Beauty Through Suffering

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.(1 Cor 4:17-18)


Fall 2018

What is your first reaction when faced with extreme stress, pain or fear in your life? Do you thank God for the opportunity to learn more about Him? I'd be lying if I said that was my first reaction. Yet, the Psalmist (likely King David) was able to proclaim this very desire as he penned the words of Psalm 119:71. I wonder how long it took him to get to that point of complete surrender to God's plan for his life. What did he have to believe? What do we?

To eventually accept afflictions in life (after the initial shock goes away, of course) with some measure of joy and thanksgiving rather than with an attitude of anger and despair, it helps if we believe that hardship and pain can be for our greater good.  The way God designed EVERYTHING points to this truth.

Without an ending there can be no new beginning.

Consider the planet Earth's four seasons, especially, Autumn.  Have you ever stopped to think that tree foliage is the most stunning for only a mere portion of its existence, and  near the end its life span?

When summer turns to autumn and the days get colder and shorter, leaves burst into brilliant color when life-giving nutrients fade away. The changing conditions produce beauty in the leaf's "suffering", preparing the tree for the harsh winter to come. And eventually the warmth and new life of Spring comes again. Always.

We are like that tree.

What change is grieving and challenging you? How are you reacting to it?

Remember, sometimes a part of has to die so we can truly live. Hardship and pain bring about "endings" that can, if we let them ...

... Protect us from greater disaster,

... Propel us to greater achievements, and

... Permit us to experience the comfort of God. 

Dear friends, the end can better than the beginning, because the end IS the beginning.  God will do the new thing, Spring will come, and your life will flourish again. In the meantime, ask God to make you stunningly beautiful through it all. 

Eventually All Will Be Fair

"...Indeed I will give you renown and praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I restore your fortunes before your eyes," says the Lord. - Zephaniah 3:20b

Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen to bad people. Its hard to understand why, especially if you are like me and always looking to make things better in the world. Yet, some things may never get better. 

On earth:

  • We may lose everything dear to us in a moment -- Just ask Job (Job 1).
  • We may never have the marriage we desire -- Just ask Hosea (Hosea 2:2).
  • We may not be treated the way we deserve -- Just ask Jesus (Philippians 2:5-8)

Life isn't fair...or is it?

To answer this question, we have to consider God's perspective, not ours. Yes, God works everything together for good (Ro 8:28), but in His time and His way, not in ours. Remember, God is eternal. His sense of urgency differs from ours because He is not limited by time as we know it.

Simply stated, the good news is that eventually, justice prevails. Good wins over evil and an eternal kingdom will be established and fortunes restored for all of God's people. Forever.

So how do we live in the here and now with all of this unfairness and be content with things the way they are? Get to know God intimately through daily Bible reading. Talk to Him and cry to Him as you would your closest friend. Ask Him for understanding, guidance and strength to accept things you cannot change. Then listen and do what He says.

Above all, remember this, that Jesus humbly left all of the riches of heaven to come to earth and be treated terribly by those He came to save. He deserved everything and got nothing. How does that change your perspective about things being fair for you?

What will you do with what you've learned today? Do you have anything to share with us? If so, leave your thoughts or suggestions by clicking on the comment link below.

You Can Ask, But You Might not Get

You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures. - James 4:3
God gives good things to his children, tells us to ask for our desires and encourages us to be persistent in our asking.  However, just because we ask God for something doesn't mean we will get it. What we receive from God is contingent upon our motives for asking.
Sometimes our prayers are a waste of time.
Okay, maybe not a total waste of time. Stick with me here. Coming to God in prayer is an act of submission to God and acknowledges our inability to do everything for ourselves. That's a good thing. Pouring our hearts out to our Creator is also always a good thing and certainly no waste of time because in praying we draw closer to him. But how long is too long to pray for something without considering that maybe, just maybe, God doesn't want us to have that thing we ask for?
At some point we need to question whether or not we are praying with the right motive.
Praying with the right motive simply means that what we ask for aligns with God's big picture plan. God's plan (his will) for us is pretty simple. He wills that we be conformed to his image and that we all accept the gift of eternal life in the form of belief on Jesus for salvation. He also wills that we do all things for his glory and for the greater good of his kingdom.
He does not desire that all of us have material wealth, fantastic health, or friction-free relationships on this earth. He doesn't promise us all of the various forms of abundance we feel entitled to. God promises abundance to his children, but guarantees abundance only in eternity, not here on earth.
How well do your prayers align with the will of God? If you've been praying for something for awhile without getting the answer you want, examine your motives. Are you asking for your will to be done or God's will to be done? Ask God for new ways to pray about the object of your prayers. Eventually, you'll learn and like his will...and then you will get what you want.

Janna Rust is a Professional Coach, Trainer and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her other blog at


Nothing Goes Unredeemed

And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true." - Revelation 21:4

No matter how hard we try, we can't always understand life's trials. Disease strikes. Finances fail. People forsake us. And God allows it all. We are to be thankful in it all and through it all... 

