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Love Suffers Long

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In the midst of the darkest time of my life, I went to see a professional counselor who is a friend of mine. Of course, the first question he asked was, "Why have you come to see me?" I told him the story of my son Jason's divorce, how his wife had run off with another man, got pregnant and moved in with her boyfriend, shattering the hearts of three little children and a wonderful husband. I went on to explain how discouraged and depressed I was over their situation. He asked me again, "So, why have you come to see me?" "I told you," I snapped back, "I'm discouraged and depressed." He proceeded to ask me the same question again. Finally, I asked in a very frustrated voice, "What's your point?" "Well, the Bible says that love suffers long," he answered. "You are suffering because people that you love are suffering. Jesus said that we are to mourn with those who mourn. You're in mourning because your family is suffering. You're responding the way that Jesus taught us to respond. When this is over, you will get to rejoice with those who rejoice! Until then, trust God with your family, and know that this season will end in time."

Three years later in an all-staff meeting at church, Bill Johnson brought Jason (who is one of the pastors on our staff) up front. Jason announced his engagement to Lauren. Bill took the microphone and said, "We have mourned with those who mourn, now we get to rejoice with those who rejoice!" About 200 of our staff were present that day. They stood to their feet and shouted, cheered and wept for joy. The Bible says, "Mourning endures through the night, but joy comes in the morning!"

Hope

Sometimes it's easy to think that God favors certain people, or that the situation that you are going through is somehow beyond God's ability to fix it. I know these feelings all too well. But the truth is that there is no situation that is impossible with God. One of my great heroes in life is Abraham Lincoln. He was a master at holding on to hope, and never giving up. His list of failures goes something like this: Defeated for state legislature, failed in business, sweetheart died, 1836 had nervous breakdown, 1838 defeated for Speaker, defeated for nomination for Congress, 1848 lost re-nomination. 1849 rejected for land officer, 1854 defeated for U.S. Senate, 1856 defeated for nomination for Vice President, 1858 again defeated for U.S. Senate, and finally 1860 elected president! Talk about a guy who knew how to get up when life knocked him down. Abraham just refused to lose hope.

Proverbs 29:18 says: Where there is no vision, the people perish. There is so much truth held inside of these eight words. Hopelessness is a dream killer. Without hope you can't have faith, and without faith the world is a miserable place to live. The truth is that when all seemed hopeless for Daniel in the lion's den, God saved him. When Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace, Jesus himself set them free. When God found a man so bound with hatred that he was murdering Christians, Jesus encountered him on the road to Damascus and changed his name to Paul, transforming him into one of the greatest heroes of faith to have ever graced this planet. The stories go on and on of God's amazing ability to redeem any situation, or save any person.

There is no hand that can be dealt to you with which God is unable to win. There is nothing impossible for God. Whatever is happening in your life, remember this: Jesus is a master of making palaces out of pitfalls. It doesn't matter how far you have fallen, or how big a mess you've made out of your life, "He is able to do exceedingly and abundantly more than you ask or even think!" God specializes in the impossible!