REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Barry Kang who heads Symphony Church in Boston, is an updated version of his blog first posted on April 9, 2013. He is a graduate of Stanford University (BA), Fuller Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (D.Min.).
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“The God Who Feels Our Pain”
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
There are times in our lives when our hearts are broken, when our spirits are crushed with defeat, discouragement or fear. In those times, God can seem very far away. Our prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling. We don’t see evidence of God’s blessing or grace. But the Psalmist reminds us that even in those times (and perhaps especially in those times), God is close. God promises his presence and care.
God is not just near-by from a spatial perspective. He is emotionally close to those who are hurting. God is compassionate and caring, and is moved by our suffering. The God who was revealed in Jesus is a God who feels our pain even as he brings peace and comfort. There was no pain that God in Jesus did not endure. On the cross, Jesus experienced all of our pain and wounded-ness.
Furthermore, as the body of Christ, we are reminded to draw near to the broken-hearted. With our hands, God can feed the hungry and heal the sick. With our arms, God can embrace the suffering.
Have you experienced the nearness of God in the midst of broken-heartedness? Let’s ask God to open our eyes to sense his nearness and compassion today.
Prayer: Father, thank You for being near to the broken-hearted. Open the eyes of my heart, that I may see the reality of Your nearness. Help me to be Your hands and feet today so that others may sense Your nearness also. In Jesus’s name, I pray. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 14
Lunch Break Study
Read Matthew 25:31-40 (NIV): “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ 37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’”
Questions to Consider
- Who are the ones that Jesus will choose for his inheritance?
- Who are the “least of these brothers of mine”? What does this tell us about Jesus? (c.f. Acts 9:4)
- How will true followers of Jesus act toward fellow members of the church? (c.f. Genesis 12:3)
- It is amazing to consider that Jesus personally identifies with every single member of the church. When Saul persecuted the church in Acts 9, Jesus asked Saul why he was persecuting him. We too then must view one another as Jesus’s representatives on this earth. Could it be that when we bless one another, we are blessed? When we curse one another, we are cursed?
- Those who are troubled and in great need
- Of course, our compassion must extend outside of the church as well. But we must begin by loving our brothers and sisters in Christ.
Did you experience the nearness of God today? Did you receive love or give love to another member of the body? Write of ways that you experienced love today and ask God to help you consider ways to draw near to brothers and sisters who are broken-hearted.