This woman, Jennifer Rothschild, is one of my favourite people on the planet – one of the most empathetic, wisest, most down-to-earth humble women. At the young age of fifteen, Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare, degenerative eye disease that would eventually steal her sight. In the midst of living blind — literally living in an invisible world — Jennifer has taken her message of encouragement, across the country. What is the one power that can barge into the dusty, dormant rooms of your heart, cast open the shades, and flood it with light and hope? That power is love, and once we get a hold of it, it changes everything. In 66 Ways God Loves You, Jennifer clears a brilliant path through each of the 66 books of the Bible and calls out the very specific, very personal ways God expresses His love. By taking this tender, heart-opening journey, you will understand why love is the heartbeat of the Bible’s story and how that love includes you personally. It’s alway a grace to welcome Jennifer to the farm’s front porch…
Life is full of low places – injustice, defeat, abandonment, failure – suffering just flat-out plummets us to the bottom of ourselves and leaves us face down in disappointment.
You know how this feels.
Failed relationships. Divorce. Faded dreams. Discouragement. Forgotten hope. Depression.
I know how it feels too.
I’ve had to stare at the rubble of my own life through blind eyes.
I’ve crawled through the disorienting dark valley of “why God?” and “how long God?” When my eyesight failed, my dreams of becoming an artist faded away.
Blindness stole everything that was most precious to me.
My future was dark; my high hopes were brought low by the albatross of blindness that threatened to sink my future.
What do we do when we live in a low place? How do we lift our eyes when our heart is so heavy?
The prophet Habakkuk was in a low place. Injustice surrounded him. He felt defeated.
So, when he was sinking in the quicksand of despair, he climbed his watchtower, looking for an answer from God. “I will climb up to my watchtower,” he said, “and stand at my guard post. There I will wait to see what the Lord says and how He answers me.” (Habakkuk 2:1)
But, because God loved His prophet perfectly, He didn’t give His prophet the perfect answer that Habakkuk wanted to hear, He gave him something better. He lifted Habakkuk’s spirit and gave him perspective.When God doesn’t prevent suffering, He gives us perspective on suffering.
Sometimes you just have to get a “God’s-eye” view to see that the master potter is scooping up all the rubble and ruin from your low place to mold and create good in your life. His love reaches down into the dirt – what you may think is utter defeat or hopeless – and lifts you to see that He can turn what you may view as worthless into something worthwhile.
God can take what we think is worthless and turn it into something worthwhile.
Often, when we’re down, all we can see is the valley, the wasteland – we feel like our lives are a mess. But our loving God does not see us and our low places that way. The stuff you think may be just too messy, too ugly, too far gone is the stuff God is infusing with purpose.
The sorrow that hurts you? God fashions it into faith that sustains you.
The sin you’re ashamed of? God uses it to create beautiful humility.
The failures you regret? God turns them into wisdom.
The grief that shattered your heart? God crafts that into unshakeable faith.
The missed opportunities? God uses those to make you reflect His grace.
The loss you never expected? God molds that into strength you can’t explain.
God can make your low place a stepping stone to climb higher with Him.
He can take even the worst things in your life – the injustice, defeat, abandonment or failure – to create the best for you, His beloved child.
That’s what He did for me – and still does – for me.
My blind eyes now see far more than rubble and a dark future. From the top of the watchtower of my faith, I can see how blindness isn’t a waste, it’s part of the work of God for my good. I, like Habakkuk, may not have the answers from God, but, I have a closer relationship with God because of the questions and loss. The perspective he gives me in my low place has helped me see His love more clearly.
Habakkuk had that view too. He said, “Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren… yet I will rejoice in the Lord! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!” (Habakkuk 3:17-18 NLT)
We can rejoice when our perspective changes even if our problems don’t.
Habakkuk didn’t rejoice because his problems changed; he rejoiced because his perspective changed. God lifted His lowly prophet to “tread on the heights” with Him. (Habakkuk 3:19)
And God will do that for you too. He will love you through your low place. If you find yourself in a low place, don’t assume it’s a waste of time, or a waste of your life or a waste of an opportunity. Instead, do what Habakkuk did – climb the watchtower of your faith, one wobbly step at a time and seek an answer from the God who loves you. If He doesn’t give you an answer – or an answer you want – it’s because He wants to give you something far better – a greater sense of purpose, time in His presence, and a new perspective.
When you climb toward God, you see your life from God’s view.
And, from that place, you may still see rubble, but, you may just rejoice at the sight knowing that God’s loving purpose is right there! “For He works all things together for our good.”
Jennifer Rothschild has written 13 books and Bible studies, including the bestsellers, Lessons I Learned in the Dark and Self-Talk, Soul-Talk. She has appeared on Good Morning America, Dr. Phil, Life Today, and a Billy Graham television special and spoken for Women of Faith and Extraordinary Women. It’s a grace to be speaking with her next month in Springfield, IL at a Fresh Grounded Faith conference. Jennifer lost her sight at age 15 and regularly travels and speaks around the country, sharing her story and all God has done in her life.
God’s Word is many things – instructive, historical, poetic. Yet to Jennifer Rothschild, the Bible is also an incredible love letter. In 66 Ways God Loves You, she walks you through each of the sixty-six books of the Bible and shows, in concise and thoughtful ways, how every book reflects God’s love for each of us. If you want to experience God’s love through every book of the Bible, check out Jennifer’s new book and experience His love in ways you never expected. This is one really incredible message that can’t be missed. www.66WaysBook.org
[ Our humble thanks to Thomas Nelson for their partnership in today’s devotion ]