Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Guest Devotion: Katie Ganshert


Today, I've asked Katie to share a devotion that goes along with some of the spiritual themes in her debut novel, Wildflowers from Winter. 

Don't forget to come back on Friday when we play Would You Rather with Katie and her main characters, Bethany and Evan!

Take it away, Katie, and thanks so much for sharing your heart with us today! 

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

I have to tell you, this verse used to confuse the crud out of me. I’d hear well-intentioned Christians quote it at each other and my forehead would go all wrinkly.

Because in reality, Christians suffer. Their spouse has an aneurysm. Or they struggle through infertility. Or they fall off a silo and end up in a wheelchair. Or (insert any number of bad things here).

And the whole idea of patting their shoulder and saying, “Don’t worry. God will work this out for your good” feels a little insensitive to me.

Especially since sometimes, the spouse doesn’t recover. Sometimes they’ll never get a positive pregnancy test. And sometimes they never leave the wheelchair.

So how can we possibly say God’s working for their good? It doesn’t make any sense.

At least not by our definition of good.

And there’s the crux of the verse. That one simple word.

What is good?

We know the world’s definition. To the world, good equals comfort. Good equals prosperity and health and popularity and independence and getting what we want. That’s how my main character, Bethany Quinn, sees it.

But maybe that’s not what good means to God.

Maybe to God, good means becoming more like Jesus. Relying more on Jesus. Discovering that all we really need is Jesus.

And maybe that doesn’t happen during times of prosperity. Maybe it’s during those times of grief, or helplessness, or failing health, or unmet expectations, that we take our eyes off the temporary things this world has to offer and draw nearer to Him.

Let’s Talk: What do you think God means by “good”? Have you grown closer to the Lord because of hard times?

Here's a sneak peek at Wildflowers from Winter! Click HERE to purchase the novel!

A young architect at a prestigious Chicago firm, Bethany Quinn has built a life far removed from her trailer park teen years. Until an interruption from her estranged mother reveals that tragedy has struck in her hometown and a reluctant Bethany is called back to rural Iowa. Determined to pay her respects while avoiding any emotional entanglements, she vows not to stay long. But the unexpected inheritance of farmland and a startling turn of events in Chicago forces Bethany to come up with a new plan.

Handsome farmhand Evan Price has taken care of the Quinn farm for years. So when Bethany is left the land, he must fight her decisions to realize his dreams. But even as he disagrees with Bethany's vision, Evan feels drawn to her and the pain she keeps so carefully locked away. 

For Bethany, making peace with her past and the God of her childhood doesn't seem like the path to freedom. Is letting go the only way to new life, love and a peace she's not even sure exists?


 I'm hosting Living by Grace today on facebook! Come over and let's talk!  

18 comments:

  1. A few walks through some hard times in my life have definitely drawn me closer to God.

    Great post, ladies.

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  2. Powerful message here, Katie. I think your definition of God's definition of "good" is right on. His purpose for us here on earth is not happiness, it's holiness. We will have happy times, but that's not what he's most concerned about.

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  3. His ways are not my ways. I think I might just be learning to accept that. Slow learner here.

    Love you ladies.
    ~ Wendy

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  4. Love it all, and especially this: "Maybe to God, good means becoming more like Jesus. Relying more on Jesus. Discovering that all we really need is Jesus."

    I also love what Lindsay said about our purpose being holiness not happiness. I think a constant craving for happiness can become pretty entrapping...

    Yay for God's definition of good being so much better, smarter and wiser than mine!

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  5. Great reminder, Katie. My cousin and her family spent nearly two years in Haiti doing missions work - after the quake - and she has remarked on how her definition of "good" and "blessings" changed so much as she moved from her safe, comfortable, suburban existence to a place where people who lived in tents still sang praises to God. We cannot rely on our definition of "good" as meaning comfort or material things when so many, many of the world's population have neither - and God still loves them as much as He loves us!

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  6. Yes, "good" definitely means becoming more like Jesus! He is the only "good".

    Great devotion! I needed this today....

    Blessings!

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  7. Great post, Katie! I think "good" means more like Him. When we suffer and allow that suffering to change us, we can become more compassionate, more trusting, more faithful, more like our Savior.

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  8. Wonderful devotion, Katie! Reminds me of the song, "Blessings," by Laura Story. You hit the nail on the head, God's definition of good is for us to be conformed to the image of His Son (Rom. 8:29). Have a blessed week Katie and Jess!

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  9. I love that verse because it used to cause my forehead to get all wrinkly, too. (Love that mental image by the way!) A clear indication to dig deeper! The original Greek of "good" there means "of good constitution or nature." It references being "a good fruit" or "a fruitful tree." When we suffer, the fruit we allow Him to produce afterwards makes all the difference. Good stuff on here today, ladies! Hugs.

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  10. Excellent job of breaking down the true meaning of that verse. You've hit the nail on the head -- a lot of times, our definition of "good" isn't God's. And suffering is sometimes the only thing that draws us from the world's distractions to God's heart.

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  11. Hi ladies! So glad you're encouraged by this today. Your comments are encouraging me as well!

    Donna - I love how when we dig into the Greek and Hebrew, the Bible comes alive on a whole new level.

    Melissa - you're so right. In our comfortable, cozy westernized world, it's so easy to get "good" wrong.

    I love being here, Jess! Thanks so much for hosting me this week!

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  12. I think you are excactly right - we have our concept of "good" but God's concept of that term may be pretty different and we need to adjust our thinking on that.

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  13. good sure doesn't mean pleasant. this concept is conveyed throughout scripture. that's why when we read my favorite verses as a counselor (James 1:2-4) to "consider it pure joy whenever when you face trials of many kinds," we scratch our heads and wonder what James was smoking.

    great devotional thought katie-girl.

    *waving* to Jessica!

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  14. Another beautiful post, Katie & Jessica!

    I love that God's ways are above my own and even when my little brain can't wrap itself around something that is clearly God's will, but not "good" by my own definition, I know He is there and He is working things out for me - but, more importantly, for His Kindgom and His Good.

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  15. So VERY true, Katie. I have definitely grown because of trials in my life - both closer to the Lord, and to my husband (he has a brain tumor) - and if you read Romans 8:29, it is pretty clear that "good" means conformed to Christ's likeness - and that IS the greatest good on earth for us.

    Thanks!

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  16. I think "good" is His big picture, the one we so often cannot see. We don't always know how our lives, our struggles, affect those around us. It doesn't make the struggle any easier though, does it? But in those times I always end up (even if it takes time) closer to God than when I started.

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  17. You're always making me think, Katie. Yes, God has redefined "good" for me. It doesn't mean easy. It doesn't mean the way I want things to go. It doesn't mean no tears will be shed.
    It means ... conforming me to his image.
    Which is often painful as he scrapes off my rough edges.
    And comforting me in the midst of the dark times.
    And sometimes I resist that comfort because I'm waiting for the answer I want ...

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  18. Yes, I've had some deep realizations that no matter what is going on in my life, God is ALWAYS good.

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