REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 29, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Mourning with Those Who Mourn”
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.”
I felt quite nervous when I was asked to teach an intensive course for a week in Pachuca, Mexico in 2002. Our family had just moved to Chihuahua, in northern Mexico a year before, and this was the first time traveling to southern Mexico. Since my Spanish was still shaky, my eyes would be glued to a prepared manuscript whenever I taught or preached. Speaking while looking freely around the audience was the next step, but I wasn’t necessarily up for that challenge: Ironically, that “opportunity” came during this trip.
Mexico has a small middleclass, but the family that hosted me, the Panyaguas (“bread and water”), definitely was one. They owned a mid-size tech company and a modern house with ample space; yet, right away I sensed their sadness. I found out later that their college aged son, having snuck out at night to party, drove his car right into a wall and died, while trying to return home in the morning. Their pain being still raw as well as their anger, the mother said to me in anguish, “He was so handsome and smart; everything was all there for him. He was so STUPID!” While my heart ached for her, I didn’t know what to do except to say, “I am so sorry.”
The Saturday morning on the day of my departure, my heart was pounding with a desire to minister to this family. Not having a text prepared in Spanish, however, I wasn’t sure whether my Spanish was good enough to convey what was in my heart; nevertheless, I had to do it. So, after asking God for help, I approached the grieving couple and spoke to them from my heart while looking into their eyes. I read some scriptures and then prayed for God’s comfort to carry them.
I learned two things that day: first, overcoming fear of doing something (good) by doing that very thing with God’s help; two, the importance of “mourn[ing] with those who mourn.”
Perhaps, someone near you is going through pain and grief, and you feel awkward, not knowing what to say or do. Ask God to give you wisdom and to help you overcome that initial fear. Maybe, all that the person needs is a hug from you today.
Prayer: Father God, how I appreciate You for allowing your Son to suffer so that we don’t have to. I thank You for your compassion towards helpless sinners like us who, apart from your grace and mercy, are doomed to eternal damnation. Oh God of comfort, thank You for being such an awesome Lord. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 13
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 7:11-14 (NIV): Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. 12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. 13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”
John 9:1-3: As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
Questions to Consider
1. What caught the attention of Jesus while he was on his way to the town gate? What does that say about him?
2. Looking at the reaction of the disciples upon seeing a blind man from birth, what is one thing that keeps us from having compassion for those who need it?
3. Can you think of anyone who is in need of compassion? We may not be able to literally raise the dead, but we can encourage those who live without hope, love, or purpose,
1. Jesus caught the sight of a grieving mother who had just lost her only son, causing his heart to go out to her; that is, he felt compassion towards her. This showed that no matter how busy Christ was, he always had time (or made time) to minister to the brokenhearted.
2. The disciples were too interested in the theology of “why people suffer” to muster any sympathy toward the one who desperately needed it. When we measure the merits of our faith by how much we know or studied, helping people with our hands may seem as though it were beneath us.
3. Does anyone at work seem discouraged or rattled? Don’t theorize why they are like that; invite them to lunch and think about at least one nice thing to say to that person.
As you are wrapping up this day, did you run into anyone who needed some encouragement? Perhaps, it is you who needs it. Spend some time with the Lord, so that you may be strengthened and comforted in Christ.