Editor’s Note: The AMI Quiet Times for January 31 and February 1 are provided by Christine Li of TRPC, NYC.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Mark 9:17-8, 23-4: “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and become rigid. . . . Jesus [said,] ‘Everything is possible for him who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’”
This father desperately wanted his sick son to get better; but even with Jesus at his side, he doubted whether anything will change. Isn’t that like us? Though we know that God is all-powerful, when it comes to changing people’s hearts, we tend to give up based on our experience that nothing is changing.
There was a girl I knew very well when growing up. Though she was not a believer, she was curious about what we believed and sometimes attended my local youth group. However, during a one-on-one conversation, a member of my church told her without further explanation, “You are going to hell!” Deeply offended, she stopped speaking to us and stopped showing any interest in coming out again. Nobody knew how to explain the Gospel with great sensitivity, and though we tried to mend some bridges and attempted to explain more fully each person’s true need for Christ, it seemed too much damage had been done.
Not too long after, she and I fell out of our friendship, and I gave myself many convenient reasons not to approach her again. Occasionally, I would think back but always concluded that too much time had passed and too much hurt was caused. I felt that her lingering bitterness was justified, and though I hoped this would not be the end of the journey for her, I also thought, more “realistically,” that we had ruined her for any desire to hear the Gospel message again.
Imagine my surprise (more than ten years later) to see on Facebook that this girl is now happily attending a local church through a friendship with some other girls from our hometown! The person I thought who would never be open to anything to do with church again, by God’s amazing grace, had come to know Him. To me, this came as not only a miraculous display of God’s power but also a sharp rebuke, as I had long since put any thought into this hopeless situation.
Our abilities and efforts will naturally fall short when we meet challenges regarding the people in our midst, and our failure should be a reminder to us that only by God’s power do circumstances and people miraculously change. It is easy for us to let present failures dictate our faith and much harder to put our hope in the power of God. If your strength, your brain, and your heart have failed, then, be vulnerable and humble before God and say, “Lord, help me overcome my unbelief, discouragement and hopelessness.” You can be sure that He will either use you to work and bring the situation to a close, or He Himself will do all the work and provide a miracle for all to see.
Let us draw near to God again, today, asking for strength to battle our unbelief.
Prayer: Father, I come before You knowing that I am poor in power and poor in Spirit, but You are rich beyond measure in love and in means. My failures cannot stop You from doing Your work. Do not let the present circumstances tell me something different about what You are able to do; help me to live by faith and not by sight! Help put away my unbelief by reminding me of the firm foundation of Your power and Your love today.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 36