Our Daily Bread
- READ: 1 Corinthians 15:51-57
O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory? —1 Corinthians 15:55
a good portion of my life, I shared the perspective of those who rail
against God for allowing pain. I could find no way to rationalize a
world as toxic as this one.As
I visited people whose pain far exceeded my own, though, I was
surprised by its effects. Suffering seemed as likely to reinforce faith
as to sow doubt.My
anger about pain has melted mostly for one reason: I have come to know
God. He has given me joy and love and happiness and goodness. It leaves
me with faith in a Person, a faith so solid that no amount of suffering
can erode it.Where
is God when it hurts? He has been there from the beginning. He designed
a pain system that, in the midst of a fallen world, bears His stamp. He
transforms pain, using it to teach and strengthen us if we allow it to
turn us toward Him.He
has hurt and bled and cried and suffered. He has dignified for all time
those who suffer, by sharing their pain. But one day He will gather the
armies of heaven and will unleash them against the enemies of God. The
world will see one last terrifying moment of suffering before the full
victory is ushered in. Then God will create for us a new, incredible
world. And pain will be no more (Rev. 19:11–22:6). —Philip YanceyHe left His Father’s throne above,
So free, so infinite His grace!
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race. —Wesley
Pain will either turn us against God or draw us to Him.
- READ: Psalm 22:1-8,19-26
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord. Let your heart live forever! —Psalm 22:26
Do you know which psalm is quoted most often in the New Testament? You may have guessed the familiar and beloved 23rd Psalm, but actually it is
Psalm 22. This psalm begins with David’s poignant, heart-breaking words
that were quoted by Jesus on the cross, “My God, My God, why have You
forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34).
Imagine the situation David must have found himself in that caused him to cry
out to God in this way. Notice that he felt forsaken and abandoned: “Why are You so far from helping me?” (Ps. 22:1). He also felt ignored: “O
my God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear” (v.2).
Ever been there? Have you ever looked up into the heavens and wondered why
it seemed that God had abandoned you, or was ignoring you? Welcome to
David’s world. But for every plaintive cry David expresses, there is a
characteristic of God mentioned that rescues him from despondency.
Through it all, David discovers that God is holy (v.3), trustworthy
(vv.4-5), a deliverer and rescuer (vv.8,20-21), and his strength (v.19).
Do you feel forsaken? Seek the Lord. Rehearse His character. And “let your heart rejoice with everlasting joy” (v.26 nlt). —Dave Branon
Lord, sometimes I feel as if You don’t care about
my life. When those times come, please remind me
of Your character as You did David. Help me to
lean on You again and know that You are there.
Even when we don’t sense God’s presence, His loving care is all around us.