Author Bo Stern gives perspective on facing our giants and stepping off the battlefield in victory
Seattle: No one enjoys going through the struggles of this life, and no one enjoys suffering. However, as author Bo Stern writes in Beautiful Battlefields (NavPress / February 15, 2013 / ISBN: 978-1612913193 / $ 14.99), God uses our darkest moments to shape us into the people He wants us to be. “Though we would rather avoid battles and suffering, God does some of His most beautiful work through the hardest seasons in life. In fact, there are some things that can only be accomplished in us through battle.”
While we struggle with certain things every day, Stern is convinced that everyone, at some point on the journey between here and eternity, will be called upon to face what she calls a “Really Big Battle,” whether it be emotional, physical, spiritual or relational. Like any of us, Stern has faced numerous challenges in her life. However, in 2011, her family came face to face with their Goliath when her husband was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The terminal diagnosis of a loved one can be enough to shake anyone’s faith, but Stern trusts God is using this experience for something bigger.
Stern believes God will always bring beauty from each and every battle, but sometimes it takes looking at the situation from a different perspective. It becomes necessary to look at what is happening through God’s eternal lens in order to see that He is doing something very specific and wonderful. It could be He is trying to develop a deeper dependence on Him or possibly create in us a compassionate heart toward others who are hurting. Whatever His purpose may be, Stern firmly asserts that beauty comes from the battle.
During this difficult season of life, the Sterns have adopted what they call the G50:20 Principle as their mantra: “But Joseph said to them, ‘Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’” (Genesis 50:19-20, NIV). Stern invites readers to cling to these verses, as well, reminding readers God is in control and knows what is going to happen. When things are spiraling out of control and it becomes tempting to pick up the pen to write our own stories, we need to instead trust in God.
The first half of Beautiful Battlefields is devoted to looking for treasure, sifting through the battleground to discover the gold beneath the surface, while the second half is devoted to strategies for growing stronger through every battle. Readers are walked through discovering the security of God’s love, praying for guidance, being obedient of God’s plans and practicing generosity. Often overlooked but vitally important is assembling an army of friends and family to face the front lines right alongside you. When you think you have to face the fight alone, that is the time you need to share your burdens and lighten your load, realizing God put people in your life for just that reason.
Bo Stern will be hosting a webcast on March 12 at 8 PM EST to discuss Beautiful Battlefields and interact with readers. More details will soon be available on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/beautifulbattlefields.
About the Author
Bo Stern knows the most beautiful things can come out of the hardest times. Her Goliath came in the form of her husband, Steve’s, terminal illness, a battle they are still fighting with the help of their four children, a veritable army of friends, and our extraordinary God.
The Sterns make their home in Bend, OR, where Bo is a teaching pastor at Westside Church with a passion for making theology accessible, compelling and transformative. Both her position in the church and her personal battle have allowed Bo to minister to others as they are facing their own giants. She considers it to be a privilege to be able to provide a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on — being a part of another’s Army so that they don’t have to fight their battle alone.
Bo and Steve also serve on the international board of Kings Kids Village, a home for AIDS-affected orphans in Nairobi, Kenya. They are also active in ALS advocacy — a disease Steve has been fighting since 2011.