Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 28 – Still In God’s Hands

“Afflicted and close to death from my youth up, I suffer Your terrors; I am helpless.  Your wrath has swept over me; Your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together.  You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.”  Psalm 88:15-18

Devotional Thought For The Day

This psalm closes, somehow appropriately, with darkness.  The psalmist’s troubles have not come to an end – they appear to go on and on.  Job could have come to this same conclusion – in the middle of his woes; his wife gave up on him and his friends counseled dark thoughts. We know that ultimately Job’s circumstances improved dramatically and we suspect the same in regard to the psalmist, but it is not reported to us.  And there are many believers who struggle with such darkness to the very end, and are delivered from their earthly troubles only by death.  So the psalmist has given us a blueprint should we find ourselves in such a dilemma – keep on praying, calling out to God, addressing our issues and concerns to Him in an honest and open way, asserting His steadfast love and faithfulness [against what we are experiencing] and waiting for His ultimate deliverance, which will surely come as He has promised.

It is an unnerving and disorienting thought that God could “cause” such misery and so challenge and develop faith in His own dear children.  Thankfully, most of us do not have to go through such “terrors.”  Going through them virtually alone is perhaps one of the worst aspects of such a circumstance – most of us are dependent upon the support, encouragement, and advice of others, and this is the safest way to go through life.  We must leave to God what He wills to accomplish in such discipline – the good that He is certainly working in the lives of these people, though unseen and unfathomable to us.  At such times we are forced to trust that His grace will always be sufficient for us – and for loved ones who must endure such discipline [2 Cor. 12:9].  We cannot understand so we leave understanding behind and turn to faith, leaving all in God’s hands, knowing and trusting that all depends on His grace, mercy, and love anyway.  Perhaps this is the chief lesson and the purpose of what seems so contrary to the nature and character of God as we have come to know Him in Christ Jesus.

So we pray that God will not test us in this way – even as the psalmist would never have invited any of this upon himself.  We also pray that He will give us constancy in the knowledge of His great love for us, so that we never fall from faith.  We give Him thanks and praise for His promises that He is always working good in our lives no matter what our circumstances, and that His grace will be sufficient for us no matter what – that even as He has begun this good work of faith within us, so He will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ [Phil. 1:6].  Therefore we need have no fear, for His perfect love casts out all fear [1 Jn. 4:18], even though we struggle with what simply cannot be fully understood.  In the end it will be as the apostle asserted, that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us.” [Rom. 8:18]

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You have gone through and understand this mystery perfectly, for You also cried out in faith “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me.”  We cannot fully fathom these things, and You understand our fearfulness in all of this.  Continue to fashion and form our hearts in faith and love, that like the psalmist we continue to affirm Your steadfast love and faithfulness, even when disoriented by suffering and frustration.  We look forward with joy to the time when our earthly sojourn will come to its end, and we will join all of the faithful in Your blessed kingdom.  Amen.