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    When All Seems Lost

    In just six months, Gerald’s life fell apart. An economic crisis destroyed his business and wealth, while a tragic accident took his son’s life. Overcome by shock, his mother had a heart attack and died, his wife went into depression, and his two young daughters remained inconsolable. All he could do was echo the words of the psalmist, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1).

    The only thing that kept Gerald going was the hope that God, who raised Jesus to life, would one day deliver him and his family from their pain to an eternal life…

    A Longing in Stone

    “Ah, every pier is a longing in stone!” says a line in Fernando Pessoa’s Portuguese poem “Ode Marítima.” Pessoa’s pier represents the emotions we feel as a ship moves slowly away from us. The vessel departs but the pier remains, an enduring monument to hopes and dreams, partings and yearnings. We ache for what is lost, and for what we can’t quite reach.

    The Portuguese word translated “longing” (saudade) refers to a nostalgic yearning we feel—a deep ache that defies definition. In essence, the poet is describing the indescribable.

    We might say that Mount Nebo was Moses’s “longing in stone.” From Nebo…

    Bowl of Tears

    In Boston, Massachusetts, a plaque titled “Crossing the Bowl of Tears” remembers those who braved the Atlantic to escape death during the catastrophic Irish potato famine of the late 1840s. More than a million people died in that disaster, while another million or more abandoned home to cross the ocean, which John Boyle O’Reilly poetically called “the bowl of tears.” Driven by hunger and heartache, these travelers sought some measure of hope during desperate times.

    In Psalm 55, David shares how he pursued hope. While we are uncertain about the specifics of the threat he faced, the weight of his experience…

    Love and Peace

    It always amazes me the way peace—powerful, unexplainable peace (Philippians 4:7)—can somehow fill our hearts even in our deepest grief. I experienced this most recently at my father’s memorial service. As a long line of sympathetic acquaintances passed by offering their condolences, I was relieved to see a good high school friend. Without a word, he simply wrapped me in a long bear hug. His quiet understanding flooded me with the first feelings of peace within grief that difficult day, a powerful reminder that I wasn’t as alone as I felt. 

    As David describes in Psalm 16, the kind of peace…

    A Fitting Time

    Yesterday I purchased a plane ticket to send my firstborn child to college. I’m surprised the keyboard on my computer still functions, given the waterworks my eyes unleashed on it during the flight selection process. I have so enjoyed my eighteen years of daily life with her that I am saddened by the prospect of her departure. Yet I wouldn’t rob her of the opportunity that lies ahead simply because I will miss her. At this juncture in her life, it is fitting for her to embark on a new journey to discover adulthood and explore another part of the…

    Hope in Grief

    When I was nineteen, one of my close friends was killed in a car accident. In the following weeks and months, I walked each day in a tunnel of grief. The pain of losing someone so young and wonderful clouded my vision, and at times I even felt unaware of what was going on around me. I felt so blinded by pain and grief that I simply could not see God.

    In Luke 24, two disciples, confused and broken-hearted after Jesus’s death, didn’t realize they were walking with their resurrected teacher Himself, even as He explained from Scripture why the promised…

    Hope Anyway

    Among the hundreds of articles I’ve written for Our Daily Bread since 1988, a few stick in my mind. One such article is from the mid 1990s when I told of a time that our three girls were away at camp or on mission trips, so six-year-old Steve and I had some guy time.

    As we were enjoying an excursion to the airport, Steve turned to me and said, “It’s not as much fun without Melissa,” his eight-year-old sister and sidekick. Neither of us knew then how poignant those words would turn out to be. Life indeed has not been “as much…

    Receiving Yourself in the Fires of Sorrow

    As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

    “Eye Opener”

    Have you ever run around the house looking for your glasses, only to find them already on your head? Sometimes we miss the most obvious things! And today on Discover the Word, we’ll continue a series called “Eye Openers” by showing  a common reason we miss seeing Jesus in our lives. Get your spiritual vision […]

    Everlasting Hope

    The week before Christmas, two months after my mom died, holiday shopping and decorating sat at the bottom of my priority list. I resisted my husband’s attempts to comfort me as I grieved the loss of our family’s faith-filled matriarch. I sulked as our son, Xavier, stretched and stapled strands of Christmas lights onto the inside walls of our home. Without a word, he plugged in the cord before he and his dad left for work.

    As the colorful bulbs blinked, God gently drew me out of my darkness. No matter how painful the circumstances, my hope remained secure in the…

    Texas shooting: The Aftermath

    On Sunday, while I was worshipping at my church, a shooting happened just a few miles away at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. It turned out to be the deadliest church shooting in US history.

    Powerful Baby

    The first time I saw him, I cried. He looked like a perfect newborn asleep in his crib. But we knew he would never wake up. Not until he was in the arms of Jesus.   

    He clung to life for several months. Then his mother told us of his death in a heart-wrenching email. She wrote of “that deep, deep pain that groans inside you.” Then she said, “How deeply God carved His work of love into our hearts through that little life! What a powerful life it was!”

    Powerful? How could she say that?

    This family’s precious little boy showed them—and…

    When God Turned My Sorrow to Joy

    In every person’s life, I believe that there is a defining moment when we suddenly come to realize how small we are compared with God, and how small we are compared with the problems that can overwhelm us. For me, that moment happened on my 14th birthday.

    Crying Over Nabeel Qureshi

    I never thought I would cry over a complete stranger. But the death of a man whom I have never met had me tearing up a few times this week.

    How does God relate to our deeply felt tears?

    Emotions are so complex. There’s not always a straightforward answer to the question, “Why are you crying?” But today on Discover the Word, we will open up a helpful discussion about God’s emotions, as revealed in the Bible. How does God relate to our deeply felt “Tearful Expressions”? Listen today on Discover the Word!

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