Weekly Newsletter – January 10, 2022
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
Count It All Joy
There is no easy road to satisfaction. One reason for this is that no one has ever lived a life free from difficulties. Everyone faces trials, and all of us know suffering in one way or another. I’ve noticed that wherever I am, in every culture and every geographical region, when I mention the subject of suffering, there is an instant rapport, a bond of mutual understanding.
Suffering: A Door to Finding Satisfaction
We can take comfort in the knowledge that Scripture teaches that God’s perfect plan for each of us includes suffering, trials, and pain. The wonderful truth is that our most frustrating trials can be a source of great joy. James wrote:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:2-4). Trials will make us either bitter or better.
I know what it is like to be broken — literally. Jack and I experienced a terrible automobile accident in Brussels in 1979. We were in Europe for our wedding anniversary and planned to celebrate the joyous occasion with members of Jack’s family.
That particular afternoon, we had traveled to Brussels to shop for anniversary gifts. We leisurely walked and talked, truly enjoying our visit to this fascinating city. We even stopped for afternoon tea and shared a sandwich. (A cousin was preparing a feast for our anniversary dinner that night and we didn’t want to ruin our appetites!)
The afternoon ended all too quickly, and we soon found ourselves driving back to the home of the cousin with whom we were staying. Suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, a bus traveling 50 miles an hour struck our vehicle with such impact that my side of the car was ripped away and the rest of the automobile completely demolished. I remember saying, “Jack, there’s a bus!” He attempted to swerve, but it was too late. My last thoughts as I fell out onto the busy street was, This is what it’s like to die.
Everything went black. I felt no pain until my husband’s warm tears falling on my face revived me. His voice was choked with emotion as he wept and prayed over me. “Lord, must it end this way? Don’t let it happen. Please work a miracle!”
I felt that I was slipping away from him, and I wanted him to know how much I loved him. “Honey, I think I am dying,” I whispered. “I don’t want to leave you.”
“Oh no,” Jack cried. “Oh, God, please help us, Somehow spare her life.”
I wish that in some way I could convey the peace that I experienced from God during this time. Even Christians sometimes wonder about and perhaps are somewhat afraid of the unknown — that valley of the shadow of death through which we must one day pass. I would love to stand on a mountaintop and call to every believer everywhere, “Don’t be afraid!” At the moment of departure, He is there to give us peace and sustain our hearts. What a comfort to know that we are the Lord’s most prized possessions and that He will never allow us to go through the transition from this world to the next in fear. I rejoice over this experience today because I can say with David, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me (Psalm 23:4).
Suspended in God’s sweet peace, I was almost in the presence of the Lord. Then suddenly, I was pulled back from going over. A hand grasped my wrist and a man stood beside me. He tenderly placed a blanket over my body and in perfect English said, “Don’t move her. She will be all right.” Immediately, my mind began to clear and I knew that I would live.
As quickly as he had appeared, he was gone. The Lord had sent a man or an angel (only He knows) to provide perfect comfort and to minister to us in a special way Hebrews 1:14 says: Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
An ambulance rushed us to the hospital. I looked at Jack and was reassured to know that he was all right. I knew that somehow God was doing something special in our lives — something that would ultimately glorify Him if we would not faint (see II Corinthians 4:16).
I had sustained a severe head injury. X rays revealed that I had a broken collarbone and two broken ribs. I had also sustained numerous cuts and bruises, and fragments of glass were embedded in parts of my body. In fact, the doctor spent four hours removing glass from my legs, head, and ears. God had divinely and miraculously spared my face and eyes, for which I shall forever be grateful.
Because of my head injury, I was unable to receive any pain medication for 18 hours. In addition, I was told that if the bleeding from my head wound did not stop during the night, doctors would be forced to shave my head in order to suture the extreme abrasion. Jack remained by my side every minute of that entire night, praying with me, comforting me, and talking with me. We asked God for a miracle, and He gave us one. By morning, the bleeding had stopped.
Neither of us slept during that long, unforgettable night. As we talked about why it happened, I felt a kinship with Job. God had allowed Satan to test us but not destroy us or our ministry together. He allowed the test to go so far, and no further. I knew that my Father was in control and that my Saviour was not leaving me alone. Indeed, I knew that He was feeling my infirmity with even greater intensity than I.
Jack spent the next 48 hours trying to get the doctors to release me for our return to America.
British Airways agreed to fly us and graciously provided wheelchair and ambulance service all the way to Detroit. Still, the hours in flight were painfully long, Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me (II Timothy 4:17).
During the next three months, I received extensive medical treatment and stringent therapy. Adhesions formed as the damaged muscles and tendons in my crushed shoulder healed. Doctors said that without corrective surgery I would never use my arm again. Instead, I underwent months of excruciating rehabilitative exercises to correct the situation. Still, I would not want to look back upon this experience with anything but rejoicing and praise — rejoicing in the Lord’s protection and love in bringing me through this trial and praise that He counted me worthy to be put to the test.
