Monday, January 11, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 1/11/10

“Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.”
Psalm 118:4-7

In distress, in trouble, while fear follows us and the days are filled with the greatest of challenges, wrought with hardship, misery and pain, when it seems as if the Lord is far distant, as if unable to hear our cries and our pleas, our God is by our side. With mercy and love, compassion and tenderness He is walking with us, holding us close to Him, standing as our shield and our protection even in the deepest of days of trial and turmoil as tribulation and hardship seems to be all around us.

Let’s face it, life, it rarely seems to make sense. One moment we seem to have the world right there before us as it just seems to all be ready for us to grab hold of, to seize in the most significant of ways. It feels as if we are ready to just take life and to carry it to the places that we always wanted to be, to the places we always knew that we should be. The next moment it just feels as if everything around us is crumbling, collapsing under the pressure of everything that has gone wrong. It seems as if, for everything that we have going for us, nothing can go right and we are left with this lingering feeling in us that nothing will ever go right again.

Why can’t it remain good forever? Why can’t it be easy for ever? Why can’t we just follow our hopes and dreams to the places that we have always wanted to be? Why can’t we just finally be the people we want to be? Why does it seem like it all has to be snatched away from us?

In those lingering moments when the questions lurk up from behind us, ready to knock us off our feet, come the greatest moments of doubt in our life as we find ourselves wanting the answers for everything and finding them for nothing. We cry out to the Lord, searching, seeking for some sort of explanation for it all and yet it seems to be nowhere in sight. We are afraid of the next steps forward, we are scared of the harsh, cruel nature of the world out there and how it has treated us thus far in our journey through it. After all, so much seems to be in doubt, so much seems to lie in wait for us, what can be next? What can be around the next corner waiting to feed on our wounded spirits and our broken hearts?

There are many who, in these times, find that their faith is fleeting as they let go of it and let it blow away as if it was a leaf caught in the wind, frail and sputtering, slowly passing further and further away from them. After all, it feels as if it has fallen apart in their hands, as if dried out and long dead, no longer full of the bright colors and vibrant life it once held. Why then would they hold on to it?

Yet faith, it is not like a leaf in the wind, it is like the wind. Invisible, yet very real, very present, we feel it surround us as it blows across us and against us, as it touches us, caressing us as if gently reminding us that even when we are alone we never quite are, for there is more in the world than that which we see. It pushes against us, it blows against us when the road we are on is the wrong path, turning us around even in our steps to show us the right direction, to lead us down the right course, as if oblivious to our resistance, only capable of comprehending our obedience.

You see, the hard times, when we are willing to abandon everything, those are the moments, those are the times when Satan, with all of his strength, tries to assert his captivity over us. He does it by making it seem as if we are alone, as if we are lost in a world that we couldn’t even begin to possibly understand, he does it by making our lives an unmitigated disaster as he rips away all that we have in it and then takes away our hope and our peace, not even letting us cling to, or even grasp at the intangibles that once gave us our hope and our peace, our comfort and our solace.

Still, even in these dark moments, whether the struggle that is before us is a physical, or moral, whether it is emotional or spiritual, God is beside us, walking with us, carrying us when it seems as if we have nothing, not even the strength to pull ourselves forward another step or another foot. He is there to show us that even when it seems as if we have lost everything in this world, we have found His peace and His assurances as He gives His blessed love to us in the most significant and miraculous of ways.

Yes, the old Adversary seeks to put blinders on us, he seeks to blind us, that all we can see is darkness and misery, pain and sorrow, so that all we can feel is agony and hurt amidst our lives. But God is there, just as He was with His only begotten Son Christ Jesus, to restore our sight and make us see that finally we shall be able to see the light and find our way in this world.

So when hope seems fleeting, when we seem lost, when our spirits are held captive, ours must be to build ourselves upon that solid rock, on that solid foundation of Christ, knowing just as the hymnist did before us that all other ground is sinking sand, we must be the wise builders who build our faith, who put our faith into something real and tangible. The power of the Spirit as it works comfort and solace in our lives, showing us that even as darkness is all around us, even as we are chained by bondage, even as we are chained by all that seems to enslave us in this world, God will give us hope and He will give us courage. Then finally, finally shall we find life, shall we find light even in the darkest of days, even in the hardest of days of trial, so that life and light, so that hope and dreams, they shall forever be captured in our souls and all the chains that once bound them shall be broken as we live a new life, as that new creation in our new birth in Christ Jesus our Savior.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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