“give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Really, LORD? Give thanks in ALL circumstances? Like having to wait and wait and wait for my husband’s diagnosis while evidence of “whatever” affects the very words he speaks? Time is a’wastin’ as they say. But LORD, You already know everything that is taking place. And you are beside us as we wait. You are keeping your promise to “never leave you nor forsake you.” You are with us in this terrible waiting time.
And LORD, You will be with us when the word comes to us after the results of the MRI scan reveals the “what” and the doctor indicates the “next.”
Help me LORD to lean on You–totally–Forgive my impatience, my quiet anger at long delays. Help me to be thankful for this waiting time that is teaching me to trust you in all things–even this scary medical thing that we have no control over.
Thank You LORD for your long suffering and patience with us, Your creatures. Thank you for this lens through which we see what truly is important and lasting–faith in You, Your love and forgiveness, Your faithfulness to us and willingness to carry us through hard times.
Thank You for all the many blessings of family and friends, work and home, effective government, safe neighborhoods, exceptional medical facilities, skilled counselors, and caring pastors and deaconesses who share prayers and Your Word of truth with us.
Thank You for Your peace which passes all understanding and for keeping our hearts and minds focused on You–the One who casts out all fear.
Thank you, LORD, for everything, in all circumstances, in Jesus’ Name, Amen.
"O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD says so, whom he has redeemed from trouble and gathered in from the lands, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south.
Some wandered in desert wastes, finding no way to a city to dwell in; hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted within them. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.,
Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death, prisoners in affliction and in irons, for they had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High. So he bowed their hearts down with hard labor; they fell down, with none to help. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and burst their bonds apart. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.
Some were fools through their sinful ways, and because of their iniquities suffered affliction; they loathed any kind of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! And let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving and tell of his deeds in songs of joy!
Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters; they saw the deeds of the LORD, his wondrous works in the deep. For he commanded and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths; their courage melted away in their evil plight; they reeled and staggered like drunken men and were at their wits end. Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man! Let them extol him in the congregation of the people, and praise him in the assembly of the elders...
Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things; let them consider the steadfast love of the LORD.
Psalm 107:1-32, 43
When I read this Psalm in my devotion earlier this week I was struck by the powerful images of distress captured in this song written by David. Scattered people, homeless people, hungry, thirsty and tired people. People suffering physically from ignoring God’s wisdom and their own poor choices. Those shackled by sin and grief and guilt. People reeling from nature’s destructive ways. Then I noticed that the LORD did not desert those in need of his help even though they had turned their back to him. He answered their cries for help. Relieved, healed, rescued, forgiven they went on to tell others of the LORD’S work in their lives. They told of his STEADFAST LOVE.
I’ve been there…I’ve cried out to the LORD…He heard my cries and answered me–not because I deserved to be saved, but because HE is LOVE. It is his nature to heal, restore, forgive, renew. Thanks be to God for his steadfast love. Turn to him in times of trouble. He is there to help!
Somedays my head spins from all of the incoming info from all sorts of sources.
Granted, I choose to open myself up to reading, listening, focusing on all these bringers of information. I can choose to skip the newspaper read, the Facebook scan, the FM radio broadcast, the book at my bedside table, my phone conversations and texting forays. But is that what I really need to do? Cut myself off from hearing, reading, engaging with others? Perhaps…if I am totally depending on these outside sources to give me truth and wisdom and direction and comfort. Isaiah, God’s prophet, brings God’s Word to bear on my world, on my reality. Thankfully, God speaks to me and says, I AM the LORD your God. I teach you what is best! I direct your ways. Ah…what comfort stills my anxious heart. What peace replaces troubled thoughts. God’s ways are not my ways. May I be still long enough to hear His voice, just as I did this afternoon when I opened up my Bible and read these words from Isaiah. They ring true in my heart. I know I can trust my LORD and God!
God, thank you for your teaching and your guidance in my life. Through Jesus Christ Your Son, I pray. Amen.
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelation 5: 9-10
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” Revelation 5:12
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” Revelation 5:13
“In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight.” Ephesians 1:5-8
Prodigal love is lavish love. It is love freely and seemingly recklessly given. Today’s gospel lesson told of the reckless, seeming wastefully spent love of a father on a son who who had squandered the inheritance he received from his father and had returned broke and broken. The father’s prodigal love cared not what looked appropriate as he ran to wrap his son in his embrace and welcome him home. Robing him in fine clothes, feeding him a feast, and serenading him with celebratory song–all fit for a prince, not a wayward son. Such was the father’s prodigal love.
Such is the love of God for me…and for you. It is the same prodigal love. God the Father did not spare His beloved Son. That is why Jesus came to earth–to give his life, freely, recklessly, without reserve. His life for ours. On the Cross He wore our sins so that we might be robed in His righteousness. He comes running to find us wherever we are and to fold us into His embrace. He tells us He has prepared a home in Heaven for all who believe in Him, who return to Him and accept His prodigal love.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
“If we confess our sins, God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened…I will give you rest.”
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will never perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
We may be prodigals, but we have an even greater Prodigal Father!