This morning, I woke up with questions on my mind. Let me explain some history: the space of time between this post and the last has been considerable. Here is what you need to know. Sometimes in life, people will hurt us and circumstances will crush us. It’s a very general statement, I know, but it’s a start. Since the start of this semester at college for me, I have had people enter my life who have reminded me of past hurts: friends who say that they enjoy your company but then don’t spend time with you. It seems contradictory to me. It makes me wonder what kind of baggage they must be dealing with. But I digress, throughout life, I believe you will always encounter people who lift you up as well as people who bring you down. You will always encounter situations that energize you and circumstances that drain the life-blood out of you. Which leads me to the question: why?

Why do we go through these situations? Are there lessons to be learned? Am I supposed to grow through my circumstances? None of these questions are explicitly invalid; however, it might be simpler than I thought at first. Circumstances will cause us to grow and lessons can be gleaned from our interactions with people, but maybe it is mainly our job to endure. Endurance is an interesting character trait. It can provide ground for bitterness to take root, or it can become a bed of rich spices and much joy.

I believe that one of the most significant reasons that we continually face certain types of hard circumstances and difficult people is simply to remember where we have been. Maybe the point of pain is to remember. Maybe the point of remembrance is to hold on to my identity. Maybe, just maybe, the goal is to endure, and the fruit of endurance depends on the seeds I sow as I persevere. Maybe whether I produce bitterness or joy depends on the thoughts I entertain while I am in the midst of enduring. The Bible says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Ps. 126:5-6)

Maybe, as I continually go through my different life-cycles, I will learn to grow closer to Jesus. Maybe, as I walk closer with Jesus, I will begin to see His power work through me to redeem my circumstances and plant seeds of faithfulness in the people who hurt me. Maybe, just maybe, it all starts with enduring.

Hi all,

I have a newly penned poem that I’d like to share with you! You’ll be able to find this poem and many others in my upcoming book Snapshots: Of the Coming Glory!

Dead Ends and Open Doors

Please, don’t remind me again,
It hurts as deep as any sin,
See me now begin to blush,
See my blood begin to rush
To my head.
Like I said,
The path of pain does only now begin.

Now I can’t say anything.
My ears will not stop from ringing,
Every door has now been shut,
Every trace of feeling, cut,
To avoid.
I am void,
It isn’t hard to refrain from singing.

Savor this grueling essence,
Speak my pain into Your Presence,
Numbing waves of stagnation,
Quite the lack of sensation,
Crowned by a strange light, holy resplendence.

From whence comes this redemption?
Did I not ask for exemption?
Still, an open door does form,
The LORD Himself does transform
My dead end,
and rescind
Every trace of inaction’s preemption.

Dreaming is closely related to desire. In fact, sometimes our biggest dreams reveal our greatest desires and our strangest dreams provide the rawest perspective of our most genuine self. I’ve been dreaming a lot lately—dreaming about friends, life, and all sorts of odd situations, and they all boil down to this: they all betray my desires. What do I desire? I desire to overcome, I desire to break new ground and break through generational strongholds in my family, I desire to love others as God loves me.

It’s not always easy to understand what your desires are, and sometimes, that’s reflected in your dreams too by difficult to understand or difficult to attain dreams. Whether your dreams are the wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night kind or pure goals and earnest aspirations, dreams are crucial to our lives. They encourage us and motivate us to keep asking questions about life and what to do with the limited time we have here on earth.

So, what are you dreaming about? Are you dreaming at all? Pray for dreams, pray for desires, pray to encounter God.

So I just got back from a tour with the William Jessup University Choir and Orchestra, and I wanted to take some time to fill you in on some impactful words that I came across during tour. You see, we were on a bus most of the time, which gave me ample time to spend with God in His Word and He was faithful to speak to me! There were two main passages that spoke to me during this time.

“Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” — Psalm 119: 37

This verse particularly fascinated me because of the words “turn away.” When you look up “turn away” in the original Hebrew, you find that it comes from the word “‘Âvar” which, among other things means not only to “turn away” but also “to cross over, pass over, go over, to go through, penetrate.”

So then, the lesson I learned from this is that ‘Âvar means to not avoid seeing evil necessarily by “turn[ing] away” but perhaps also by seeing through vanity, to cross through, even to penetrate it, and to see the way of God in the midst of it.

The next passage that spoke to me was this one:

“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” — Jeremiah 33:3

I was particularly fascinated by the word “show” in this verse which is translated from the Hebrew word “Nagad.” Nagad can mean, among other things, “to bring forward, be in front; to bring to the light; to declare; to explain an enigma (Judg. 14:19) or a dream (Gen. 41:24); to announce; to confess (Ps. 38:18; Is. 48:5); to profess openly (Is. 3:9); to celebrate with praise (Ps. 9:11; 71:17; 92:2); to make known, to betray (Job 17:5); to be announced, be shown, be told (Josh. 9:24; Ruth 2:11). The word can denote the messenger, the message, or the one to whom the message was told. The receptor was usually separated spatially from the original source of the information. It can mean to reveal something which one would not know without revelation (Gen. 3:11; 41:24).”

So then, from this I realized that not only is God faithful to answer us when we call on Him, but He is willing to reveal so much that we do not know; He will open our eyes to “great and mighty [or hidden] things.” These things can range from concepts about God, things in our own lives that we have not noticed that will enable us to grow more mature in our walk with God, or words of encouragement or exhortation for other people. These things that God will show us can come to light by enigmas, dreams, confession, celebration with praise, and of course, through His Word.

So there you have it—that’s what I learned on choir tour. I hope you’re blessed by it.

*I obtained the definitions of these Hebrews words from the lexical aids to the Old Testament found in the back of my Greek/Hebrew study bible. You can look up the definitions for the words I mentioned by searching Strong’s A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible for ‘Âvar (5674) and Nagad (5046).