Resistance to Suffering is Counterproductive
It would have been easy, I suppose, to resist in my heart and be bitter against the Lord for allowing such a thing to happen. Yet it never occurred to me to question what God was doing. Years earlier Jack and I had committed ourselves to pursuing the Lord’s will whatever the cost — and when we made that commitment, we knew it could involve suffering. It has, but the rewards have been rich. God has filled our lives with blessings that exceed anything we could ask or think.
Unfortunately, instead of counting problems and trials as joy and allowing them to work patience and maturity, many people tend to follow their natural inclination, and the difficulties produce bitterness and resentment. That, in turn, only amplifies dissatisfaction, until finally they are caught in a never-ending cycle of devastatingly negative feelings.
The only effect resistance has on our trials is to make them more difficult to bear. When we rebel against God and turn from Him, we shut out the One who can enable us to carry whatever burden He gives us. How tragic it is to see someone who has gone through grief and pain who then turns sorrow into bitterness against God! That is not what God wants. He wants to make the burden light and the yoke easy to bear (see Matthew 11:30).
I know that it is normal to want to resist problems, and, of course, it is right and even necessary to resist some things. For example, we should not give in to immoral acts, so we must resist temptation. Scripture tells us to resist Satan (see James 4:7; I Peter 5:9). Nevertheless, when we are confronted with trials that are beyond our control, we need to see ourselves as Paul did — like clay in the hands of the Potter, submissive to His will for our lives. We must realize that through these trials He is molding us. shaping us. and perfecting us — until we become vessels that He can use.
Have you ever watched a potter work on a pottery wheel? He squeezes and pinches and applies pressure, and from what was an ugly lump of clay comes forth a beautiful, useful piece of pottery. The potter knows just where to poke and just where to rub — it is a fascinating process to watch. Occasionally, the potter will decide a radical change is in order, and he will smash a nearly molded pot and begin again from the beginning.
Jeremiah described the process:
I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it (Jeremiah 18:3-4).
Perhaps you feel like the Potter has smashed you that way. I have good news for you. God is one Potter who always rebuilds the vessels He allows to be broken so that they are better than before. It may not always be in the way we desire or think is best, but in the process, it is nonproductive for us to resist and become bitter. Instead we should try to see what is happening from God’s perspective, even though we may not understand what He is doing, and yield to His will for us. Paul wrote, Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay? (Romans 9:20, 21).
Acceptance: A New Name for Satisfaction
How much better it is to accept our trials as from the Lord who permits them! Job accepted his trials, as hard as they were for him. This incredible man lost all his earthly possessions and all his children in a series of disasters that happened in just one day. Soon after that, he lost his health as well. He was reduced to a mass of sores, sitting in a pile of ashes, scraping himself with a piece of broken pottery (how appropriate!). He did not understand what God was doing. but his response was, The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord… Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? (Job 1:21; 2:10).
Yes, Job bore all the pain — in his case both physical pain and mental anguish — and did not sin with his lips. He never accused God or spoke bitterly against Him. Quite the contrary, Job accepted the negative things as graciously as he had accepted the good things. Though the task was not easy, out of Job’s afflictions came some wonderful fruit. The first is the book of Job — a good source of comfort in times of despair and doubt. In addition, Job grew wiser and closer to the Lord through his ordeal. Even his so-called comforters learned from his sufferings.
What became of Job. The answer is recorded for us in verses 12 and 13 and chapter 42: So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning. After this lived Job an hundred and forty years…
The “secret” of Job’s success and blessing is rooted in the fact that he endured his suffering. He never turned from God. Instead, he repented! Why would a man who was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil (1:1) do such a thing? Because Job, through his suffering, was privileged to get a glimpse of God in His holiness. As a result, he saw himself as completely unworthy so that he said, I abhor myself(2:6). And in doing that, he discovered yet a third way of responding to trials.
Rejoicing: A Perspective You May Have Overlooked
This third type of response is what James referred to in the opening passage of this chapter — rejoicing, or glorying, in our trials. Admittedly, rejoicing in the midst of tribulation is not an easy thing to do. A woman wrote to us a short time ago:
I am having a very hard time adjusting my life. My husband died not too long ago at age 53, and I just can’t seem to get my life together. I never worked in all the years we were married. I was a family person and never made many friends outside our home, I am lonely and frightened. Please pray for me.
My heart goes out to this dear woman and many others like her. In fact, one might well ask how she could possibly rejoice in the midst of such a difficult trial. She cannot rejoice that her husband has died. How then can she find joy in the midst of her deep loneliness, fear, and doubts?
