Monday, January 18, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 1/18/10

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Proverbs 3:5-6

We look to the world full of pain and suffering, full of anguish and agony and we see in it chaos and darkness, pain and sorrow. We try so hard to grasp the things of it and yet, amidst our thoughts, things seem elusive, like they are just beyond our comprehension. As hard as we may try we just don’t quite get it. And how can we? After all it is distant in our minds.

Yet that doesn’t stop us from attributing our own explanations to the things that have happened. We do it all of the time. Whether or not it actually makes sense we try to figure out a way to make it all make sense to us so that, even in a small way, the world doesn’t seem quite so big or scary to us, or we do it so that we can finally tell ourselves that we comprehend the things around us. And why? It’s because there is nothing more frightening to us than the great unknown.

The truth though is that often times the basis by which we seek to understand why is formulated on our own simplistic, shallow understanding, and when we need God to understand we turn to our own views, and the base, corporeal understanding of the world and what it all means. We rely on human understanding, human knowledge, human wisdom for the matters of the heart and the soul, even though there is nothing amidst human enlightenment that offers us any peace or comfort, any real rhyme or reason as to why all that occurs take place.

And then, when we are left to lament the losses that occur we find that our faith is shattered, because, in refusing to look to the spiritual for an answer to why, we blame it for the what.

Yet it is God's wisdom, it is God’s understanding, not our own, that offers unto us the only real explanation of why and it is only when we acknowledge Him and His transcending truth that we can find any measure of comprehension. Otherwise all that occurs, all that happens, it does so random, for no other reason than the cruelty of men and this world and we are left with this lingering feeling, this encompassing feeling that our God is not our God, for the Lord we place our trust in is kind and loving and this one is malice and far distant, if He is even there.

To understand the nature of pain and sorrow, to understand the world of chaos and destruction that occurs around us we must understand the deeper, abiding lessons that God teaches us amidst His word. You see, we live in a world that is fallen to sin and to iniquity, we dwell in a temporal plan that has lost its sense of righteousness. With the success of Satan, all people have found themselves in a state that abandoned the nature by which God had created us in. (Genesis 3:11-24) Adam and Eve, by partaking of that fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, opened wide the doors and let all sorts of unrighteousness into the world.

What though did they let into this world? By God and His creation, through His love and His compassion, they already had knowledge of all that was good, all that was pure and holy. All then that was left to enter into God’s new creation was evil. All that was left was hatred and malice and contempt and sin and jealousy and all other forms of iniquity that transgressed against the Lord.

Amidst their impurity God could have destroyed humanity by destroying them. But a God of love, a God who is love (1 John 4:8) He could not bring Himself to wipe His creation from this earth. So He promised them a Messiah, a Savior who would come from on high to crush the head of evil with his heel. (Genesis 3:15) It would be the hope and the promise of the Christ that generations of the faithful, in refusing to bow before the false idols and the temporal view of this world, would put their hope and trust in. And though by one man sin would enter into the world, by one man sin would expelled from our souls. Finally then would we be set free from the sins and the trespasses that so tarnished our souls, (Romans 5:12-21) for though they had left our spirits and our hearts stained that they were as read as scarlet they would, through his life and death and sacrifice, be washed as white as snow. (Isaiah 1:18)

Why though would this not be the end of iniquity and pain and sorrow? Why would we still see the rise of evil men bent on persecution, subjugation and unrighteousness? Why would there still be captivity that rips us from our peace and our comfort, our solace and our love? Why would there still be hatred and malice, contempt and evil in this world if the Christ had come to set it all to flight, ransoming us all from those dark powers?

Though God intended for the righteousness of Christ to extend to all people in all places, and the salvation of Jesus was universal, coming to even the most lost of souls (John 3:16), still we live in a fallen world because all who can be saved have not been saved. God does not just rescue some and leave others, nor does He abandon people to darkness and to chaos, nor does He overtake our will and turn us into nothing more than robots, forced by His authority to trust in Him and to put our faith in Him. He brings us to that gift of His grace through the power of His Spirit in our own time, according to His great love for us. As long as He knows there is one more soul that can be saved, that will be saved, He continues this world for their sake, while promising His mercy to His children who still suffer in it.

