May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
- 1 Peter 5:6-7
”Christ is the answer to sorrow. When Harry Lauder, the great Scottish comedian, received word that his son had been killed in France, he said, ‘In a time like this, there are three courses open to man: He may give way to despair and become bitter. He may endeavor to drown his sorrow in drink or in a life of wickedness. Or he may turn to God.’ In your sorrow, turn to God. There are thousands of people who have turned to God, but you may be still carrying your burdens. God begs of you, ‘Cast all your care on me, for I care for you’ (1 Peter 5:7). You who must go through the valley of the shadow of death, you who must say goodbye to those whom you have loved, you who suffer privation and misery, you who are unjustly persecuted for righteousness’ sake—take heart, take courage. Our Christ is more than adequate for sorrow.”
- Billy Graham, Day by Day with Billy Graham (Devotion for January 28)
I had a conversation with the head of our church’s prayer team a few weeks ago. I do the typing for her.
I was telling her that we have had several prayer requests lately for things that my wife and I suffer from on a regular basis, and it really comes down to putting one foot in front of the other. Most of those things are not on the prayer list. So, do you pray for healing or for guidance in dealing with a disease that is a pain in the neck, but it really does not hamper your lifestyle?
Yes, she puts up with me being in the inner circle more than she enjoys that I contribute – some of the time.
She snickered and said that one of them that had been a recent update was one of those “straw that broke the camel’s back” situations. If the added item was the only thing wrong, it would simply be making the adjustments, but this person was in really bad shape and now this extra thing was beyond a nuisance. But I think she silently agreed on a few of the others, but she would never admit it. It was one of those conversations where we spoke in such generalities that we never mentioned names or diseases, but we each knew who the other was talking about.
And then I reread this devotion and it seemed to fit.
Sometimes, we go to God, but we are angry with Him. As C. S. Lewis said, we may avoid talking to Him all day long, but then when something goes wrong, it’s God’s fault. Ummm. It does not work that way, but, oh, how people try to pull that one off.
Now, I have vented frustration with God, asking Him when enough was enough. This added one problem was simply “piling on,” as the old saying goes. If you can do that as a conversation starter rather than whining or being angry, I have ended up having some really good guidance from God as a result. It all depends on what kind of a relationship that you have with God.
So, what the comedian and Billy Graham are saying when they talk about going to God, they are saying to repent, if necessary. They are talking about rededication, if necessary. But if those things are okay, we should turn to God for help, guidance as a minimum.
And we need to do that. I worry when people request that the prayer team prays for them or their loved ones because they know that their relationship with God is not that good. The team does this all the time. They’ve got God on speed dial. No, it is great getting a group of people praying, but you need to pray even more and even harder than the people who have God on speed dial. All those people that Billy Graham says should take comfort at the end of the devotion, those are the ones doing the suffering, enduring the hardship, or simply grieving – not a group of “pros” that pray for you and sadly sometimes, instead of you.
The greatest comfort in my entire life is knowing that regardless of whether I am on track with my journey of faith or I am struggling, I take comfort that God is there. And when I go to Him, I do an inventory. Is this latest calamity of my own making? If so, repentance or simply seeking God’s guidance is in order. But regardless, God is right there. Like I said, that is the greatest comfort.
Too many people say that they trust God, but they hold their cards close to their chest and fail asking the One person that could help them with advice. So, do you really trust God, if you cannot have an honest discussion with Him about the things that you struggle with? When you answer that one, you might want to do some deep knee bends and bow your head at the same time. Godly exercise is good for the soul.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.