Love Divine

Timeline-Of-Napoleon-BonaparteI experienced a rather strange convergence this week:  Napoleon, Ravi Zacharias, and I John.  Huh?  I’ll explain.

First, yesterday my twins were having a discussion in the back seat of our van about . . . Napoleon.  Really?  Yes.  It started with, “Mommy, is Napoleon in heaven?”  The other jumped in, “Of course not!!  He was a horrible man and left his army in Egypt!”  Really?  Yes, he did.

Second, last night I told my husband about the kids’ conversation and he directed me to the following quote about Christ by Napoleon found in Ravi Zacharias’ book Jesus Among Other Gods (p. 149).  I’ll include it in a moment, but for now, on to I John.

Third, this morning during our family devotions we were in I John and discussing love–the love of God for us which leads to our love for others.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiaion for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I John 4:7-11).  It is the love of God that saves us from the penalty and rule of sin.  In Christ, we are now free to sacrificially love as He has loved us.

So, back to Napoleon . . .

After a lifetime of seeking to conquer the world with an iron fist, Napoleon realized that his conquests–and the means of his conquests–were infinitely inferior to Christ’s conquest of humanity through Divine Love.  Napoleon was right, Jesus rules like no other Man for Jesus loves like no other Man.

When exiled on the rock of St. Helena, Napoleon called Count Montholon to his side and asked him, “Can you tell me who Jesus Christ was?” The count declined to answer, and Napoleon responded,

Well then, I will tell you. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and I myself have founded great empires; but upon what did these creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus alone founded His empire upon love, and to this very day millions will die for Him. I think I understand something of human nature; and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man: none else is like Him; Jesus Christ was more than a man. I have inspired multitudes with such an enthusiastic devotion that they would have died for me but to do this it was necessary that I should be visibly present with the electric influence of my looks, my words, of my voice. When I saw men and spoke to them, I lighted up the flame of self-devotion in their hearts. Christ alone has succeeded in so raising the mind of man toward the unseen, that it becomes insensible to the barriers of time and space. Across a chasm of eighteen hundred years, Jesus Christ makes a demand which is beyond all others difficult to satisfy; He asks for that which a philosopher may often seek in vain at the hands of his friends, or a father of his children, or a bride of her spouse, or a man of his brother. He asks for the human heart; He will have it entirely to Himself. He demands it unconditionally; and forthwith His demand is granted. Wonderful! In defiance of time and space, the soul of man, with all its powers and faculties, becomes an annexation to the empire of Christ. All who sincerely believe in Him, experience that remarkable, supernatural love toward Him. This phenomenon is unaccountable; it is altogether beyond the scope of man’s creative powers. Time, the great destroyer, is powerless to extinguish this sacred flame; time can neither exhaust its strength nor put a limit to its range. This is it, which strikes me most; I have often thought of it. This it is which proves to me quite convincingly the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Reread.  Think.  And ponder the love of our Great God.

A Widow, Osteen, and Piper: The Gospel in Focus

telescope-sam-1This morning I shared a cup of tea with an elderly widow from my church.  Later, I caught a few minutes of a Victoria Osteen sermon.  This evening I happened upon a two-minute John Piper video.

The widow told me how she found comfort and purpose in knowing Jesus when her husband suddenly passed away ten years ago.

Victoria Osteen told me that I will find comfort and purpose when I think positive thoughts, say good things, replace what doesn’t work in life with what does work (huh?), be determined in all I do, believe that my miracle is right around the corner, and focus on realizing my hopes and dreams—getting the best in life for me. . . me . . . me.

John Piper told me that “God is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in Him—in the midst of loss, not prosperity.”

The widow and John Piper pointed me to Christ and his glorious Gospel.  Victoria Osteen didn’t.

The widow’s singular, trusting love for her Savior and Piper’s articulate, passionate cry against the false prosperity “gospel” of our day could not have more dramatically highlighted how irrelevant, corrupt, and dangerous Osteen’s message is.  It is irrelevant in that her message has nothing to do with biblical spirituality, corrupt in that it is a complete distortion of the Gospel, and dangerous in that it propogates a self-absorbtion that leads many down the broad road to destruction.

