UPDATED Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor David Kwon who heads Journey Community Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, is an updated version of his blog first posted on November 13, 2013. He is a graduate of Drexel University (BS) and Columbia International University (M.Div.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“A Reminder to Us When We Are Going through a Trial”
Psalm 102:1-22 (NIV)
Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you. 2 Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly. 3 For my days vanish like smoke; my bones burn like glowing embers. 4 My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food. 5 In my distress I groan aloud and am reduced to skin and bones. 6 I am like a desert owl, like an owl among the ruins. 7 I lie awake; I have become like a bird alone on a roof. 8 All day long my enemies taunt me; those who rail against me use my name as a curse. 9 For I eat ashes as my food and mingle my drink with tears 10 because of your great wrath, for you have taken me up and thrown me aside. 11 My days are like the evening shadow; I wither away like grass. 12 But you, Lord, sit enthroned forever; your renown endures through all generations. 13 You will arise and have compassion on Zion, for it is time to show favor to her; the appointed time has come. 14 For her stones are dear to your servants; her very dust moves them to pity. 15 The nations will fear the name of the Lord, all the kings of the earth will revere your glory. 16 For the Lord will rebuild Zion and appear in his glory. 17 He will respond to the prayer of the destitute; he will not despise their plea. 18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: 19 “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, 20 to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” 21 So the name of the Lord will be declared in Zion and his praise in Jerusalem 22 when the peoples and the kingdoms assemble to worship the Lord.
When we’re going through times of difficulty, particularly during this season of COVID-19 and social unrest, the last things we want to hear are the all-too-familiar platitudes like, “Everything happens for a reason!” or “God is working on you for your own good!” Not that those things aren’t true (because they are), but when we are lost in the thick darkness or parched in the wilderness of life, they bring little comfort.
The psalmist, having offered this prayer while going through a tough trial, shows us how to deal with hardships in our lives. First, the psalmist goes before God, and there, he honestly shares the awfulness of his circumstances and pleads for relief through a divine intervention. He doesn’t blame God for His problems, rather, he acknowledges God’s sovereignty over them. Second (and most importantly), the psalmist remembers who God is: a loving Father who cares for His children and the things that matter to them; He never leaves or abandons them. And this is not a mere platitude for the psalmist; it’s a conviction based on God’s very reliable track record.
Are you going through a tough time today? Let this Psalm encourage you. Go to God and tell Him exactly how you’re feeling. Plead for His intervention while acknowledging His great love and faithfulness. Subsequently, you may see that your difficult moment is more than bearable. It is also a great opportunity to store up fond memories of God’s care so that we will be encouraged even more the next time when trials come our way.
Prayer: Lord, our country is going through really a rough time right now. As our lives are being affected by it, may it change us for better by way of aligning ourselves to God’s will—His good, pleasing and prefect will. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 16
Lunch Break Study
Read Isaiah 40:27-31 (ESV): “Why do you complain, Jacob? Why do you say, Israel, ‘My way is hidden from the Lord; my cause is disregarded by my God’? 28 Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. 29 He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 30 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary they will walk and not be faint.”
Questions to Consider
- What do verses 27 and 28 tell you about our typical response to times of difficulty?
- What does Isaiah remind his readers in the remaining verses? How do his words encourage you?
- What does Isaiah remind us when we are going through a trial?
- When the going gets tough, we often overlook God’s control in our lives, forgetting that He knows everything and that His eyes are always upon us. Instead of being comforted from knowing that our sovereign God has a heart full of love for us, we often get worried or anxious. We complain about our circumstances while some of us even complain about our God.
- In Isaiah’s day, God’s people responded to difficulties in quite the same way: complaining and losing sight of God. The prophet, therefore, reminds them of who God really is. First, the Lord, being omnipotent, doesn’t get tired or quit when the going gets tough. Second, being omnipresent, God not only knows all things but is in control of them at all times. Lastly, the faithful Lord is committed to those who hope in Him; He strengthens and sustains them through even the fiercest storms of life.
- It’s easy to lose sight of God when times are difficult, even forgetting just how good God is; occasionally, we feel as if He has forgotten us. But Isaiah reminds us to keep our hope in Him! Hebrews 10:23 tells us to hold on without wavering in our hope because our God is faithful. Have you lost sight of God’s faithfulness? Take sometime to declare the faithfulness of God and your hope in Him. Meditate on Isaiah’s declaration today and let it encourage you.
When I was in college, I watched a video of Pastor Louis Giglio talking about God’s glory as seen in the human body (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0-NPPIeeRk). I remember being so encouraged by the ways in which God truly holds all things together in my life and in this world. Romans 8:32 tells us that “He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.” The cross is the greatest reminder that God has our back. Even when life is difficult, we know that God has already gone to the greatest length imaginable on our behalf (in sending His son to die for our sins). How much more will He hold us together in times of storm?