Message Magazine’s Online Devotional for Friday, February 17, 2017
Listen to “Thoughts in Worship 02.17.2017” on Spreaker.
“For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18).
“Let’s be practical!”
“I don’t want to hear that right now!”
“People are hurting!”
There are times in each of our lives when we feel that things cannot get any worse. We feel like we are the only ones facing trials even though we know we are not. We are sad and discouraged because society seems to have lost its collective mind. The problems we have cannot be solved with two pills and seeing the doctor in the morning. They cannot be resolved if we throw more money at them. They will not suddenly disappear if we rally, march, or manifest civil disobedience in the public square. That is not to say we don’t try, with everything we have to find comfort amid turmoil; strength amid struggle; comfort amid conflict. Yet, all of our human efforts fall woefully short of their target—to create the peace for which we long.
If God’s Word is not practical, in the grand scheme, what is? If we close our ears to the One who can provide true comfort and peace as we await the Coming of our Lord to what or whom will we listen, and to what end? If in our pain we cannot find solace in the One who is acquainted with our sorrows and grief, in whom will we find solace?
The apostle Paul understood affliction, trials, pain, and overwhelming conflicts. He understood shipwreck, abuse, running for one’s life, physical maladies. He understood disenfranchisement, marginalization, and being castigated for no reason except that he existed. Yet, it was Paul who said, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17–18).
He’s also the one, when God would not give him the answers to his prayers he initially desired, who said, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9–10).
Thus I ask you to do yourself a favor: ask God to give you new perspective today. Ask Him to show you how to manage when things are not going well in your life or larger society. When you are weak, distrustful, upset, and in pain you have access to a God whose strength is magnified in your weakness. He is still a very present help during our troubles. Troubles won’t last always, and while you struggle through yours, God is prepared to give you strength as you cope.