God in the Midst of Pain

By Kristin Overman

Children make everything about Christmas more fun. Everything is so eventful and exciting for them, seeing lights, receiving gifts, doing advent activities, even opening the box of Christmas decorations. Christmas was always the hardest holiday for me before I had kids. Year after year would pass and I had not been able to get pregnant or keep a pregnancy. Even adoption had been one disappointment after another. We spent four years trying and went through three failed adoptions. In October of 2008 I lost a little boy two days after he was born. His birthmother changed her mind after I had held him and named him. That year Christmas was especially hard. Another year with just two stockings on the fireplace.

During this difficult time of infertility, health problems, and loss God showed me who He was. I had struggled with seeing God as good when I had so many hurts. I saw my trials as God’s hand of discipline. I felt like I was just not good enough for God. I believed He was teaching me to be a better person and have more character through trials. My idea of God was that He was only a strict disciplinarian who demands His followers to give all to Him. He was distant from me and I was scared of Him. If I cried to God it was either in anger or confusion.

God lead me to read through Psalms. He opened my eyes to who He is through David’s honest outpouring of his heart. I began to see that God wanted me to cry to Him. I learned to see God as a loving Father who wants us to run to Him for comfort as we would a friend. In my mind I saw this picture of God sitting on His throne. His lap was open for me to sit with Him and to be held by Him. He wanted to hold me and comfort me in the midst of my pain like any loving parent would their child. Even though there were lessons and character to be learned He was interested and cared about my pain.

As I saw how David cried to God in his pain I learned several things. God doesn’t always answer our whys. But He responds to our cries.

No matter how big the hurt, His arms are big enough to comfort. He does not keep pain way. But He is always near. He is the God who holds our tears in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). He is the God who never sleeps or slumbers to watch over us (Psalm 121:3). He is the God who pulls us out of the pit (Psalm 40:2). He is the God who gives to His beloved in his sleep (Psalm 127:3).

My prayer for anyone in the midst of hard times would be that you would run to God, see Him as the ultimate Friend, the perfect Father, and the Wonderful Counselor. No person, no thing can comfort and heal as He can.

E.M. Bounds says it beautifully in his book about prayer,

“O thou who driest the mourner’s tear,

How dark this world would be,

If, when deceived and wounded here,

We could not fly to thee?

The friends who in our sunshine live,

When winter comes are flown,

And he who has but tears to give,

Must weep those tears alone.

But thou wilt heal the broken heart,

Which, like the plants that throw

Their fragrance from the wounded part,

Breathes sweetness out of woe.”

Kristin Overman is the overjoyed mother of four boys. Kristin and her husband Tim, know first hand how God answers prayers.

Restore – Cost Counting

By Karen Polich

Cost Counting – Assessing the Damage

 In a broken world with broken people, most of us will find ourselves participating in restoration numerous times throughout life’s many stages.  – Pastor Michael Cook.

(Listen to his Restore sermon series here.)

Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem carrying God’s mission in his heart. He began to look around, finding rubble. He found so much rubble in some areas that he couldn’t even get through it. Nehemiah knew that he needed to have a solid picture of the situation before beginning to rebuild and restore. (From Nehemiah 2:11-20)

Nehemiah did something very important. He looked around and did a full assessment. When we are trying to restore and rebuild, we need to be willing to shine a light into our lives. When we search our hearts, we can assess the damage. Some areas may be worse than others. We can see what is right and whole as well as what is wrong and broken. It is not easy, but it is necessary. Pastor Michael Cook reminded us that when we are humble and broken and we take those courageous first steps in putting things back together, God has a special place in His heart for us. So often we forget that God is with us when we seek restoration in our lives.

God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:6b

When we have been living in the rubble for too long, we can get so used to it that we begin to think it is normal. The longer we sit in the rubble, the harder it is to get started. Keep in mind that thinking about getting started and actually getting started are like night and day. Restoration cannot occur until we take those first steps and start the process. It isn’t going to get any easier by waiting. Consider it the chair of resistance; the longer we wait to get out of it, the harder the struggle.

Moving forward in restoration, brings satisfaction and excitement, but don’t forget to make allowances for the pain that will come as well. There may be those who don’t want to see you rebuild your life. Nehemiah experienced that, but He focused on God’s grace and the desire to see Jerusalem restored. We must choose to push through the pain. We must choose to shine the light of God’s love into our lives and embrace what will come when we rebuild and restore our lives.

Will you take that first step today?


The Other Side of Pain – The Battle We Face

The Other Side of Pain – The Battle We Face By: Karen Polich

Are you arguing for Christ or against Him?

You really are the best argument either way. When someone looks at you, at your personal life, they see Christ. What do they see?

1 Peter 2:11-12 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.

We are engaged in a battle every day. The environment we live in is hostile. How do we handle that? Peter teaches two simple concepts.

  • Be determined to overcome personal sins.
  • Be dedicated to win over a lost society.