I began my day gleaning from the beautiful and simple life-long faith of a woman who has known the Lord for over seventy years.  Her life has been marked by both suffering and blessing.  She has learned the secret of being content in plenty or in want: “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”  She told me that Jesus is her everything.  She has walked the road of loss and found Him to be her All.

On the other hand, after listening to Osteen, apparently getting the good life is everything.  The focus of her gospel is not Jesus, but rather on self and what one hopes to attain by mixing a bit of “faith” with good ol’ gumption—favorable feelings, possessions, and circumstances.  Where is the Christ to be adored?  Where is the Christ to be served?  Where is the Christ to be worshiped?

Here is the short Piper video I came across this evening.  I won’t try to restate what he communicates so well, but what I will say is this:  Tonight I give thanks for the faithful example of a widow and the poignant words of a preacher that have put the Gospel in proper focus—on Christ—and have spurred me on to love and adore Him all the more.   And tonight, as I lay my head down, I will be asking these questions:  Whom do I love above all else?  Who is the center of my world?  Who is the focus of my faith?  Whom have I in heaven but You?  And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.  My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:25-26)

When Sparrows Fall

sparrow back in handThis past week one of my closest friends sent me a link to a sermon from Matthew 10:28-31, “When Sparrows Fall,” given several months ago by her pastor, Britt Merrick, at Reality Church in Carpenteria, California.  I listened to it alone one night, and then I shared it with my husband a couple days later.  It was such a needed and powerful encouragement to both of us that I want to share it with you, too.

After a leave of absence from the pulpit for ten months, Pastor Merrick shares with his congregation the lessons he learned as his eight-year-old daughter, Daisy, continued to battle cancer.  During his sabbatical from the ministry, Merrick learned that in his darkest hours, the question to ask was not “Why?”, but rather “Who?”  Speaking from experience, but even more importantly speaking from the Word of God, he genuinely and passionately offers the hope and encouragement that is only found in the presence of our heavenly Father. 

Are you in a dark hour?  Are your trials (in the family, work, ministry, or your own heart) so heavy and heartbreaking that you cannot seem to find your way? Remember what Jesus said: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. . . So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Please listen . . . and find Rest for your weary soul.

Discerning Truth from Error

erase_errorsHave you ever read a Christian book, and something about it made you feel uneasy, but you couldn’t tell exactly what the problem was?

Have you ever heard a Christian speaker, and something about her message seemed “off,” but you weren’t sure what was wrong with what she said?

Has a friend or spiritual leader recommended a Christian book, devotional, or bible study, and you want to “check it out” to know if it is truly biblical and spiritually profitable?

How is one to know?  How is one to discern between truth and error among the myriad of Christian resources and media that bombard women in the Church today?

There is no short-cut answer.  We must be women of the Word.  We must not only read, meditate upon, and memorize the Bible.  We must study it.  We must be like the Bereans of old who “received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).  We must heed Paul’s plea with Timothy to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (II Timothy 2:15).  Like a jeweler who is so very familiar with the “real thing” that “fakes” are easily identified, we also must become thoroughly acquainted with Scripture so that error is quickly detected—and denied.

I have found these two items helpful for learning to discern truth from error:

1.  Questions to Help You Discern Truth from Error.  This list of twelve questions written by Nancy Leigh DeMoss draws attention to the most important issues to consider when discerning Christian books and other resources.  It’s a very helpful list to print and keep near your own stack of books or to share with a friend.

2.  The New How to Study Your Bible or Lord, Teach Me to Study the Bible in 28 Days.  If you want to learn how to study the Bible for yourself without taking a seminary course, I highly recommend these two books by Kay Arthur.  Her faithful and accessible Bible study methods will help you gain a thorough understanding of Scripture.  As you prayerfully study Scripture, you will grow in your ability to personally discern truth from error.