"For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor 4:17-18 NASB)

These words are hard to swallow through the pain and tears, yet the truth remains that if we seek God's desire for us, we will triumph because of our trials. God produces new character in us with surgeon-like precision as He peels away our imperfection. 

We may not understand God's methods but we can know He has our best in mind. No "loss" we experience in life will go unredeemed in God's kingdom. I think the Christian band Selah says it eloquently in their song "Unredeemed":

Life breaks and falls apart
But we know these are
Places where grace is soon to be so amazing
It may be unfulfilled
It may be unrestored
But when anything that’s shattered is laid before the Lord
Just watch and see it will not be unredeemed.

Take a few moments to listen and watch the Selah video below of "Unredeemed". Its a beautiful song with a message of hope. What shattered thing do you need to lay before the Lord today? Lay it before Him and make today the start of something new. He'll redeem it. Just watch and see.

NOTE: For email subscribers who don't get the video, here's the direct link to watch:


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach, Trainer and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her other blog at 

A Strange Way to Save the World?

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways, My ways,” declares the LORD. – Isaiah 55:8


This morning the children of our church acted out a nativity scene as part of their Christmas play.  As the little actor playing Joseph stood looking at the baby Jesus in a manger, he sang the following words from the 4Him song, Strange Way to Save the World:


“Now I’m not one to second guess what angels have to say

But this is such a strange way … to save the world.”


I wonder if the real Mary and Joseph had similar thoughts as they looked down at their newborn baby more than 2000 years ago.  When I think of all the ways that God, the Creator of the universe could have chosen to redeem mankind, my college-educated brain is in awe of the method God chose to redeem mankind from the consequences of sin.  If I had been given the responsibility of solving the problem, I would have brought Jesus to earth as an adult man, foregoing childhood and puberty!  


How many times in our own lives do we question God’s methods for molding the clay of our character into the shape He needs for His use?  Yet, when we question God, could we possibly come up with better solutions than His?   Obviously, our intellect and perspective on the world is no match for the likes of God.   As the bible says, our thoughts are not our thoughts and our ways are not His ways.   We can trust God’s plan for our lives.


I’m glad that God’s ways and thoughts are different than mine.  Most of all, I’m glad He cares enough about me to make sure that I become exactly who He needs me to be to do the work He has prepared for me to do.   From my perspective, using someone like me to change my world is also a little strange.  I’m sure glad God is doing all the planning.


For further thought:


1)      What trial are you currently going through?

2)      What is God trying to teach you through this trial?

3)      How can God use this situation for His glory, both in the present and future?


Man Does Not Know His Time

I returned and saw under the sun that-

The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding;
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all.
For man also does not know his time:
Like fish taken in a cruel net,
Like birds caught in a snare,
So the sons of men are snared in an evil time,
When it falls suddenly upon them.
Ecc 9:11-12 NKJV

My heart goes out and my prayers go up to the family & friends of Tisha Yearout, a member of Nicklaus Golf Club, who was killed in a car accident on Monday.  According to the Kansas City Star, some of the details are as follows:

A 46 year-old Overland Park woman was killed Monday afternoon in southern Johnson County when the car she was riding in hit a tree...Tisha Yearout's husband, who was driving, swerved to avoid a deer and hit the tree...The husband was unhurt, but Yearout, who was in the front passenger's seat, was killed."

This could be any one of us.  We never know what is coming next in our lives do we? One day our lives are intact, the next day they could be shattered by tragedy.  Since we don't know when our "time" will come, we need to redeem the time that we have, considering the things that are most important - our relationships with others and our relationships with God.  As Ecclesiastes 9:11 says, time and chance happen to us all.  None of us are exempt.  A part or all of our lives can be taken from us without a warning, and all we are left to think is "Why?" Sometimes we may never know why.  It is then that we can find comfort, even though sometimes that is easier said than done, through our relationship with God, knowing that He is in control. 

To ponder:

1) How can you live your life to the fullest now?

2) What do you need to do to build your trust in God's control over your world?

3) Are you redeeming your time?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Blessed by Waiting

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion.  For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him! (Isaiah 30:18 NIV)

I wonder if there is a support group somewhere for well-intentioned, God-seeking impatient people.  I'm sure you know the type.  Maybe you are one of them, sincerely wanting to do God's work, but sometimes jumping in with your own plans and getting ahead of God's timing, accomplishing a lot of good things, but missing out on the best God has to offer.  I know a few of those people, and admittedly I'm one of them at times. 

God says repeatedly that we should wait on and trust in him.  Through the prophet Isaiah, God chastises the people of Israel for carrying out plans that weren't of Him.  They were forging ahead, trusting in man-made provisions for their security and God reminded them of the futility of their ways.  He then offered a standing invitation to return to Him for their needs and for future blessing as he stated in Isaiah 30:18, "Blessed are all who wait for him!"

We will be blessed by waiting on God.  While we view our world from ground level, He looks at the world from a "helicopter" view.  Not only does He see how all things are working together, but He also knows what skills and character qualities we need to be able to carry out His plans.  He knows when we will be able to most effectively carry out His will.  We don't.

