May 3, Thursday

Devotional Thoughts for Today

“A Shattered Soul”

 Mark 15:33-47

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”). 35  When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”  36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said. 37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. 38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” 40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. 42 It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, 43  Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 When he learned from the centurion that it was so, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph saw where he was laid.

A word I often heard when I first began serving in church was investment, as in “who or what ministry should I invest in?” I initially felt uncomfortable with the concept (even as a finance major), but over time, I began to understand how applicable it was. Simply put, ministry done well requires investment: whether its discipling someone, preparing for a Bible study or organizing an event, intentional time and effort is required, along with God’s presence and blessing, for fruit to be produced.

No one embodied the concept of investment better than Jesus. For three years, Jesus had many followers, but He strategically spent time with His twelve disciples. As all of them traveled together, almost every waking moment was spent doing ministry with them, teaching and debriefing with them, as well as rebuking them. Jesus was able to use even the seemingly mundane moments, such as everyday conversations or meal time, to reveal profound spiritual truths.

Yet, despite Jesus’ love that was poured out for His disciples, where were they in His time of need? Nowhere to be found. As Jesus lay hanging on the cross, only the close women in Jesus’ life (v. 40) and John were present with Him. Furthermore, Jesus cried out at the ninth hour, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” (v.34). The abandonment that Jesus felt was not limited to His disciples but also to God the Father, whom Jesus was in complete unity with.

Most, if not all, of us have felt the pain and loss of abandonment. Perhaps some of us may feel betrayed by friends, families or co-workers. Or maybe we know first-hand the devastation that comes through divorce or an unexpected death of a loved one. Even if such tragedies have not occurred, the loss of friendships as seasons change can also be disheartening.

Thankfully, our Savior can relate to us in our pain. Even through the valley of the shadow of death, He is with us and will never forsake us. Let us come to Him today to bring the wounds of our hearts to Him. 

Prayer: Jesus, I can’t imagine what it was like for You to hang on the cross, facing death alone. You truly know what it means to be abandoned, for You had no one to journey with to imminent death. Thank You that even in my times of despair, You are with me. Remind me today once again that You never fail and that You will be faithful to the end. In Your Name I pray. Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: 2 Timothy 4 


Lunch Break Study 

Read Psalm 25:16-22: “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. 17 Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish. 18 Look on my affliction and my distress and take away all my sins. 19 See how numerous are my enemies and how fiercely they hate me! 20 Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. 21 May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you. 22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all their troubles!”

Questions to Consider 

  1. Though it can be argued that David is the greatest Old Testament figure, a man after God’s own heart, yet we see his struggles in this Psalm. What are his struggles?
  2. How does David deal with such strong emotions?
  3. How do you respond when you find yourself beset by similar feelings? 

Note

  1. David confesses that he feels lonely and afflicted (v.16). His heart is troubled and he is anguished (v.17). There is an element of despair (v.19) as well as fear.
  2. David cries out to God and asks for God’s presence and grace (v.16). He asks for God’s protection amidst his enemies (v.19-20). He acknowledges that his hope is in the Lord and asks for His deliverance (v.21-22).
  3. Personal response. 

Evening Reflection

It is estimated that around 40 percent of the Psalms contain an element of lament, yet this is rarely highlighted in teaching or worship.  Ask God to help you lament well, that you would turn to Him daily just as David did.

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