If we are His children and are abiding in His Word, we can be confident that God is teaching and sanctifying us.  Jesus prayed for us, “Sanctify them in truth. Your word is truth” (John 17:17).  With His Word and by His Spirit, He is transforming our hearts and minds to reflect His own.

Have you ever experienced a major change of understanding about God or His Word?  What passage(s) of Scripture did He use to teach or transform you?  What was the error you left behind, and what was the truth you found?

In Honor of the Children

Today is the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, a day to mourn the loss of millions of unborn children since 1973.  In their honor, John Piper shares his poetic reflection—and a charge to those who live.

The Person of Peace

peace (1)I have been surprised by the large number of hits on my latest post, “The Gift of Peace.”  It must have struck a chord with many people, maybe because we have been conditioned to expect—often in vain—an abundance of happy memories, hopes, and dreams to accompany the season.  But, peace is not found in memories of the past nor hopes for the future, but in a Person.  In the Prince of Peace.  In Christ alone.  In Immanuel.  In God with us.  In light of this, I want to share with you the following paragraph I read yesterday in my favorite book about the incarnation—God’s Gift of Christmas—in which John MacArthur reflects upon the Prince of Peace of Isaiah 9:6-7:

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders, and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.  There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.  The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

“In Messiah’s kingdom there are no conflicts because He is the Prince of Peace.  He offers peace from God (Romans 1:7) to all who receive His grace.  He makes peace with God (Romans 5:1) for those who surrender to Him in faith.  And He brings the peace of God (Philippians 4:7) to those who walk with Him.  As we hear so often at Christmas, the beginning of His earthly life was heralded by angels who pronounced peace on earth (Luke 2:14).  There never really has been peace on earth in the sense we think of it.  Wars and rumors of wars have characterized the entire two millennia since that first Christmas, as well as all the time before it.  The announcement of peace on earth was a two-pronged proclamation.  First, it declared the arrival of the only One who ultimately can bring lasting peace on earth (which He will do when He returns to bring about the final establishment of His earthly kingdom).  But more importantly, it was a proclamation that God’s peace is available to men and women.  Read the words of Luke 2:14 carefully and note this emphasis: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with WHOM HE IS PLEASED.”  God is pleased with the people who yield their lives to Him.  “The Lord takes pleasure in those who fear Him, in those who hope in His mercy” (Psalm 147:11 NKJV).  When the angels proclaimed peace on earth, they were speaking primarily of a very personal, individual application of God’s peace that grows out of a firsthand knowledge of the Prince of Peace. . . . The prophetic message of Christmas is the good news of God’s answer to all the confusion, chaos, complexities, and conflicts of life.  It is the gift of the newborn infant who is also the Father of all eternity.  He is an innocent child, yet He is a wise Counselor and mighty King.  He is God with us.  Immanuel.”  (MacArthur, God’s Gift of Christmas, pp. 29-31)

Have you found peace in this Person?

The Gift of Peace

christmas-presents1_thumbFifteen years ago this week we lost our first child.  Twelve weeks of morning sickness and multiple tests and ultrasounds told us that someone was there.  Struggling, but there.  Finally, in the doctor’s office on Christmas Eve,  there was a steady heartbeat.  In the same office the morning after New Year’s Day, there was none.

I haven’t thought of our unborn child for some time, but I was reminded today—twice.

This morning in church, along with Christmas carols, we sang a song about restoration—how God turns our mourning into dancing.  As I sang, I thought of how God made those lyrics a reality in my own life this very week a decade and a half ago.  In January 1997 I was struck with unexpected sadness, but I was also strengthened with unexpected grace.  In the midst of our loss, God gave a gift of indescribable peace—a sober joy—to walk that sorrowful road.

This evening I was visiting with a neighbor on her front porch.  The porch light must have caused the gold band I wear on my right fifth finger to sparkle for just a moment.  In the middle of our conversation, it caught her attention, and she complimented the ring.  Nobody ever does that.  The ring is small, simple, and insignificant in design.  I walked through the open door the Lord presented . . .

