This ice bucket challenge has given me such joy to watch people care so much to pour ice over their head to support the fight of this terrible disease ALS. Some are annoyed, but most are enthused by the challenge. The support, awareness and money pouring in for ALS is pretty phenomenal. My friend Doty posted a woman's response to the ice bucket challenge. This woman is Bo Stern, the wife of Steve Stern, who is suffering from ALS. Her response is lovely as she is so gracious for everyone's videos and the money pouring in for more research in finding a cure. Because of this post, I started to explore Bo's blog. I notice that she has two books out, and that they are Christians. Now my attention is really drawn to what she has to say, as my minor suffering feels very real as I plead with the Lord for relief.
I read this in the introduction of her book, Beautiful Battlefields:
This has been, without any close second, the most intense and excruciating battle we have ever faced. However, and this is a big however, God Himself has come to our crisis. He has shown up in miraculous and magnificent ways, and this has caused an indelible change in one specific area of my thinking. I used to believe that God could bring good things from hard times, almost like a cosmic consolation prize for having endured something unfortunate or unfair. Now that I’ve walked with Him this far through this fight, I am certain of this one truth: Some beautiful things can only be found in the hardest times. Can you turn that idea around in your mind for a bit and let it’s size and scope seep in? God is for us. He is for our growth, our joy, our success, and our maturity, and He will use every struggle we face as the delivery agents for His most remarkable gifts. Our beautiful God has hidden beauty in the soil of our battlefield. He has placed treasure there that we simply would not be able to find in other, more peaceful places.
;You may be suffering or going through something that feels very real and very painful to you. Maybe it's as brutally vicious as ALS or maybe it's mental illness, or losing a loved one. Regardless, the pain feels very real and the battle seems like you've already been conquered. It's in these moments that we must seek the "hidden beauty in the soil of our battlefield" as Bo says it so perfectly. I was reminded of that by Bo; I would not have discovered her story if it weren't for the ice bucket challenge that has been flooding social media. These precious nuggets of truth will find their way into your soul if you continue to trust and believe that God is good, and that He loves you and me. If we continue to speak His promises and to search out His character and will for our lives. I'm so encouraged today, when I was feeling knocked down.
Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.