✝️ Daily Devotional - May 20, 2021
💚 Worship: If you'd like to play a song before you begin or while you read, may we recommend "Though You Slay Me" by Shane & Shane. Why not try asking alexa, siri, or google to play it for you?!
💜 Daily Verse: Even though Jesus was God’s Son, he learned obedience from the things he suffered.
☆ Hebrews 5:8 NLT
💙 Let's Talk About It: Suffering brings about two reactions in believers; either we accept it or we run from it. There are no other options.
Here we see that we learn, just as Jesus did, obedience in our suffering. As someone who is still healing from covid, I can understand physical suffering at a deeper level.
At the time I was sick, I didn't understand why I was going through what I was. The rest of my household had mild symptoms (thankfully as they had to help me), and I didn't understand with all my efforts to serve Christ and His people, why I was being thrown into the fire, so to speak.
Daily I called out to God. I wish I could tell you He answered right away. The truth is, He didn't. In fact, I didn't hear from God until about 7 days after my suffering began. He spoke through my husband and said, "I'm here. I will never leave you, no matter what happens." And I didn't hear from Him again until after I began to be healed.
I questioned why I was in the fire. I questioned why I couldn't see Jesus in there with me. And even since being sick, nearly two months later, I still ponder my time in the wilderness as I am still learning lessons. I will share a few with you below.
1. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego didn't see Christ in the fire. But King Nebuchadnezzar saw Him. So, while in the fire, Christ is there and He does more than protect us from burning up, He shows Himself strong and powerful to those who are watching us through the trial, even those who may be expecting us to break at any moment.
2. What can God possibly say to reassure us in the midst of our suffering? Can you imagine in the most painful parts of your life if He said "it's for your good so stop complaining or questioning me." or "I'm teaching you obedience." More than likely that will just lead to more questions and undermine our faith in Him. Therefore, He is there and offers us reassurance, but doesn't usually offer insight until we are in a place where we are teachable and understanding of His ways; when we are in a place where we are seeking the answers wholeheartedly in order to understand Him and His ways, not merely pacify ourselves.
3. Can you imagine seeing someone you love- perhaps your children or grandchildren- being beaten up by someone? How about your wife or husband being violated in some way? Most of us wouldn't be able to see something like that without being traumatized. The same is so for God. While His Son, Jesus hung from a cross, He turned His face from Him, unable to look upon the immense pain and suffering. I believe the same is so for us. When we are in the midst of suffering, God the Father may be silent because He simply cannot help but to look away. Jesus, on the other hand, is yoked with us and provides us rest, being the only One to understand a level of suffering few have ever experienced. Does this mean God doesn't love us. Absolutely not! Just as we couldn't bare to witness such anguish in those we love, I believe the same is so for the Father.
These are just some insights I have gained through my season of suffering. I'm sure more will be revealed in time as well. What lessons have you learned about God in the midst of your suffering? Would you undo it if you could, or would you be willing to walk through any fire as long as it helped you gain a greater awareness of who God is?
🧡 Prayer: Father God, I thank You for every season of suffering I have walked through because it has brought me a deeper revelation of who You are and Your strength and greatness. Lord Jesus, thank You for reassuring me that no matter what happens to me, there is someone who knows exactly what I am going through, and that someone is You. Holy Spirit, thank You for never leaving me, for sticking closer to me than a brother, and for revealing God's love for me in all aspects of my life, but especially in the midst of my suffering. Lord, I understand Your ways are higher than my ways, and I am willing to carry my cross each and every day. Lord, I pray that You would equip me and provide me faith that no matter what I face as I know that You will see me through; and even if You choose to allow me to succumb to the circumstances of suffering, there is eternal life in Your presence that awaits me. Thank You, God, for each and every promise. Thank You for reminding me that ALL things work for my good since I am called according to Your purpose and love You. My Lord, there is nothing I won't do for You. Direct my path and show me where to go and I will follow You. May Your will be done, Father, on earth as it is in Heaven. In Jesus mighty name I pray, amen.