“Thanks,” I said.  “Would you like me to tell you about this ring?”

“A year before our oldest was born, we lost a baby.  Actually, it happened during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. . . . This ring represents that baby.  It is a reminder to me, my husband, and my children that someone else was here.  It was so hard, but through it all, I had a very special sense of God’s grace.  I knew God loved me, and I knew God loved that child.  And, I also knew that God had a good plan and purpose in all that happened.  The Lord gave me great peace.

Near the end of my explanation, I realized that I was smiling as I spoke.   An authentic, unpretentious smile of healing—of peace.

Such peace is not a result of memories faded by time or positive thinking.  Such peace is only possible through a personal relationship with Jesus—the Savior and the God of all comfort.  The genuine spiritual peace I experienced in the midst of this loss was only possible because of the peace I first had with God through Christ:

“Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we exult in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

1.  “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  The perfect, sinless Jesus made payment for my sin by bearing the wrath of God on the cross in my place.  He arose from the dead proving His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father and displaying His victory over sin and death.

2.  “The grace in which we stand.”  Because of Christ, I am secure as a beloved child of God who continually receives His grace and bountiful gifts in my life.

3.  “We exult in hope of the glory of God.”  Because of Christ, it is an assured expectation that I will experience and enjoy the glory of God forever.

And so, today I am reminded of the Prince of Peace who came to bring His Peace to earth—and to me.  Through faith in Him I am at peace with my Heavenly Father, I experience His grace and help on a daily basis, and I have an eternal hope and perspective amid the sorrows of life.   Apart from Christ, there is no salvation, strength, joy, or ultimate purpose for this life nor the life to come.  But in Him, I receive these gifts—these gifts of peace.  (To learn more about finding peace this Christmas, click HERE.)

“Why New Churches Should Sing Old Songs”

I began my Christian and musical journeys the same year: 1975.  As a little five-year-old, the Lord saved me.  In addition, in His sovereign plan I began piano lessons.  Fast forward 37 years, and you will find a woman still in the hand of her Savior and a musician who recognizes that music is but a tool in her hand with which to honor Him . . . both vocationally and in the church.

Years ago, my husband and I were members of a wonderful congregation in which we sought to open their minds to the value of adding contemporary congregational songs to their regular selection of traditional hymns.  It wasn’t easy.  Today, many of us live in a church culture in which we must stand for just the opposite—reintroducing traditional hymns to the church’s modern repertoire.  This isn’t easy either.

There are Christian composers today who write beautiful songs with sound doctrine that are singable in a congregational context.  I am thankful for those people and the music they produce.  Unfortunately, such composers are few and far between.  And so, although I enjoy various styles of contemporary church music, I do advocate the use of traditional hymns in our churches and believe that they should be sung with greater frequency.

Why?  I have two reasons:

1.  “The hymnal is the layman’s systematic theology,”  said Dr. Jonathan Blackmon (our friend and associate professor of music at Missouri Baptist Univeristy) during one of our conversations on this subject.  How right he is.  Basically speaking, systematic theology is the synthesized study of what the Bible teaches on various topics. Of course, the hymnal is not exhaustive on what the Bible teaches, and you may find a few hymns “off” theologically. But, the point is that within a basic hymnal you will find expressions on the doctrine of God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, Scripture, sin, salvation, the church, evangelism, the Christian life, death, end times, and eternity.  Contemporary Christian church music as a whole simply does not hold a candle to the breadth of biblical truth that the hymns convey.  Music is a powerful means of education and memorization.  And so, if we want the Truth poured from our pulpits to steep long and well in the minds, hearts, and lives of our church members, then stir it vigorously with the hymns . . . over and over and over. 

