Asking ‘Why?’ vs. Saying ‘Oh!’

March 18, 2016

When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)

A word we use often in this life is, “Why?” And the word I think we will use most in the next is, “Oh!”  The Providence of God is like a Hebrew word: we have to read it backwards.  By the Providence of God I mean that God is in charge and the events of our lives have meaning.  Sometimes it is as if we are on the inside of a woven basket.  All the threads that come up on the inside of the basket represent the way we see the things that happen to us, which seem to have no meaning and pattern at all.  If we could just get out of that basket, on the outside we would see beautifully woven patterns.

Job is the biblical example of a man who tried to sort out, by looking inside the basket, what appeared to be the tragic meaninglessness of his life.  It was not until he looked up and saw all his tragic circumstances from God’s perspective that he was moved from asking, “Why?” to exclaiming, “Oh!” (Job 35: 1-7; 40-42)

In Psalm 11:3 the Psalmist asked a question: “If the foundations be destroyed, what shall the righteous do?” The NIV version of the Bible has a footnote that suggests this alternate reading: “When the foundations of your life are breaking up, what is the Righteous One doing?”

My wife and I have made that question a knee jerk reaction to the events of our lives as they happen.  As a result, although we’re not on the other side yet we are already saying, “Oh!”

Will you confront the challenges you encounter daily with that same question?

Dick Woodward, 25 August 2012


When You Want to Grow Spiritually

March 8, 2013

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress…”  (Psalm 4:1 KJV).

While I was learning that God is there, real and personal I met with one of my mentors after I experienced the divine presence of God in a mighty way.  I told Paris Reidhead, “My cup is just running over, Paris!” His response to me was: “How big is your cup, Dick?  It doesn’t take much to run over a thimble.  Why don’t you ask God to turn your thimble into a cup, your cup into a bucket, and your bucket into a truckload?”

I did pray that prayer, fervently.  At that time I did not know that according to the verse above God’s vehicle for that kind of growth is distress.  If you want to know what distress is just drop the first two letters:  God uses stress to grow us spiritually just as putting stress on our muscles grows us physically.

Over the next few years I found myself going through deep waters and fiery trials.  When we had three toddlers and two in diapers my wife was hospitalized four times in one year in a hospital 100 miles away from our home.  While I was the pastor of a church and the mother and father of our children the Lord enlarged me, big time!

Years later I lost my health and became a bed fast quadriplegic. That is when I really learned my “4 Spiritual Secrets” which have enabled me to minister beyond anything I could have imagined.  Those secrets are written on this webpage.

When you want to grow spiritually I dare you to ask God to turn your thimble into a cup, your cup into a bucket and your bucket into a truckload.


Adversity and Prosperity

November 16, 2012

“In the day of prosperity be joyful, but in the day of adversity consider: surely God has appointed the one as well as the other”   (Ecclesiastes7:14)

Many devout people are confused about prosperity.  Some preach and teach a prosperity theology that is pure heresy.  It could only receive a hearing in a place like America.  It will not receive a hearing in places where devout people suffer poverty and persecution because they believe.  Others believe we should feel guilty when we experience prosperity.

Solomon writes that in the day of prosperity we should rejoice and know that our God has given us all things richly to enjoy.  And he informs us that in the day of adversity we should consider the profound reality that God has made the one as well as the other.  A truth that means much to me is that God is our personal Mentor and He does His most effective mentoring when things are difficult for us.

Now that I am old I spend time looking back over a long life.  As I reflect on my relationship with God over more than eight decades I realize that my times of spiritual growth have been times of adversity and my times of spiritual regression and stagnation have been times of prosperity.

Paul wrote that he knew how to be abased and he knew how to abound.  He presented a challenge to us.  That challenge is that it takes more grace and wisdom to know how to abound than it takes to know how to be abased.

If you are enjoying prosperity I hope you do not feel guilty but rejoice.  If you are experiencing adversity let it be a time of effective mentoring from God and a time of growth for you.


A Formula for Living

October 10, 2012

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NLT)

There are about 75 different approaches counselors can use as they help people live their lives. One of these approaches tells us that living is as simple as ABCD.  The letter A represents adversity or the problem that a person may have. B represents the belief system of the person with the problem. C stands for the emotional consequences the person is experiencing because of their problem. And D describes the role of the counselor.

Because the economic downturn in America and elsewhere has put many people out of work and forced them to abandon their career, many counselors are hearing people say their adversity is that they have lost their jobs.  Since they get their worth and their identity from their work the emotional consequences for them is serious depression.

These people are saying their adversities are leading directly to their emotional consequences; however, the ABCD approach purports this is never true.  Rather, it is the way people process their adversity through their belief system that causes their irrational emotional consequences.   The basic idea is that if you have an irrational belief system, you will have irrational emotional consequences.  The therapist is a Disputer who challenges the irrational belief system of the client.

The counselor would dispute that belief system with statements like “We are not human doings but human beings.  We should not get our worth or our identity from our work.”

I like this approach for two reasons:  I hear Jesus saying the same thing in the verse above and you can use this formula to be your own best counselor.