God Promises a Safe Landing, Not a Calm Passage

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“Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” is the featured book n this site. This books reaches out to those who may suffer from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, and the many other usual suspects.

This book is on sale right now in the bookstore. Just click on the “bookstore,” tab at the top of this page to check it out.


This weeks excerpt is called, “God Promises a Safe Landing, Not a Calm Passage.” I talk about all the ailments I have faced and why I feel blessed because of them. We will all face trials and storms. It is how we handle them that counts.


Chapter 41


God Promises a Safe Landing,

Not a Calm Passage


Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

Psalm 73:25–26


This earth is a wonderful place to be. God has provided breath-taking beauty and the opportunity to live an abundant life.

I often look in wonder when I see theCascade Mountainsfrom my home inOregon.Mt.Hood,Mt.Jeffersonand the Three Sisters, all still covered with snow, are all in view on clear days. Every time I see them, I think of the awesome power of God, and yet I also see His fine-tuning of our earth for us to enjoy.

He wants us to love our earth and to enjoy our days, but He does not promise us a rose garden. Sometimes we have to face trials and afflictions that put us on the edge of questioning God’s love.

Suffering and pain are everywhere is this world. Why would a loving God allow this? Are we doing something wrong? Are we being punished for some sin we’ve committed? After all, He allowed millions of His own chosen people to be put through torture and death during Hitler’s time. Why would He allow all that to happen?

Pain is no stranger to me. I have faced numerous times when pain and suffering tried to control my life. Let me briefly explain some of the pain God has allowed me to have:


  1. A double ruptured hamstring with internal bleeding causing pain down my entire left leg.
  2. Double mumps as a child so bad that at one point I could hardly breathe.
  3. Apnea, so I sleep with a mask that helps me sleep more deeply.
  4. An ulcer that kept me on baby food for a month.
  5. Pneumonia that had me down for long time.
  6. Both ankles badly sprained, severely damaging tendons.
  7. Hearing loss that requires hearing aids in both ears.
  8. Throat constriction so severe that I wear a medical alert bracelet to warn doctors about putting tubes down my throat.
  9. Neck surgery to relieve severe and constant pain in my right arm.
  10. Quadruple cardiac bypass surgery.
  11.  Gall bladder surgery, prompted by severe abdominal pain.
  12.  Back surgery because my spine had narrowed (stenosis) so badly that I had numbness down both legs, including my feet.
  13.  Achilles tendon surgery.
  14.  Skin cancer surgery.
  15.  Most recently the embedding of a pacemaker to keep my heart beating properly.
  16.  Four other minor surgeries.

Nineteen incisions—and counting. (Of course, that doesn’t include the unseen scars from my bouts of depression.) The bright side is that there aren’t too many places left to cut for surgery. (OK! I know there are many more places, but I am trying to trick the doctors who may read this.)

Pain comes knocking at my door, lets itself in and stays—sort of like relatives who say they’re just popping in for the weekend and end up staying for more than a month.

People have asked me how I have managed to stay positive during all the times of discomfort.

What they didn’t realize is that not all days have been positive. I have dealt with depression and my own doubt that God loved me during these times. I am like any other person on this earth. I understand the anxiety and depression that can set in during times of pain.

Even Paul had some hard times with trials. He talks about a “thorn in the flesh.” Perhaps it was some kind of physical ailment.


Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Corinthians 12:8–9


I have prayed many times for all the pain to go away, but I sense God saying, “Lean on Me and you will survive.”

Another version of the Bible words the above passage, “My power works best in your weakness.” God uses those who are afflicted to help others who are in similar situations. We can relate to their pain and suffering if we have gone through it. And because of that, they will listen. Another person may try to help, but they do not know the pain. They do not know how depressed a person gets during a time like this.

I can truthfully say to them, “I’ve been there and done that.” What a blessing that is. They’re more willing to talk freely and share their deepest feelings, and I can help them by sharing what God has done for me during similar times.

Once I tried to help a friend who was working through issues I had never faced—nothing even close. His response was that I had no idea what he was going through and to back off. He was right. All I can really do for him is continue to pray for him and be there when he wants to talk. And keep my big mouth shut until then.