Our time here is temporary. Peter warns us to abstain from sinful desires. Is he only talking about the big things? No, it is in the details. Pastor Cook talked about those things that can creep in and then begin to rot your soul; the small, unseen, insidious sins. Song of Solomon 2:15 says, “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.” Our lives should resonate with Jesus Christ. Why? Someone is always watching. The world loves a failure in the Church, so don’t give them evil in your life to slander Jesus with. Our failures usually come when we are focused on self instead of on Christ. Let it be that your good deeds show them who Jesus is. The world may still slam you, but God’s righteousness will shine. Righteousness is God’s incredible perfection that He pours into our hearts and lives. We are changed from the inside and can focus on Him. In the battle we face, are you arguing for Christ today?

The Other Side of Pain – Hope in Loneliness and Isolation

The Other Side of Pain – Hope in Loneliness and Isolation

By: Karen Polich

1 Peter 2: 4-6

As you come to Him, the Living Stone – rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to Him – you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in Him will never be put to shame.”

Loneliness…something Pastor Cook says he sees so often; loneliness leading to a sense of isolation. What is on the other side of that loneliness and isolation? The Living Stone.

We have a Savior who relates to our circumstances.

He understands. He was rejected. He experienced the things that we experience and when we come to Him, we are not alone. He is the Living Stone, our foundation. We are connected to a Savior who understands us and we are connected to each other by the Living Stone.

Peter takes us back historically to when Solomon was building the temple. He reminds us of the victory and the living foundation of Jesus Christ. The rejected stone becomes the perfect fit. (1 Kings 6:1, 1 Kings 5:15, 1 Kings 6:7)

At times, when we feel lonely, we tend to cut ourselves off. We cut ourselves off from those around us whom we love and from the Church, the very place we can get help. Peter wants us to understand that we are different. We have a Savior who receives every sinner. We are different because our identity lies in the holy connection with Christ. This connection makes us part of a holy and royal priesthood. We are distinct and have our identity in Christ.Colossians 3:3-4 says, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in Glory”.

What are your circumstances today? Whatever today looks like, there is hope and you are never alone. You are becoming a living stone through the Living Stone of Christ.





The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers” (Part 2)

The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers” (Part 2)

By: Karen Polich

Craving God’s Word

1 Peter 2:1-3 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

What kind of appetite do you have for God’s Word? Do you crave God with the intensity that Peter writes about? Are you soaked in His Word? Continuing last week’s sermon on “Hope Killers”, Pastor Cook presented a challenge to go deeper, to crave more and to have a true hunger for the Word.

Pastor Cook discussed three appetite inhibitors:

  • Unconfessed sin
  • Ulterior motives
  • Spiritual diet

Are any of these holding you back from a true longing for God? Are these things that you allow to steal your hope during difficult times? Are you filling your mind with nourishing things that are helping you? Opportunities are there every day. Opportunities to seek God know Him and build a desire for more. How can this craving be developed? Reading God’s Word every day will begin to change minds and lives. There is so much more of God that can be found by absorbing Him through the power of His Word.

I ask you, do you have a true longing for more? Are you ready to see God change your heart and move in your life? He can be the source of joy and hope no matter what season you are in. He wants us to crave Him, to be fully devoted. I pray that today, you will long for more and feed the desire He has ignited in you.




The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers”

The Other Side of Pain – “Hope Killers” (Part 1)

By: Karen Polich

Are you killing your own hope?

1 Peter 2:1 “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”

Peter knows. He knows what it is like to destroy your own hope. Peter understands the pressure and temptations that come with difficult situations. He knows about lashing out at others when hurt or scared. Peter wielded the sword in the garden, he spoke the denials. If anyone can talk about what you need to rid yourself of to keep your hope as a believer, it is Peter. His words are clear. “Rid yourselves…” The internal sins of malice, guile and envy will be expressed externally through hypocrisy and slander. Our own shortcomings can tempt us to speak against someone to make them look bad, but we may only be tearing down ourselves. Our hurts and frustrations are not resolved when we choose to respond with a sinful heart. As Pastor Michael Cook has discussed in this series, hope conveys love with integrity, intensity and identity. (1 Peter 1:23) How can we do this?

 We can rid ourselves of hope killers because our hearts are different.

1 Peter 1:22 “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” The heart of a Christ follower is different. It is a heart filled with the Living Hope. The hope that holds us together when we are hurt, wounded, and confused. We are going to experience situations in life that are difficult. We shouldn’t take up the things that will hurt us and do more damage. Rid yourselves of these things because they will bring you trouble, and that trouble will invade every area of your life. What about you? Are you choosing hope?

The Other Side of Pain – Hopelessness

By: Karen Polich

What do you do when hope flees and you are in the midst of the gigantic times that overwhelm you?

How do you combat hopelessness in your life? This series continues to look at what is on the other side of so many things in our lives. Have you given permission to the world or the evil one to shape your mind?  What are you feeding your mind? We need to be able to demonstrate God’s grace in any situation with a spirit of determination and a mind prepared and ready for action.

Fortifying your hope in Christ.

1 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

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