Suffering

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November 19

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Will He or Will He Not.

I believe all of us have struggled at one time or another with believing God is faithful. A tough time comes; a downturn in our business; a health issue dogs our tracks; we lose something or someone of importance; a child wanders from his/her faith; a marriage blows up; the examples are numerous. It is during those times that we have a question to ask: Will He or Will he not?

Will God keep His promises, or will He not? Will He be faithful, or will He not? Will He sustain His love, or will He not? Will He renew my strength, or will He not? The questions about God are as numerous as the examples.

But one thing I know: God DOES keep His promise. What promise is that? “I will never leave your or forsake you.” How do I know that? Well..I’ve seen it fleshed out in my own life for one. Some of the horrendous things I’ve done surely made Him cringe at the least. I have to wonder how and why He stayed true. I know the answer to that.

HE PROMISED IT.

Look no further than the Christmas story. How could one not read that story and see God’s promise fulfilled? 3-4 centuries (maybe more) passed from His promise in the Garden to the night in Bethlehem and 33 years later on a cross. Those two events sealed the deal.

The Christmas story alone would have been enough. That story alone shows God keeps His promises. The cross? The nail in the coffin.

“Father, when I’m doubting; when I’m swinging on a pendulum of emotion; when I’m having a tough time connecting the dots between life’s reality and  feelings, remind me of the Christmas story. Proof positive of Your faithfulness to Your promises.”

November 6

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Giving Up vs Giving In.

I realize as I write that title some would say, “But Bill. Those are essentially saying the same thing.” On the surface I would agree, but on a deeper level I’d say, “Hang in there with me. I want to take it and stretch it.”

Giving up is what someone does when they seem to have no hope left. We might use the term “throw in the towel” to indicate surrender. Lots of people do that.  Life gets hard; fortunes turn; a medical diagnosis turned life upside down; and we find ourselves throwing our hands in the air. We give up.

On the other hand, we don’t give up…we give in. Like King Hezekiah in Isaiah 36-37. Sennacherib, king Assyria, invaded Judah.  He sent a messenger to the king painting a very dark picture of Judah’s future (as well as slamming on God). Hezekiah seeks Isaiah’s help, then he goes to God himself. Hezekiah could have given up but instead he chose to give in. He chose to give in to God’s plan. Isaiah reassured him but a letter from Assyria drove him to the temple and into God’s presence where he spread the letter out before God and poured out his heart to God. He didn’t give up; he gave in to the only One who could save him and his people. He put his trust in God…where it belonged.

God brought about his/Judah’s deliverance by routing the Assyrian army. God will do the same for me. For you. While it may not be a literal army attacking, he will take what seems like an army and bring it into submission to Him.

“Father, help me not to give up and give into despair. Help me not to give up hope. Instead, help me to give in to You, to take the seemingly impossible situation and trust You to work things out as you did for Hezekiah.”

June 18

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

My title for this devotion is Shaken vs. Broken.

Have you ever received a box as a gift and your first inclination is to do what? Shake it. Kids are notorious for doing that. Unfortunately, shaking it sometimes breaks it, especially if it is not packaged well. How different it is to be pleasantly surprised and then slowly and carefully unwrapping the gift to see what’s inside.

There are some peoples’ lives who seem to be a story of shaken. It seems every day brings something new to challenge them. Tragedy hits. One after another. The loss of a job.  Child(ren).  Property. Friends (yes, even so-called church friends). A thousand voices screaming unasked for and uncalled for advice. Feelings of despair. Accusations. Failing health.

Know someone like that? I do. His name is Job. Job went through more than anyone I know. He was shaken but his faith was not broken. In fact, Job 1:22 says, “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

There are some people you just have to admire. Their life seems to be one shaking after another. I must admit that while I have had my share of setbacks (some self-inflicted) and downturns, and yes tragedies, there are people who have had it a lot worse than me. Those are the ones I admire. Especially when their faith is strong and stands the test. They are shaken but not broken. How about you?

“Father, when it comes to being shaken, may my faith be strong. May it be said of me ‘In all this he did not sin or charge God with wrong.’  May my faith stand secure in You.”