December 26, Sunday

REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on February 23, 2014.

Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend

“Leaning on the Lord Even Without Trials in Our Lives”

2 Cor. 1:9

“In our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God who raised the dead.” 

Once, a professor gave a huge amount of material to study for the midterm to his freshmen class.  As anxiety grew in the room, the first-year students gasped and sighed loudly.  In the ensuing week, the professor, after tossing the graded exams on his desk, declared, “After I left here last week, the Lord spoke to me.  He really appreciated the midterm, saying, ‘Thanks, professor.  I haven’t heard from some of your students in years!’”  

Yes, there is nothing like trials in our lives to get us to pray. This is why after major calamities like the 9/11, people flock to churches the following Sunday.  Unfortunately, the shelf life of drawing near to God to seek His favor in time of felt-need is very brief.  

The greatest enemy to prayerlessness and drawing near to God is this: our prosperity.  God told the 8th century B.C. Prophet Hosea regarding people like you and I:  “I cared for you in the desert, in the land of burning heat.  When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me” (13:5-6). Does this mean losing our prosperity is a way to remember and return to God?

My father went to be with the Lord, but for the longest time he didn’t acknowledge God.  A rather wealthy man in Korea, he continued his disbelief in the U.S. even though he wasn’t as prosperous. Wanting desperately to see him turn to God, I finally prayed that God would take away what prosperity he still had so that he might turn to God.  In 1987, he came to California from the East Coast for my engagement.  One afternoon, as we were walking on the campus of my seminary, he said, “I lost my business but now I have God in my life and I am so joyous.”  It was a bittersweet moment.  Why bitter?  Because my dad added, “Your uncle gave you $1,000 for your engagement but I can only give you $100 because I need the rest.”  

My dad never wavered in his faith afterwards because his turning to God wasn’t to get a fast A on a mid-term, but the trial that singed him showed him his need for the Savior for every moment of his life.  At the age of 65, when elders at Presbyterian churches stop serving, my dad became one.   

Are you going through a trial? I hope it’s not as bad as the one that seared my dad.  Then again, he may say, “Why not, because ‘this happened that [I] might not rely on [myself] but on God?’” (2 Cor. 1:9).  Something to think about the next time when we face another around of trials.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You this morning.  LORD, even without trials in my life, I shall pray to You faithfully and lean on You. Thank You for loving me and taking care of me so thoroughly.  Amen. 

Bible Reading for Today: Philemon 1

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