Thursday, May 22, 2008

4 Minute Devotions: How Long Will this Go On?

We all go through troubling times and sometimes we feel abandoned by God. During those moments of fear and despair, God is always with us, waiting for the right time to save and deliver us, comfort and embrace us.

Psalm 13:2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?

About two years ago, our wee church went through a time of turmoil that caused me a lot of worry and sleepless nights. The issue affected the well-being of the whole congregation and there seemed to be a heavy atmosphere of gloom and doom amongst us. Worship attendance declined and offerings went down. We lost a handful of members and found it tough to recruit new ones.

The trouble seemed to be never-ending and we couldn’t move forward for a while. All our plans were put on hold and we felt as though we were sliding back. It was a terrible time and most of my prayers included a “How long, O Lord” section in them each day.

But God is good and He works in wonderful ways. Instead of dividing the church, the incident caused us to depend more on God and each other. After two long years, our worship attendance is bigger than what is was before and our offerings are up by 20%. There’s a better atmosphere across the church and we’re spiritually healthier than we ever have been. It took a lot of hard work, wrestling, and patience, but God has worked wonders and empowered us to be more faithful. It has been a hard lesson to learn, but in the end, it is an extremely important one.

Some of the old psalms are about similar times and experiences. God’s faithful people are constantly being spiritually challenged and go through some seriously turbulent times. During those moments of unrest and unease, the people cry out to God for deliverance. They complain about their troubles and bemoan the fact that God does not appear to be doing anything to help them.

Yet in the end, God always shines through. His timing is different from our own, but His timing is always best. We may wrestle with our worries and be afflicted with our concerns; we may feel abandoned by God and outside of His grace; but more often as not, He delivers us; He rescues us; He saves us from despair. We may go through a “how long” experience, and then discover that God is with us every second, every hour, and every day of our troubles. We may let go of Him at times, but God never lets go of us.

Prayer: Lord God, there are times in our lives when we feel impatient, insecure, and anxious. We feel isolated and vulnerable, abandoned and alone. Teach us to depend upon You in ways that will make us better comprehend Your ways. Grant us faith to overcome fear and strength to defeat our sorrow. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.

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