is found in death.
Strength is found in weakness.
Second Corinthians 12:9-10 says, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” You see, our weaknesses do not negate our strength. It's not about ridding ourselves of all our weaknesses, but allowing our weaknesses to become our strength. Allowing God to become our strength.
I still have weaknesses. LOTS and LOTS of weaknesses. And for a while there, I think I was trying to make them go away. I had mistakenly thought I had to be or feel strong in order to accomplish anything significant for the Kingdom of God, but I was wrong.
I've shared bits and pieces of our adoption story with you already, so I won't bore you with more of the details now. But I will say this: I was called to leave my entire world behind, including my wonderfully awesome and amazing husband and two daughters, to take a one way ticket to Africa when I was at my weakest. I felt weak emotionally, physically, and mentally. But what scared me most was that I felt weak spiritually. I can't even begin to tell you how this baffled me. Why, I wondered, in all these years of waiting, does it have to be NOW?
But then I got it.
My time alone in Africa was ridiculously beautiful in so many ways, but it was quite possibly the hardest thing I have ever done. I wrestled like never before. I cried buckets of tears for so many reasons, but through it all, I learned a valuable lesson. It’s okay to be weak. Weakness draws us to our ultimate source of strength. And it is in Him alone that we find true strength.
We were never created to do it all or to be it all but were created to know the One who holds all things together. The One who is ALL.
I came home from Africa broken, elated and blessed beyond words, but broken. And for the first time, I just sat in it. I wasn’t trying to make it go away, and I wasn't scared of it because I think I knew for the first time that I had been broken for a reason. And there I found strength. True strength. I learned I didn’t need to be strong because He was. He is my strength and my shield (Psalm 28:7).
And here's the thing. Our brokenness does not disqualify us from living victoriously and making an impact with our lives. In fact, it's the very thing that qualifies us. It puts us in the race. It gives us a platform to speak into others’ lives. It gives us skin in game. I mean, after all, we can’t make an impact in a broken world without having been broken ourselves, right?
Used to think I could be strong and resilient if I could just conjured up enough strength within myself to overcome whatever life threw at me. To pull myself up by my bootstraps, so to speak. But I don’t believe that anymore. Instead, I believe true resilience and strength comes from knowing God. Knowing His heart toward you, that you are loved beyond measure by the Creator and sustainer of all things. Knowing who God made you to be, that there is a purpose for your life that is beyond your wildest dreams. It comes from a place of healing or working toward that end. A perspective of your past, present, and future that is rooted in Truth. The belief that God has good things planned for your future. And a connection to people who spur you on toward being the person you were created to be.
True strength is rooted and grounded in Jesus. He alone has the strength we need to not only endure the ups and downs of life but to thrive in the midst of them.
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.
I looked up the word resilience a few weeks ago. I was preparing for a speaking engagement I had coming up on the topic, and this is what I found:
noun | re·sil·ience | \ri-ˈzil-yən(t)s\
: the ability to become strong, healthy, or successful again after something bad happens
: the ability of something to return to its original shape after it has been pulled, stretched, pressed, bent, etc.
Resilience is often prized. I'd venture to say that every one of us would like to be resilient. But what if we could be more than resilient?
I must admit I was a bit disappointed with this definition. I had honestly thought resilience was something greater than this. The moment I read this definition, I found myself challenging the notion that we're to become strong again or healthy again or successful again when something bad happens. I began challenging the thought that there's value to returning to our "original shape."
I mean, after all, where's the meaning and purpose of our trials if they don't induce change?
What if, when something bad happens, we were never intended to return to our original shape? What if the very thing we thought would destroy us is the thing intended to strengthen us and allow us to live more fully? To become stronger than ever before?
There was a time when I thought it was not possible to see good come out of my past. But I was proven wrong.
Years after my dad's murder, I sat around a table with some family members telling them all God had done in and through my life, hoping they'd want to receive the same healing I had. I told them about how I had wrestled and wrestled with what had happened to my dad after he died. I told them about all the happy masks I forced myself to put on year after year, and how many years later, I finally reached a point when I was emotionally unable to put on even one more. I told them about the anxiety and depression that ensued and how hopeless I became. I told them about the desperation I felt as the darkness closed in on me but that in that moment the light of God shone into my heart and soul like never before. I told them just how good the good news of the gospel was to me in that moment. That I was saved, plucked from the fire, as I cried out to Jesus. I told them about Anthony, the man who murdered my dad, and how I had forgiven him. And finally, I told them that I was healed, finally healed, because of what Jesus had done in and through me.
They sat, mostly silent as I spoke. Listening.
Then my aunt said, "Laurie I'm glad you've finally come to a good place again."
I didn't have a chance to respond to her before her son said, "No Mom. Laurie isn't saying she's finally come to a good place again. She's saying she's better than she's ever been before. Even before Uncle Rick died. Right?" He looked to me for confirmation.
I nodded my head. That's exactly right, I thought, with tears in my eyes.
He got it.
You see, Jesus had not returned me to my original shape. He had fashioned me altogether different. New.
Over and over again, I have seen Jesus use every bit of my pain. Though I would absolutely love to have my dad in my life right now, I can say with absolute certainty that my pain has made me better. And so will yours, if you allow Jesus to use it.
We need something greater than resilience. Something altogether new.
Any thoughts? Share in the comments.