When we jump ahead we miss the best for our lives and create more struggles.  Because we jump ahead, thinking we are ready but really aren't, we struggle with both the inefficiencies of our underdeveloped character as well as the inefficiencies caused by all of the external "pieces" of the plan not being available yet.  However when we wait on God's timing, He will take care of those kinds of details for us.   We may still face opposition in executing the plan, but it will definitely be easier His way.  That's why we will be blessed by waiting.  Perhaps by waiting we will even "get there" quicker.

To Ponder:

1) In what area of your life are you getting impatient with God?

2) In this area, how will you benefit from waiting on God?  What work does He have yet to do in you or in the situation?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  - Proverbs 13:12 NKJV

My friend's son is getting married this weekend.  I've heard her talk about the day with excitement and anticipation as the weeks rolled by this summer.  The big day is almost here and I can sense the joy in her spirit.  Can you remember the last time a long awaited "dream" or desire finally came to fruition?  How did you feel when you were waiting?

I don't like waiting, but as I get older, I'm getting better at it.   Not only am I getting better at waiting in traffic or grocery store checkout lines, but I am getting better at waiting in the bigger areas of life.  I'm learning how to not "make things happen" and am re-learning that the only things I do have control of are my own thoughts and actions.   These learnings have helped me to hold my expectations loosely and better enjoy the moments in between expectation and reality. 

Hope deferred, or delayed "dreams" don't have to make our hearts sick if we keep our minds' eye focused on what we have to do today and let God take care of the rest.  Patience comes with knowing and trusting that God's desired outcomes are better than what we can imagine anyway.  Patience comes when we surrender our will to God's.  When we hold our desires loosely, we allow God to change the desires of our hearts.  Our waiting will become less painful as we trust God's provision and direction for our lives.  They still will bring life and joy when they come, but the waiting might just be a little easier.

For further thought:

1) Rate your "grip" on your own desires on a scale of 1-10 (10 being white-knuckled). How does your "grip" affect your patience in waiting?  How does it affect what you do with what you hear from God? 

2) What are you learning from God in your situation?  Does God want you to take hold of a different desire?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Its All About Timing

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. - Ecc 3:1

I'm glad the bible talks about time, because I am a self-proclaimed "time freak".  I love to be on time and I love to make sure other people are also on time.  I'm a good time keeper.  However, I am not the one in control of time.  Each day that I live, I gain a little more appreciation for God's timing, rather than my own.

I appreciate God's timing ...

  • in placing certain friends in my life when I've needed them most
  • in delivering a note of encouragement through a friend
  • in creating new opportunities through a job loss
  • in working all things in our lives for His glory---the good, the bad and the ugly

In what area do you struggle with respect to timing?  All of us struggle from time to time, in spite of God's Word that says those who wait on God will "soar on wings like eagles" (Isaiah 40:31). 

Timing is indeed everything.  We need to remember that when we get impatient for things to happen.  We need to remember that God's timing is best.  He knows all.  He sees all.  He coordinates all.  For that, I'm very thankful.  There's no way I can keep track of it all.

For further consideration:

1) How can you better trust in God's plan for your life rather than your own?

2) What evidence do you see in your life that God's timing has been perfect?

3) What opportunities are available to you right now to get involved in God's plan?


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at

Blessing, Cursing and Compassion

"Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the LORD your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. - Deut 28:1 NASB

"But it shall come about, if you do not obey the LORD your God ... that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:" - Deut 28:15 NASB

It seems so simple, doesn't it?  So cut and dried.  Obey and be blessed by God.  Disobey and be cursed by God.  These were the instructions given by Moses to the people of Israel, straight from the mouth of God.  Despite the clear instructions, however, throughout recorded history Israel cycled in and out of obedience, blessing and cursing.  I shake my head at them until I realize that I am oftentimes no less stubborn in wanting to pursue my own way rather than God's way.

Granted, my stubbornness doesn't get me into the same kind of trouble.  I've yet to receive a literal plague upon my home or person, and I have literally gone hungry or thirsty from a famine or drought because I failed to wholeheartedly pursue God's path.  But objectively as I look upon my life, I know I've received some "plagues" in a figurative sense and missed out of God's blessings as well.  No matter who we are, God's timeless principles apply.

The good news is that while God promises not to spare us from calamity if we disobey (note that he also might cause some distress to bring us back to him), he is also quick to forgive and return us to favor in his eyes.   

"So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you ... and you return to the LORD your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul ... then the LORD your God will restore you from captivity and have compassion on you ... " - Deut 30:1-3a NASB

Our compassionate God will restore us and bless us again, no matter how far we've strayed from him if we sincerely come back to him.  His anger towards disobedience only exists because of his great love for us.  Is there something you need to run from so that you can run back to God today?  Are you being disobedient as a result of not doing what God has called you to do?  Don't wait.  A blessing awaits.


Janna Rust is a Professional Coach and Speaker dedicated to encouraging others towards lives God intends for them.  For more information, visit her at