The answer is found in the perspective we choose to take. No one rejoices in the death of a loved one. Job didn’t, and even Jesus wept at the grave of His friend Lazarus. Scripture acknowledges that sorrow and grief are appropriate and normal responses to death.
Bitterness comes when we focus on our sorrows or trials themselves rather than on the Lord and what He is attempting to accomplish through them. From this perspective, we can easily become discouraged. Unfortunately, this is exactly the place in which many dissatisfied people find themselves. However, if we look beyond the trials and understand that God is working in the midst of them, if we focus our hearts on Him, a miracle begins to occur. He brings peace in the midst of pain, and joy in the midst of sorrow. Truly, His grace is sufficient.
My Grandmother Shelton taught me firsthand the meaning of glorying in tribulation. She knew trials all her life. She was the mother of eight children and, as a diabetic, had to take insulin shots every day of her life. She was a tall, vibrant, robust lady who would pick me up (literally) and shake me like a rag doll and say, “I love you, Rexella.” What a shock when she lost first one leg, then the other, to amputation because of complications from her disease. She would never walk again; yet, I never heard her mention her trials or complain. Her focus went far beyond them. And as she looked to the Lord and leaned on Him, she was actually able to glory in her infirmities! She was always rejoicing. I remember her often taking out a little harmonica and playing it. Just being around her brought me great joy, and I seldom thought of her as being in pain, although I’m certain she suffered greatly.
There is something to be said for pain. Trials are not pleasant, but they are valuable. A flower must be crushed before it yields perfume. A grain of wheat must fall to the ground and die before it can bear fruit (see John 12:24). And we must suffer for the Lord if we are to be glorified with Him (see Romans 8:17).
If you are going through a trial, don’t resist it. And don’t just accept it or endure it. Learn to glory in it! God is doing something through your trials. You may not understand it fully, and He does not always give us explanations. But He does give us promises — and He always keeps them.
Trials are medicines which our gracious and wise physician prescribes, because we need them; and he proportions the frequency and weight of them to what the case requires. Let us trust his skill and thank him for his prescription.
— Isaac Newton
I came across something that helped me to further understand these precious truths. In Job 41:25 are to be found these few obscure words: By reason of breakings they purify themselves. What can that possibly mean?
Elsewhere the Bible teaches that the sacrifices God accepts are broken and contrite hearts (see Psalm 51:17). This is illustrated throughout the Bible as one observes God using for His glory those people and things which are most perfectly broken. Here are some examples:
- Jacob at Peniel, where his natural strength was broken.
- Moses and the rock at Horeb; when he struck it, out gushed cool water for the thirsty people.
- Gideon and his band of 300 elect soldiers. When they broke their pitchers — a type of breaking of themselves — their hidden lights shone forth to the consternation of their adversaries.
- The poor widow who broke the seal on the little pot of oil, and it poured forth, whereby God multiplied it to pay her debts and her sons didn’t have to be taken as bondmen.
- Queen Esther risking her life, breaking through the rigid etiquette of a heathen court, thus obtaining favor to rescue her people from death.
- Jesus taking the five loaves of bread, breaking them, and in the act of breaking, there was sufficient to feed 5,000.
- Mary breaking her alabaster box, rendering it useless, but this allowed the perfume to fill the house.
- Jesus allowing His body to be broken by thorns, nails, and the spear, so that His life was poured out for us to live.
God must have broken things — throughout all plant life, all history, all the great biographical accounts, and in all spiritual life, this fact is preeminent.
Why should we then shrink from those things, which may break us at some point? If we will but allow Him, the brokenness we experience can be used for our purer good and for God’s glory. Such brokenness may come in the form of being broken in wealth, half-will, ambitions, ideals, reputation, affections, and even brokenness in health. Remember the final tally of life is not seen in the here and now. Can you, like James wrote, “Count it all joy?”
A CLASSIC MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
Triumphant in Travail
When in January, 1949, all fighting ended in the War of Independence, the small, ill-armed Jewish militia had developed into a seasoned fighting force supported by armor and fighter planes. Not only had the Jews survived, but they had increased their territory by six hundred miles. The final armistice gained them 21 percent more land than they had originally been given in the U.N. partition. They had been triumphant in their travail, and the world took notice.
Following the birth of the nation, the first official act of the State of Israel had been to set aside the white paper quotas, opening the doors of immigration to Jews everywhere. In the eighteen months following that action, 340,000 Jews arrived in their homeland. They poured in even during the war, and by June 30, 1953, the population had doubled. By the end of fifteen months following statehood, fifty-two displaced-persons’ camps in Europe had been closed and all the inhabitants sent to Israel.
The prophesied return to Palestine of the children of Israel was happening. Isaiah had written: “Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 43:5,6).
And from all directions they came.
