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after the wilderness

If you’ve ever experienced prolonged disappointment or pain, you know it can feel like you’re in the “wilderness”—a barren place where you never seem to reach the much-hoped-for “Promised Land.” This imagery is drawn from ancient Israel’s own wilderness journey (Numbers 10–36),... read more »

demanding answers

Remember that thing Charlotte used to say when she didn’t get her way?” My wife Merryn and I were sitting in church after the morning service. Merryn’s comment referred to a time when our niece, then 2 years old, wanted to play with all her blankets instead of just one, and the response she... read more »

God is powerless?

Rabbi Harold Kushner lost a son to a degenerative disease—premature aging syndrome. He later wrote the bestseller When Bad Things Happen to Good People. Trying to maintain his belief in God, he said that God is either not good enough, since he allowed the sickness, or not powerful enough to... read more »

Shepherd in the shadows

A fretful parishioner once came to a famous preacher’s office, feeling disturbed and frightened. “Two men are following me everywhere I go,” she said. Because he was aware of the woman’s overactive imagination, the preacher said kindly, “Oh, I know exactly who these men are.” “Who?”... read more »

endurance

Recently, I took a 17-hour road trip and my family and a foreign exchange student we were hosting were also along for the ride. To save time, we attempted to cut through a bordering country. We were turned away at the border, however, because our exchange student did not possess the right paperwork.... read more »

shrinking faith

In Indonesia, scientists have located remains of an ancient people that may have—over the years—shrunk due to what they call “island dwarfism.” The researchers have used the name hobbit to identify the remains. Though hobbits are fictitious creatures, we’re naturally curious about what... read more »

the fruit of suffering

“How are you doing now?” my friend asked as we walked down the path. The last time Adrian and I had spoken, I had told him that my wife and I were not able to have children and the pain this had brought us. “On the whole,” I said, “we’re doing better. I guess we’re trying to focus... read more »

looking beyond calvary

The Mount Grace Priory in North Yorkshire is one of England’s best-preserved medieval monasteries. For hundreds of years, Carthusian monks lived there in solitude, devoting themselves to prayer. The priory’s ruins are impressive, but a more modern monument caught my attention on a recent visit... read more »

undeserved grace

Early in my walk with the Lord, a friend told me that as I came to understand more fully how undeserving I was of Jesus’ grace, I’d embrace it all the more. Many years later, I still think about her exhortation when—on occasion—I move from acknowledging my sins and desperate need of a Savior... read more »

the touch of love

A hug is a powerful thing. Picture a sobbing mother and father clutching each other as they stagger in grief. A third person walks up, a pastor or close friend, and throws his arms around both of them. Their sorrow is too much for words, but his touch says enough and all that should be said. Matthew... read more »
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