2.  Modern Christians can receive priceless wisdom from their Christian heritage.  It is sad that most modern Christians have little or no knowledge of their brothers and sisters who have walked before them, nor of the encouragement, exhortation, and instruction that they have to give us today.  We are people with a history.  We are a people with a God who did not cease dealing with mankind when the canon closed and then became active again at the moment of the latest church plant or revival.  God has taught and applied the wisdom of His Word throughout the centuries to the lives of believers just like us.  They thoughtfully penned their lessons learned and set them to music so that the ultimate Truth would be repeatedly proclaimed and praised—by their own voices, by their contemporaries, and now by us.  And we say that is irrelevant?  Oh, no.  God’s Word expressed with such care and craft is never irrelevant.  

There’s one more thing I want to mention, especially if you are a church musician.  (And I’m speaking as a contemporary musician myself.)  Just like St. Paul’s Cathedral in London doesn’t need me to hold it up, most hymns don’t need you to musically hold them up, either.  Don’t rearrange hymns so that they become unrecognizable.  Leave the melodies alone—tell your vocalists to sing it like it is.  Leave the lyrics alone—quit adding new, flippant refrains and tags.  And when you rearrange a hymn in a contemporary style, honestly consider whether or not you are enhancing the mood and message of the lyrics.  I know it can be done well, but first ask yourself,  “After singing this hymn, what will be more memorable: the arrangement or its words?”  You will be pleasantly surprised how powerfully your congregation sings a great hymn of the faith when simply accompanied by acoustic piano or guitar.  Give them the musical space to sing boldly.  Listen.  Listen to your people sing.

Well, the name of this blogpost is in quotations because I wrote this post to introduce you to another with this title by Stephen Miller at The Gospel Coalition.  Enjoy . . .

“A B C D E F G

H  I  J  K  LMNOP . . .

You’re singing along, aren’t you? This catchy melody was responsible for teaching you one of the most foundational facts you ever learned.

That’s the way music works. It teaches. It forms us.

We don’t need scientific studies to know that music and melody fuses truth into our memories and intellects. We can all observe how melody infuses meaning, emotions, affections, and experiences into words. It takes lyrics to new heights and depths that they couldn’t go on their own.

As a church musician, I’m not trying to downplay the formative importance of preaching. But I couldn’t tell you the take-home point of two sermons I heard growing up, no matter how clever the preacher’s alliteration. But I still sing “Holy Holy Holy” word for word. I know “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” by heart. “The Solid Rock” is an ever-present companion for me in difficult times. Those songs have given me a vocabulary to express myself. I have learned the truth of God in a way that will stay with me for a lifetime. . . “

To read the rest of this blogpost by Stephen Miller, click here:  Why New Churches Should Sing Old Songs.

God in the City: Jonah 3 & 4

A few years ago, we were members of an inner-city church in Louisville, Kentucky.  Dilapidated buildings, homes with barred windows, unkept yards, and cracked sidewalks lined the two-lane streets.  The clouds of poverty, drugs, and prostitution hung over the neighborhood, but the Light of the Gospel shone gloriously from Immanuel Baptist Church at the corner of Oak and Clay.   Physical needs within that Louisville community were apparent with even the most casual glance, and the spiritual needs were quite easy to identify. Mercy mixed with Truth poured from the congregation into many homes in the surrounding city blocks, and the Balm began making the old new.

Today, my family lives in a much different place.  In this Houston suburb, our street medians are perfectly manicured with beautiful trees and brightly-colored flowers, community pools boast sand beaches and three-story water slides, few vehicles heading to the boutique shops and full-service grocery stores were built prior to this decade, and first-graders are decked in the latest fashions.  Physical needs are neatly tucked away in resort-style retirement homes and in older neighborhoods on the other side of the highway.

What about the spiritual needs?  They’re here, too.  But they are harder to see behind the stylish sunglasses, professionally landscaped yards, and lead-glass front doors.  I remember driving into this community on a sunny September day when we moved into our home.  I looked at the many affluent neighborhoods we passed, and it felt strange.  It felt fake.  I looked at my children in the rear view mirror and told them something I never want them to forget.  “Honeys, you see all of these large, beautiful homes?  Inside every single one there are people hurting.  There is pain.  There are idols.  There is sin.  Everything looks so good here; everything looks okay, but it’s not.  The people here need Jesus and His salvation, just like they do everywhere else.”

