Friday, May 7, 2010

Mid-Day Devotion 5/7/10

Callie Scheepers, Hardus Greef, Johan Enslin, and Andre Durant

“Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.”
Isaiah 29:14

Wonder upon wonder the Lord God Almighty shall astound the people, setting to flight the wisdom of the wise as His love and His mercy is made known unto the lives of His people.

Never has a day passed that hasn’t been a miracle from God. Each day is a blessed new wonder formed individually for each of us by the hand of our Heavenly Father as He shows forth His compassion for us by the works of His hand. It’s hard to not marvel at the wonders then that are poured forth by His grace for the lives of His people amidst the abiding hope that He offers unto them.

Yet there are times when those blessings, when those miracles are more clearly seen than others as God shows that faith shall never be in vain and that mercy shall always pour forth from His Spirit. Today, as news reaches us of our dear brothers Andre Durant, Johan Enslin, Callie Scheepers, and Hardus Greef, we realize that today is one of those days.

Contractors kidnapped in Baghdad back December of 2006, there were so many reasons to give up hope that these four would ever return home. The ransom demanded for them was refused to be paid, their company and their government had forgotten about them and left them in the most meager of estates. January of 2007 was the last that anybody heard from them as the final demands were made by their kidnappers and it was rejected. Abandoned and forsaken by those who could have helped them, the most anybody could have hoped for was that eventually their bodies would be recovered and returned to South Africa for a proper burial by their family that finally they might have the closure they needed.

For over three years their families though refused to give up hope. While they were told to declare these four dead and collect death benefits from the government, while the salaries were cut off, while it might have been easier for them just to think that they had gone and move on with their lives, their love wouldn’t allow them to just abandon them as they pushed them out of their thoughts and minds. Praying, remaining faithful to them, they turned to the Lord and trusted that He never would forsake those who they loved so dearly as they found themselves held in emotional captivity, yearning for something, for anything to hang on to, for something, anything to break the chains that bound them.

Their faith would be rewarded…

Despite having been failed in their hour of need, despite having been left for dead, these four have survived and all that can be really be said is thanks be to God for that, thanks be to God for the miracles that He bestows when hope and faith refuse to be let go of even in the darkest of days and the deepest of trials.

Though we cannot stop praying for these four and their families until the day when they are blessedly restored amidst the liberty that flows from the hand of God and healed by the power of His beloved Spirit who binds up all wounds that may so inflict us we can see truly here the miracle of God’s blessed and transcending love as it moves through this world and in this world in the most significant of ways for the cause of His people. It is here that we are given the truest and the firmest of testimonies of His great and encompassing compassion for His children as mercy flows from the deepest of places within Him, transcending all human understanding and wisdom to make possible even what had seemed so impossible.

Perhaps it’s not always easy to see God at work, perhaps it’s simpler at times to just throw up our hands and ask “Oh God, my God, why have You forsaken me.” But He never does. Even in the most hopeless of situations, even in the grimmest of times, He is there to show forth that He is there, that He always has been there to bless the lives of those who hold fast to His promises even when all the world around them seems to have raised up against them.

Praise be His blessed name for that.

Let us pray:

As smoke is blown away by the wind, so have You blown away all fears and doubts from the minds of Your children O Lord. We have now seen the signs and the wonders from Your hand as Your hope abides amidst the lives of your people when their trust is placed in You.

With tears of joy and prayers of thanksgiving do we receive the news of Andre Durant, Johan Enslin, Callie Scheepers, and Hardus Greef, Your blessed and beloved children, so long feared gone. By Your hand have these four been sheltered and protected, by Your strength have they been shielded as their lives have been guarded and word has been brought that they still remain amidst this temporal existence waiting for the day when they can be restored to their homes and their families.

We praise Your blessed name for this wondrous miracle, knowing Your hand has been raised to ensure the integrity and the value of their lives has been held sacred. For this, in Your righteousness are we glad as we rejoice in the works of Your hand. A God of eternal deliverance it is shown through this that You are the Lord of all who yearn in captivity and bondage, longing so desperately for freedom.

Unto You then do we raise our humble supplications that in the same hope, that same blessed hope, You shall set them free amidst the promise of Your abiding mercy and Your transcending love that they may, by Your justice and Your liberty be returned to those who so deeply care for them that they, despite all the wisdom of this world, refused to give up hope in the faithfulness of Your promises.

Unto You do we humbly entreat their release from their captivity, knowing that You have the power and the authority to make all things possible.

You, O Lord, are our sanctuary, shelter and protect Your people in the promises of Your blessed word, according to Your blessed hope.

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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