The all-time winner for having pain—both physical and mental—has to be Job. He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 1,000 oxen, 500 donkeys and many servants to take care of them. In one day:

  1. all of his oxen and donkeys were stolen and all but one of his servants caring for the animals were killed
  2. his sheep and all but one of the servants herding them were destroyed by fire
  3. all his camels were stolen and all but one of the servants tending them were killed by the marauders

“Enough,” we would say. But then a messenger came to tell him that all ten of his children had died when the house they were in collapsed in a windstorm.

Most of us would be yelling at God and wondering why He allowed all of this to happen. But in all of what had happened to Job “did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing” (Job1:22).

This infuriated Satan, so he asked God for permission to test Job further by afflicting him physically with “painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” (Job 2:7). The litany of my pain that I shared in this chapter doesn’t begin to compare to what Job went through.

            Even though his wife suggested he simply curse God and die, Job responded with a question: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job2: 10).

Job went through some depressing times, and even questioned God as most of us would do under similar circumstances. But in the end he never turned away from God. Because of this God gave him back much more than he had before, including children.

The key to all of this is what Job said: “Shall we receive only pleasant things from the hand of God, and never anything unpleasant?”

God is powerful. He could destroy everything in an instant. We expect Him to always protect us from harm and hardships. In the case of Job, God allowed him to be tested, and Job became even stronger in the end.

God allows us to be tested. We should look at pain, suffering and hardships as God’s way to make us stronger, like Job. Through trials, we learn to rely more on God. We sometimes move Him out of our thinking process when everything is going smoothly. So He may use pain to get our attention back on Him.

Many of those who survived concentration camps have said their faith in God became even stronger while they were going through the torture. They had only God to cling to. That was the only way they had been able to stay strong from day to day.


Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5


“Pain is inevitable; suffering is optional.”

– M. Kathleen Casey


Further Adventures

Praise God under the worst situation you are going through, and He will bless you far more than you could ever imagine. Try it and see how He puts His arms around you and holds you through the storm.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny how God is always there no matter what you’re going through?

God Isn’t Dead. I just Talked to Him This Morning

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We have the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World,” in our bookstore. This book reaches out to those who may be suffering from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, and the many other usual suspects.

You can check it out by clicking on the “Bookstore,” tab at the top of this page. There is a special sale going on right now. A savings of over $6.00 if you order from this site.


Today’s excerpt is letting us know that God is alive and doing well. It is people who have walked away. God  has always been there.


Chapter 40


God Isn’t Dead. I Just Talked to Him This Morning


Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”

John 11:25–26


In winter I used to look out the window at our old house and see the tree out front. “That tree looks dead! We need to cut it down!” I’d announce.Charlottealways asked me to leave it.

The freezing rains, all too common inOregon, attacked the tree and made it look even worse. Limbs would break off during the storms, and it had burns from the ice! I couldn’t see how that tree was going to make it.

Of course, every spring, the tree sprang back to life (maybe that’s why it’s called spring!) and it looked like the tree would make it another year. Leaves budded and covered up the wounds. That tree seemed to look at me through my office window and say, “Don’t give up on me! I’ll show you beauty in the summer!”

Spring always brings back the flowers and the trees in their beautiful riot of color. It is my favorite time of the year. Everything is starting over and has a fresh look to it. In a very real sense, it is being born again.

Jesus also did this in the spring when He was crucified, died and rose again. He did this for each of us so we will always have a way to be with Him in heaven. There is only one way to get to heaven—through the Lord Jesus Christ. God so loved the world that He sent His only Son to have close encounters with His people, and to be crucified on earth so that we may have eternal life. What a sacrifice the Lord made for us. His blood cleansed us and made us as clean and pure as newly bloomed flowers. HHe knows that we will be in His garden some day.

Like that tree in my yard, many of us in this world seem to be dead or dying. We look like we have been attacked by freezing rain. We have wounds of hunger, illness, sin and anxiety.

Do you feel like you’re always walking against the wind, with freezing rain pelting your face? Do you think God has no time for you? Do you wonder if anyone cares? Do you win some battles, but feel like you’re losing the war?

You may feel like a tiny speck of sand on the beach. How can God worry about you when there are billions of people on this earth?

You must have missed the class, “God Is Everywhere 101.” We all need to know that God has something good planned—even though the situation is seemingly disastrous.


Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:17–18


He is only a prayer away. We can think of Him as being right next to us at all times, because He is. We can talk to Him right now, and share our burdens with Him. I do this often, and the peace I always feel melts away all that freezing rain and lets me flourish again like that tree in the springtime.

