Editor’s Note: Jack Deere’s new memoir is Even in Our Darkness. The book tells Jack’s story of finding friendship with God in the midst of pain, grief, and loss.
Two Scriptures that I rely on daily are Lamentations 3:22-23 and 3:33. The NIV translates Lam. 3:33 as, “For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.” This translation can be a little confusing. It’s like saying that a father never willingly disciplines his child. But the verse before says that God does grieve us (3:32). The Hebrew text of Lam. 3:33 actually says, “For he [the Lord] does not afflict or grieve the children of men from his heart.” Though God sometimes hurts me, the hurting is not the desire of his heart. The hurt turns out to be necessary for my heart, though I don’t usually see the necessity of the affliction until the affliction has become a memory with no sting in it.
So here’s how this verse helps me. All of this present, painful roller coaster ride that I talk about in Even in Our Darkness comes from God. No doubt about that. It’s not an accident from some part of the universe that he leaves free to run on its own. But instead of thinking of him being mad at me, I think of him being a little proud of me, maybe. At least I have the opportunity to make him proud. And that’s why good fathers consistently discipline their sons, not to have sons they can love (good fathers already love their sons), but to have sons they can be proud of.
Lam. 3:22-23 says that God’s expressions of his unfailing love and compassion are new each day. So now, I wake up looking for new displays of God’s compassion and unfailing love. Although each day comes with its own troubles, if I look for the new, daily mercies I find that the mercies overrule the trouble. I’ve never been so peaceful or able to laugh in a storm as I am today.
One of the good things about riding this roller coaster is that my eyes have learned to see the new mercies of each day. And seeing mercy so frequently makes me more grateful than I ever remember being.
Even in Our Darkness: A Story of Beauty in a Broken Life is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.
Bio: Jack Deere, is a writer and lecturer who speaks throughout the world. Formerly he was an assistant professor of Old Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary for more than ten years, until he was fired in 1987 for reversing his stance on the gifts of the Holy Spirit—he had come to believe that gifts such as healing and prophecy are accessible today. This experience became the basis of his bestselling books, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit and Surprised by the Voice of God. Deere then spent four years with John Wimber at the Vineyard Christian fellowship in Anaheim California, and went on to pastor other churches. Jack and his wife Leesa currently live in St. Louis. They are the parents of Stephen, Alese, and the late Scott Deere.
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