This month’s articles can be found under “Current Issue.” Past articles and pdf versions of the full issues can be found in the Archive.

The Beauty of Misery

Misery is one of, if not the best thing we can feel when we are lost. It testifies we are sensitive to our predicament. Misery enables us to see the truth of our condition more clearly. It is an inherent acknowledgement there is something better. Anguish contains a potential to yearn for something better, and, if we will, to search for something better. 

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death (2 Corinthians 7:9-10).

An old saying goes like this: “Misery loves company.” That is probably true if we want to stay miserable. And if we want to stay miserable, we won’t learn a thing, joining in a partnership of commiseration and blame with others in this empty occupation. This type of misery is in vain. On the other hand, productive misery is a lonely, but necessary, journey. It is guided by the hope of something better. We can take no one with us as we examine the fruit of our behavior. No one can think for us. No one can appreciate for us. No one can regret for us. No one can repent for us. No one can yield to the hope of good news for us. God will do none of those things for us. We must do it alone. However, God makes it possible for us to accomplish those things. He has sent His Son to be the victim of our conduct. As the victim who overcame the burden of our sins, Jesus upholds reconciliation for us to receive. He has  given a testimony for us to consider, and He has given us time. Within the passing seconds we breathe. Blood courses though our brain. Synapses connect. What we do with our God-given natural birth is up to us. Will we yield to reconciliation or not? God will not live our lives for us. And a good thing it is. He made each one of us individually unique. We are meant to make up our own minds, by ourselves alone.

But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For each one shall bear his own load (Galatians 6:4-5).

We are not alone. The very hairs of our head are numbered. God sees us and desires our salvation. He wants us to live. Some of us have loved ones in the Lord who are praying for us – intersession. They earnestly look for the day of our salvation. Many souls have no one they know saying prayers on their behalf, yet there are saints who pray for the unknown souls who are searching for a better day. In a world of cause and effect, prayers have power to stir events which can bring relief to the mind of the weary, and the prospect of solace for the lonely. We are not alone! 

If we have submitted to the Lord in faithful obedience, know this:

There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man. But God is faithful who will no allow you to be tempted above that which you are able to bear, but will, with the temptation, make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

The Father wants us to know that others face similar circumstances. He doesn’t want us to retreat into the notion that no one can understand our problems. Jesus understands. Jesus was tempted in all points as we are. He knows what temptation is like. We also have brethren who understand, who have received mercy. They have learned to see life through the mind of Christ, sharing His meek and lowly heart. 

Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:1-2).

Between the Father, Jesus, and the brethren, a way is made for us to be victorious and a net for when we stumble. 

God is the best of Fathers. He has a plan for us. He has the means for us to be educated in the highest form of learning. As our Creator, He has the ultimate design for us to fulfill.  This design will give us supreme happiness and purpose. However, each of us must face the truth of our inadequacies and failures. There is a sure misery in facing such things. But, if we hold to the hope of God, there is beauty in the darkness. It comes from the light at the end of the tunnel.

Enduring the Load

Dealing with Discouragement