December 13, Friday

Today’s AMI QT Devotional, written by Pastor Yohan Lee who previously served at Remnant Church (NYC), Radiance Christian Church (SF) and Grace Covenant Church (Philadelphia), was first posted on December 18, 2013.

 

Devotional Thought for Today

“What Crying Babies and Restless Christians Have in Common”

Psalm 131:1-3

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. 2 But I have stilled and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. 3 O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.”

Our church (GCC) has become quite a “baby factory,” having around 25 births in the last five years.  My wife, who has given birth to four kids during this span, has become quite an expert in the newborn stage, particularly in the area of “sleep training”—training infants to fall asleep as they sooth themselves to bedtime verses.  Meanwhile, we hold and rock them until they fall asleep; once they do, we put them in the crib, and then tiptoe out of the room, hoping that they don’t wake up. Amazingly, after a few months our babies typically sleep well over 11 hours at night. This is quite a contrast to some untrained babies who wake up every three or four hours for up to a year.

The sleep training is incredibly hard at first because babies can cry up to 90 minutes before they fall asleep.  For the parents, those first few days are beyond excruciating and heart-wrenching, for the sound of their cry is worse than nails on a chalkboard.  Many become anxious, tense, sad, and constantly second-guessing if what they are doing is right. But after about a week of regimented training, the payoff comes; within five minutes, the baby is asleep with barely a peep. 

Although there is a difference between a weaned child and one who is trained to sleep, the analogy is similar.  The picture of a satisfied and contented child is compared favorably with that of a person who is at peace with the Lord, though he does not understand everything about God or his own life.  Having surrendered his life before the will of the Lord, he is content no matter the circumstances of life. Conversely, the one who constantly seeks control and overthinks about God, that person is likely to be restless as a wailing infant longing for sleep.  

Are you content to trust in the Lord even when you don’t have all the answers?  Do you need to be in control of everything all the time? Here is a better way: study to understand and make plans to succeed but always find rest for your soul in Christ (Matt. 11:29); spend daily meaningful time with Him.

Prayer: Lord, help me to stop trying to controll everything around me; instead, remind me to simply trust in Your goodness, knowing that the One who didn’t spare His own Son to forgive my sins and give me eternal life, is absolutely trustworthy.  Amen.

Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 61


Lunch Study Break

Read Job 42:1-6: Then Job replied to the Lord: 2 “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. 3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Questions to Consider

  1. What did Job learn about God?
  2. What did Job learn about himself?  
  3. What was Job’s ultimate response?  What can we learn from his example?

Notes

For those who are unfamiliar with this book: Satan gets God’s permission to harm Job, but not because of anything he did wrong.  Job asks why he had to go through this ordeal but none of his friends can give an adequate answer. Claiming his blamelessness and innocence, Job boldly asks God for an explanation, to which no direct answer is given; instead, He reminds Job of who God is, His power and wisdom.  Job’s response to the Lord’s rebuke is found above. 

  1. Job was reminded that God’s power is limitless and His purpose unstoppable.  
  2. Job learned that compared to the Lord, his understanding was limited.  In fact, there are many things that the Lord knows that are too “wonderful” for us to understand.  
  3. First, Job repents.  But more importantly, Job discovered the difference between knowing about God and knowing God (42:5).  In your struggles, does your academic knowledge of God turn into a deep living relationship with him? That’s the difference between information and truth.  Truth liberates (Jn. 8:32); too much knowledge can puff up (1 Cor. 8:1) and neutralize the emotion. 

The book of Job ultimately deals with the issue of why bad things happen to good people. There is never an easy explanation, but Job’s struggle was a spiritual battle.  We can also say that sometimes God allows/uses our sufferings to defeat Satan and gain glory for Himself. 


Evening Reflection

If you haven’t already, consider one thing that you are struggling to understand in your walk with Christ.  Are you any closer to having peace, despite not understanding, than you were last night? Is there someone who is struggling with a similar issue that you can pray for and speak with?

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