Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well, and that this devotion finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy!
Readings for February 21, 2021; First Sunday in Lent
Genesis 22:1-18; Psalm 25:1-10; James 1:12-18; Mark 1: 9-15
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. James 1:12
When I was a young adult and beginning my life as an independent woman, I remember the first time when adult life smacked me across the face and independent living came with very unpleasant consequences. Although seemingly silly now, I remember the first time I had the stomach flu after leaving my parents’ home. I remember being crouched down with what seemed the weight of the world on me, while my strength permitted me to lift my heavily burdened torso off the floor to a maximum height of about 18 inches, and thankfully that was all I needed. There was no one to hold my head. I had to do it myself. There was no one to tell me sweet encouraging words, nor was there any Jello or gingerale miraculously at my bedside. I had to do it all by myself. I missed my Mom! I never realized the simple strength she gave me when I felt my worst. I learned then and there, that adulthood required self-perseverance, especially through its trials.
No, no one could do it for me anymore. I was responsible for holding my own head up, for picking myself up off the floor, and for taking care of myself. Yet, at that moment, I also knew I was weak. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. Oh it may have only been the stomach flu, but the feelings I felt at that time, paved the way for the many trials that I have had to endure in my adult life as I walk this earth.
It was then that everything I learned and heard in Sunday School and Sunday Worship service about Jesus was all I could cling to. It was especially then that I thanked God for my faith in him, my Saviour and Lord. Yes, I had learned about and believed that Jesus, the Saviour of the World, loved me so much that he died for me, and that he would never leave me nor forsake me, and that I could go to him in my weariness and I would find rest in him. It was then that I called upon the Lord, not to help me do well on a test or to let a certain boy like me, etc, but to simply collapse into him. It was then I called upon Him in utter weakness and unworthiness. And it was then that he taught me that in Him I am never alone. That he was there not only holding my head, but carrying me when I could go on no longer.
Well over the years and decades, I have endured more serious trials. And in all trials, my perseverence was by the grace of God at my side, as I clung to his Word of love and mercy, and trusted that my Lord and Saviour, through his Spirit, would never leave me nor forsake me. Even as trials enter my life now, I can only trust in the redeeming arms of Jesus to catch me and get me through. Yes, even if death is at the end of the next trial, then there too Christ will be with me, closer than he’s ever been before, for then I would see him face to face, and enter that life eternal in his presence forever.
Therefore, may I encourage you as you endure your trials- and you will endure trials- that you do not give up and turn from your Saviour, but depend on him even more than you ever have. No matter what your mind or the world says, deny the temptations to turn from his truth or to question your faith in Him and his ways, and collapse into Him. Do not try to do it on your own. For only in Jesus can we deny our own desires and temptations, lay down our burdens and guilt, persevere through this life’s trials and tribulations, and finally, receive the crown of life with Him forever.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, life is full of trials. Please be my source of comfort and strength as I endure mine. Forgive me when I am tempted to turn from trusting you to get me through and take things into my own hands. Finally, when the trial that brings me to my eternal home is upon me, be with me, as you promised. In your name I pray. AMEN!