God is the one true God in the city, in the suburbs, and in the rural areas less than an hour drive from here.  Jonah had to learn that God was not only God in Israel; He was also God in Ninevah.  God commanded Jonah a second time to proclaim His message of judgment to Ninevah:  if the city did not repent, it would be overthrown.  By now Jonah knew he couldn’t run the other way, and so he obeyed.  The Ninevites, led by their king, put on sackcloth, fasted, earnestly called upon God, and turned from their wicked ways.

Ninevah repented, and God relented.  “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them.  And He did not do it” (Jonah 3:10).  The city was saved!  But, Jonah was angry.  How dare God spare these wicked people?  Jonah just knew God would do this, and he didn’t like it!  “Please Lord, was not this what I said while I was still in my own country?  Therefore in order to forestall this I fled to Tarshish, for I knew that You are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and one who relents concerning calamity” (Jonah 4:2).

What is God like?  He hates sin.  But when He sees repentance and faith, He amazingly displays His Grace, Compassion, Slowness to Anger, Abundance of Lovingkindness .  . . and He “relents concerning calamity.”  Judgment is removed.

The effective reach of God’s compassion is not thwarted by the flagrant in-your-face evils of the inner-city or the masqueraded behind-closed-doors evils of the suburbs.  As He says in Romans 9:15, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  With His last recorded words to Jonah, God made His purpose perfectly clear, “Should I not have Compassion on Nineveh, the great city in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know the difference between their right and left hand?” (Jonah 4:11).

Yes, He should.  Yes, He did.  And He still does today.  Wherever you live, will you be like Jonah, and proclaim God’s Word to your neighbor, your co-worker, your enemy?  Unlike Jonah, will the compassion of the Lord be the lifeblood of your witness?

“The Lord, The Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindess and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished” (Exodus 34:6-7).

God in the Deep: Jonah 2

A few nights ago, a friend called for some advice regarding her teenage daughter’s misbehavior.  We discussed how my friend could address her daughter’s heart issues and which natural consequences could be appropriate for the situation.  Near the end of the conversation, my friend commented on how she was realizing she shouldn’t be angry with her daughter, but rather she needed to see this as an opportunity to discipline, or train, her teen with the intention of teaching her daughter the right way to go.  Compassion trumped frustration.

Jonah knew that the Lord disciplines those He loves in order to teach and correct the wayward.  God told Jonah to go to Ninevah.  Jonah refused.  God sent a storm and a large fish to redirect Jonah.  Jonah then obeyed.  Jonah, a very real man with a very real experience,  found himself in the deep under the discipline of the Lord:

“For You had cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the current engulfed me.  All your breakers and billows passed over me.  So I said, ‘I have been expelled from Your sight. . .’  Water encompassed me to the point of death.  The great deep engulfed me.  Weeds were wrapped around my heard.  I descended to the roots of the mountains.  The earth with its bars was around me forever” (Jonah 2: 3-6).

Have you ever been able to describe yourself like that?  I have.  It sure isn’t pretty . . . in despair, in the dark, in the deep.  But, in that very place, God is found.  Jonah declared,

“I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me.  I cried for help from the depth of Sheol; You heard my voice . . . But You have brought up my life from the pit, O Lord my God. . . Salvation is from the Lord” (Jonah 2: 2,6,9).

God may have you in the deep.  He may be correcting you, training you, redirecting you.  But, He has taken you there, so you will find Him there.  Like Jonah, will you say,“While I was fainting away, I remembered the Lord, and my prayer came to You, into Your holy temple” (Jonah 2:7)?  The discipline of His child is not a curse, it is a mercy;  He knows the direction you have been going, and He knows a better way.  It is His kindness that leads you in the way you should go, because although “all discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful, yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11).

Peace.  Righteousness.  Deep down, dear Christian, isn’t that what you want?

The Lord disciplines, and He also delivers.  Call out to the Lord for help, humble yourself before Him, and obey.  Like Jonah, you will find Him—even in the deep.