God is not dead. I talk to Him every day. Anyone can. He wants to hear from us and soothe our hurts and fears.


Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

John 1:12–13


In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”

John 3:3


Further Adventures

Read Matthew16:21through Matthew 28:20 with your family so that everyone hears what Jesus went through for us. This may take several days, but read it slowly and discuss it as you go. This will let your children hear the words and ask questions you can discuss as a family.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that though we live in the world, we as Christians do not wage war as the world does?

Love People and Use Things-Not Love Things and Use People

 Please sign-up for the RSS feed to this site, if you haven’t already. It helps us move up in the Google Search Rankings. Just click on the icon right after the title of this post to do that.


The book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to survive in an Unfriendly World,” Is now available in the bookstore on this site. This books reaches out to those who may be suffering from anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, self-doubt, hopelessness, and the many other usual suspects. You probably know of someone in that boat, and this book can help them a great deal.


Today there is another excerpt from the book, Signs of Hope Ways to Survive in an Unfriendly World.” It talks about what our priorities should be. We should put people first, and not things first.


Chapter 39


                 Love People and Use Things—Not Love Things and Use People


Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of people around you; for the Lord, your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

Deuteronomy 6:13–15


People have idols they worship or hold in such high regard that the idol consumes them and nothing else matters. An example of this is the Beatlemania we went through in the 1960s or the rabid fans of Elvis Presley who unabashedly consider him their idol—even in the 21st century.

Every idol has his “groupies,” those who follow the idol everywhere, screaming, crying and fainting just because they’re in the same vicinity as their idol. Many times groupies wait for hours to see their idol come out of a hotel just to get a look at him—and maybe even get an autograph.

What makes a person get into such a frenzy over someone like the Beatles or Elvis is hard to comprehend, but it happens all the time with famous people. I think the Beatles were great. I loved many of their songs, but I wouldn’t go out and chase after them. Elvis Presley, too, had a tremendous following, and fans still make pilgrimages toGraceland. Never been there myself.

Having a false idol or god—whether it’s a person, a pastime or a possession—does not make the Lord very happy. It could be cars, gambling, money, a romance, or any number of things. In fact, it could be a legitimate interest, but it has taken over your life and has become more important to you than anything else, including your relationship to God.

When we fall into something that takes over our lives—something we know isn’t right for us—we need to get back to the basics of reading the Bible and having God be the only one we worship! It’s never too late to get back to God while we’re alive and breathing. We can’t until it’s too late.

We need to talk to God about our priorities and make sure they fall into this order:

God first

Family second

Our jobs third

It may seem hard to keep things in this order sometimes, but the rewards of doing so are much greater than we understand.

Putting God first may take some sacrifice on your part, but sacrifice is nothing to be ashamed of. God loves those who sacrifice for Him: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).

There is a huge difference between being religious and being a Christian. There are few things quite as boring as being religious (just going through the motions—“talking the talk”), but there is nothing quite as exciting as being a Christian (“walking the talk”). In fact, Christians should “talk the talk,” “walk the talk,” “walk the walk,” and “talk the walk.” Think about it.

You don’t need to try to live up to some idol like the Beatles or Elvis. Don’t compare yourself to them. Compare yourself to God. That should be your goal.

Do you need to hear this in surround sound? YOU DO NOT NEED TOTRYTO BE LIKE ANYONEELSE!

God knew you before you were born. He already had plans for you before He formed you in your mother’s womb.

You are as important to Him as Moses, Abraham or David. He had plans for them, and they helped change the world. Think about it: If you don’t become the person God planned for you to be, who will?


Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.

Proverbs: 27:20


Further Adventures

Read 1 Corinthians 10:1–22 (all the verses so you get the total meaning—no shortcuts!).

Take a good look at your own life and write down each thing that is important to you. Use a separate line for each item (your car, your job, your baseball card collection, etc.), leaving space between entries. Now cut the items into separate strips. Place them on a second sheet of paper in the order of their importance to you.

How much rearranging would you have to do if I now told you to put them in the order God desires? Go ahead and then tape each item down. You can use this visual reminder about your priorities and how to pray when they get out of whack.


Something to Ponder

Isn’t it funny that idols have many followers, but many of them have nowhere to go?