Mission Devotional - November 7, 2018
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Opening Prayer: Be my ever-present help in trouble, O God, and let my faith in you not be determined by how I want things to work out, but by an unflinching trust in your unfailing love. Amen.
Scripture: Psalm 46:1-11
Journal: How do you trust God even when things don't go the way you'd hoped they would?
Reflection: The Lord is our refuge and strength, and ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Psalm 46:1-3) The Lord Almighty is with us, the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Psalm 46:7, 11)
It is pretty easy to have faith when everything is going your way, or when God is answering your prayers in the way that you hoped he would. But what about the times when the answer to your deepest, most desperate prayers is different from what you were asking and hoping for? It is easy to have faith in God when you get a yes, but what about when you get a no? And inevitably, in this life, that happens to each of us. So it really is not a question of if, but of when. And when it does happen, what will your faith look like then? Will it be shaken, or will it remain strong?
Thus far in my journey with Jesus, I can remember two different times when God's answer to my deepest, most desperate prayers was a resounding no. No, he would not let things work out like I was begging and pleading for him to. No, he would not give me what I was asking for. But what he would give me was himself. The greatest truth of our faith is that even when the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, even when the waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging, God has not abandoned us. The Lord Almighty is with us in some mysterious, wonderful, intimate, and powerful way. The God of Jacob is our fortress. And it is this with-ness that changes and transforms us. At least it has me.
The two times I got a no from God were the hardest, but most transforming times in my life. Because God did not leave me to travel the hard and painful road alone, but he traveled it with me. As a matter of fact, he traveled it before me. How else could he possibly know how to be with me in such a sweet and intimate way, if he had not traveled the road of pain and suffering himself? God, the Lord Almighty, was right there with me. Right in the middle of the pain and the tears and the struggle and the mess, giving me his strength and his comfort and his healing and his presence and his tears and his love, when I could not possibly find them on my own. What a gift!
So just remember, the next time the earth does give way and the mountains do fall into the heart of the sea, God is not far off, but is right in the midst of it. The next time you do get a no from God, do not let it shake your faith, for even if he is not giving you what you are asking for, he is giving you himself. He is with you, loving you and caring for you and holding you and comforting you and strengthening you, and yes, transforming you more and more into the beautiful creation he dreamt you to be. So stand firm, he's got this. Better yet, he's got you.
Prayer for the church, for others, for myself
Global Partner Focus: Central America
Manuel and Annabella Valverde are involved in church planting and leadership training in Guatemala. Manuel started the Francisco Lacueva Theological Seminary (STFL) in 2012 and they now have 14 students. Pray today for a mission project that Iglesia Bíblica de Guatemala (the Valverde's church) is supporting in a backwoods area in Quiché, Guatemala.
Knoxville Christian Arts Ministries (KnoxCAM) is an outreach ministry directed by Dr. Jill Lagerberg. It uses the talents of singers, instrumentalists, dancers and handbell ringers. They minister primarily to prisons and the inner city. They perform up to 10 concerts each year, telling stories of God's unfailing mercy and providence through fully integrated music dramas. Pray today for KnoxCAM as they continue through this year's performing season.
Closing Prayer: Lord God, help my hope and my confidence not to be merely in you answering my prayers the way I want them answered, or making things work out the way I think they should work out, but in your unfailing love. Then, and only then, can I have a faith that is unshakeable. Amen.