Devotions
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September 18, 2017, 5:00 AM

How do you let your circumstances dictate your faith and perspective of God?



Shout for joy, you heavens; rejoice, you earth; burst into song, you mountains! For the Lord comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. Isaiah 49:13

 

A routine doctor checkup leads to a grim prognosis.  A once happy marriage crumbles beyond the point of repair. A lost daughter continues to disengage and spiral out of control. A rejection letter from the college of your dreams arrives in the mailbox.  A terrible storm wrecks havoc on your home. A call into your boss’s office leads to a pink slip. A pile of unpaid bills clutters your desk. A wedding invite from a friend reminds you of the unanswered prayers for a spouse. A person’s hurtful words or actions hurt you and led you to shame. These are just a few of life’s interruptions. Maybe your painful experience isn’t on the list above.

 

But, each one of us will encounter a time when our once perfect world shatters and we’re left picking up the jagged pieces. This is one of the few certainties that come with living in the brokenness of humanity. And when life’s interruptions do make an appearance on our doorstep, what comes flooding into our hearts? Pain. Hurt. Disappointment. Grief. Discomfort. Sadness. Sorrow. Confusion. Agony. We wonder if God is there. And if God is a reality, does He even care about what is taking place in our lives?  But, the more challenging questions we wrestle with are these: “Okay, so let’s say God exists, and even cares, then why doesn’t He do anything to change it? Why doesn’t He rescue me from my pit? Why doesn’t He fight on my behalf? If He is all powerful, why doesn’t He display His power and fix my situation?”

 

In the midst of the pain, it is a challenge to feel His presence. Confusion overcomes clarity and comfort. When you hurt, you question if healing is possible. Sorrow overpowers sanity. Sometimes the pain makes us forget about the unshakable truths regarding the character and heart of God. Instead we let our circumstances dictate our beliefs. Exodus 34:6 says, “the Lord is a compassionate and gracious God.” Compassion is at the center of who God is. We forget that at one time God was a man who walked this earth. Jesus experienced the same hurt, pain, ridicule and suffering we do. It isn’t just lip service to say that God knows exactly how we feel. Everywhere He went people were clamoring for His attention.

 

What was Jesus’ response to the brokenness of humanity? Compassion. In Matthew 9, Jesus is healing the sick and the hurting. For a moment He pauses and gazes at the crowd and compassion overtakes Him. Jesus sees they are harassed and helpless. Doesn’t that also describe how many of us feel in the midst of life’s many interruptions? Isn’t that how we feel when we encounter the reality that no matter how much we fight to control our circumstances it is a losing battle? God isn’t unaffected by our pain. When we suffer, He not only notices, but also has compassion. He feels our pain at His core. Isaiah 49:13 reassures us that God comforts us in our pain. It is these truths we must rely on when we are hurting, lost and in pain. You are not alone. God is present in our pain. How do you let your circumstances dictate your faith and perspective of God?

 

This is my Prayer: Father God, in the midst of suffering, I often question whether You care. Lord when I’m confused and hurt, it feels like I’m trying to walk through the darkness alone. Jesus remind me that You have not left me. Instead You are right by my side. Knowing You are concerned with my desperation makes the dark times less gray. Thank you that Your presence provides me comfort. In Your name, Jesus. Amen.


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