Yes there are those who are going to still be subjected to all manner of captivity, those who are going to find that pain and suffering is near to them, those who are going to be held in dark and meager estates. Yet to them God gives the promise that He shall always be near to them, strengthening, preserving, protecting them through all the days of their lives, and if they cannot find their peace amidst this existence then He shall give it to them in the next as He draws them closer to Him, and they find themselves before His throne, their place prepared in His Kingdom as He brings them to a world where sorrow and anguish, where hatred and sin, where death and destruction no longer have any power over them or their lives.

It is only then when we put aside our understanding of the world and look to the transcending, encompassing promises of the Lord, our God, that we come to truly comprehend not just the nature of sin, but the nature of love as we come to see His place in all things, through all things, finding that His grace is sufficient for us, making us strong where it was that we once were weak. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) It’s easy to dismiss Him and to pretend as if He isn’t there or that He doesn’t have a place in all of this, but the simple, transcending truth is that He does, it’s just not where we look, or where we see. It is in the love and peace, the comfort and the mercy, the compassion and the grace that He extends amidst the great care that He shows unto His people.

What understanding then would you rather rely on? Our own understanding that leans on our worldly wisdom that would tell us that there is no purpose after sorrow and captivity? Or the encompassing truth of the Lord that looks to this world and offers unto us a explanation that gives to us a deeper meaning that shows to us that even when chaos reigns He applies a natural order to things that offers unto us an abiding sense of comfort in even the most trying of times, even the most painful of times, and shows us that He is never far from us even in the dark, hidden places that would so ensnare us and rob us of all we have in this world?

Those are the choices, but when we do acknowledge Him and His truth, He shall forever guide and direct our path back home according to His love for us in the knowledge and the wisdom of His ways according to His unfailing mercy for our lives.

Lord, grant this unto us all.

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


To You do we give all honor and praise dear Lord as we look upon Your transcending mercy and your infinite grace. As we see the rescue of the Maran Centaurus we cannot help but see Your hand at work, moving amidst this world to bring those hostages and prisoners back once more safely to their homes. And though perhaps we may not completely understand the outcome with the ransom that has been paid, we know that we cannot put a value or a price on human life, and thus we rejoice we joyful thanksgiving that You worked to set these people free, that once more they may return to their homes and to their families, to once more look upon the faces of those whom they love, knowing that they will value and cherish each breath, each moment, all the more as a gift from Your holy hand. We pray then Lord that You extend the same mercy and grace to all who are held, that once more they may too return to the ones that they love, and that all captivity, all bondage, all slavery and persecution be put to flight and those who suffer may find a new birth of freedom in the birth of Your new hope amidst the mercy and the compassion that You have for them.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

Closing Prayer:

To You dear Lord do we flee, seeking and imploring Your mercy in the lives of Your people. In their suffering hear their cries and be near to them in these, the darkest of days of sorrow and agony that so ensnare them. Hear their names and shine Your face upon them in their time of deepest of need, showing unto them that there is a God who loves them and cares for them even as all the world around them seems to crumble beneath them and they are left amidst the feeling of loss that now so entangles them amidst its chains. And then, in Your time, set them free. Bring them to Your blessed liberty according to Your blessed name that once more they may be restored to their lives, brought to the light from the dark, hidden places where they are kept.

Bring their captors to justice Lord, to Your justice that they may see that their ways are not Your ways and their will is not their will and they may come to a sincere sense of repentance for the evil that they work in this world and that they may become instruments of Your mercy rather than tools of their own hatred and iniquity. Let them see the pain and the suffering they cause for what it is and fill them with Your Spirit that they may turn from the path of their own unrighteousness and shine Your love and mercy in all that they do.

For our dear brother Ed and his family do we also pray dear Lord. In this trying times for them show Your grace and mercy and give them Your peace as they seek to come to terms and find solace in the pain that now engulfs their lives.

For all who suffer from any sort of captivity do we pray, whether it is a captivity of the body or the mind, the spirit or the soul, whether they are held by sickness or disease, poverty or hatred, set them free according to Your love and compassion, your mercy and grace, that no longer will the bonds that so entangle them rip them from the peace and the mercy that you have intended for them and their lives.

Then shall we praise Your Holy name through all of the days of our lives, giving You all honor and glory for the great and wondrous blessings, the amazing deeds of Your hands as Your blessings extend to the lives of all Your people.

In the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with You in the Kingdom, one God, world without end, Amen.

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