They came from the east. The largest group arriving from the east came from Iraq, the ancient land of Babylon. At the time of the War of Independence, 135,000 Jews lived in Iraq. After the war, when they were allowed to return to Israel, they were required to leave all their wealth behind. It is estimated that they left assets worth five million dollars. Speaking of that exodus, Dr. Weizmann said, “Now we see the end of the Babylonian captivity.”
They came from the west. Jews arrived from the west more slowly than from other directions because the largest group of Jews there had settled in the United States. Being comfortable in America, they were not eager to leave. However, the financial resources of American Jews allowed them to invest heavily in founding the national home.
There are nearly 6 million Jews in the United States, a number that exceeds the population of Israel (5 million). Their success here may have been the blessing of God for the very purpose of enabling them to give financial support to those settling in the State of Israel.
They came from the north. From Hitler’s camps and the displaced-persons camps they came. From all the nations of Europe they came. Having learned the lesson of the holocaust, they came to Israel. They came home.
They came from the south. They came from Yemen and other lands south of Israel. The story of the Yemenite Jews and their return is a tale in itself.
Considering themselves exiles in Yemen, the Jews eagerly received the word that the State of Israel had been established and that a new David was in power (David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel).
Gathering up what possessions they could carry, great numbers of them started the journey to Israel. When their countrymen in Israel heard of it, an airlift was organized. Converted bombers were prepared to bring the Yemenite Jews home. In his book, Israel, the Key to Prophecy, William L. Hull described the scene:
Large planes, converted bombers, were flown to Aden. They contained only benches running lengthwise in the plane and thus enabling up to 130 of the small undersized sized Yemenite Jews to be loaded into one plane. It was all new to the Yemenites. They were a primitive people and entirely unacquainted with machinery or modern scientific development. Only a handful of all the Jews in Yemen had ever seen a plane before or even an automobile. With considerable trepidation, the crew prepared for the first flight from Aden. What would be the reaction of these primitive people? Thousands were to be transported. The first flight would indicate what might be expected.
Slowly men, women, and children made their way up the steps, took their places on the benches, sitting cross-legged, and waited in wonder. The crew was wondering, too. The roar of the motors, the movement of the plane, the sudden lifting from the ground, any of these could cause a stampede in the plane. A rush to the door, a crowding of all to one side or an attack upon the crew might wreck the plane. But nothing did happen. Everyone sat quietly, open-mouthed, breathless. Then the plane moved off and was airborne. Soon it was flying smoothly with its strange human cargo. The Yemenites just smiled and explained that God has promised that “they shall mount up with wings as eagles.” Here were the eagle’s wings provided to bring them back to Zion. Surely it was time for the Messiah to come. Maybe He awaited them in Israel!
All together 48,000 Jews were flown to Israel from Yemen.
The Jews, a people noted for their business ability, made a total investment in the State of Israel. They came burning their bridges behind them. Sometimes they were required to leave the labor of a lifetime to start anew as pioneers in a new land.
And yet this land was not new! Something within had called them back to the land of their fathers. At last the Jews were coming home.
But are they home to stay? We will cover this in our next newsletter.
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
Hello, my name is Cheryl H. and the Lord directed me to watch your show about 10 years ago. I was struggling with drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, believing that was the only way to live. I lost care of my children and respect of my family. But God, through Jesus Christ, saw fit to introduce Himself to me and my family, and today we are all doing well. I want to praise with you as I see Him working with you and through you to enlighten us of how to prepare for His return. I love to hear you both speak and am very glad you are on audio and video. God has got a way that’s mighty sweet! I pray strength for you and will be on guard to hear what the spirit is saying to the church! Bless you!!
I had watched recently your DVD about Animals In Heaven after tragically losing my pet cat PeeDee. He was my companion and gave me a lot of joy. After watching your and Jack’s presentation I felt a sense of comfort knowing that animals are also valued by God. Thank you.
HIGHLIGHTED MINISTRY OFFERS
For anyone who has ever lost a beloved pet, Dr. Jack and Rexella Van Impe have good news! You will see your furry or feathered friends again – in heaven! Explore this exciting truth taught by twelve of the greatest Christian theologians.
You will see and hear the exact spine-tingling statements from the pens of men like Dr. John Walvoord, Dr. Billy Graham, Dr. J. Vernon McGee, Dr. John Calvin and many others. This video study deals with animal intelligence, animal communication, and how animals literally teach humans some valuable lessons.
What season of life are you in?
What season of faith are you in?
This deeply personal book of reflections and insights from Dr Rexella Van Impe offers words of wisdom plumbed from the depths of God’s Word, practical concepts you can apply to any moment in your spiritual journey
Rexella’s perspective is always one of compassion She has “walked the walk” Now, in a single, remarkable volume, she shares with you the key truths that guide her journey with the Lord
Let the Holy Spirit guide you as you enter into this extraordinary excursion with Rexella, through the seasons of faith