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 July 25, 2021: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost
Genesis 9:8-17 Psalm 136:1-9; Ephesians 3:14-21; Mark 6:45-56
I pray that out of his glorious riches he [the Father] may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Ephesians 3:16-19
In Ontario, as is much of the world, we are progressing through the re-opening stages as Covid 19 cases decline and the majority of the population is becoming vaccinated against this harmful and persistent virus. It feels so good to be coming to the end of lockdowns, isolations and working/learning/meeting/teaching/ worshipping only from home. Life has been difficult to say the least. However, looking back over the past 17 months, it has been through these times that I have clung to verses like today’s- the assurance of Christ’s love for us and that the Holy Spirit is dwelling in us, that we are never alone and that through Jesus we have his strength and guidance to endure.
The social, professional, relational, technological, emotional, and psychological trials that we were faced with due to the virus and restrictions were many. We were faced with loneliness, too much time to ‘think’, family conflicts, being separated from loved ones, and so much more. Then there were all the challenges of work life, whether needing to go to work everyday in total fear for yourself, your family and those with whom you came into contact. Or were required to work virtually from home and the challenges of isolation, being bombarded with and learning new technology in order to do your job, trying to communicate and feel connected virtually, and even being misunderstood through such communication. Then there were those who lost their jobs and the business owners who were required to fully shut down; all of whom were consumed with how to make ends meet. Finally, besides all of these life circumstances, there were the millions of people who contracted Covid and feared for their lives. For those who did survive they may continue to live with long term side effects. And then there are the families who have lost loved ones to this deadly virus. Yes, these past several months have bombarded all of us with opportunities to be overwhelmed and feelings of defeat, no matter what your Covid life looked like.
Thankfully, through it all, if nothing else, these trying days made many people- they made me- cling to the Lord even more. On days when my mind kept wanting to condemn me, the fact that I am forgiven through the blood of Jesus, gave me hope. On the days when I felt alone, knowing Jesus was with me gave me joy. On the days when household family members got on my nerves, remembering Jesus’ love for them gave me patience. On the days when work was overwhelming, trusting that I can do all things through Jesus who gives me strength, gave me endurance.
There wasn’t a day I didn’t need the reminder of God’s presence and strength in my life during these difficult months, and as we move into the world’s re-opening, I pray that I continue to crave Jesus in each and every day, the easy ones along with the difficult ones. And as a beloved and redeemed child of God, through Jesus, I pray this for you as well. May the love and trust in Jesus’ love and presence in your life, and the assurance of life with him now and for eternity through his death and resurrection, be on your heart each and every morning for the remainder of your days.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank-you for your word through which I am reminded of your love, strength, faithfulness, and presence in my life. Thank you for being with me always, especially through the past year and a half. Now as the world moves back into a new normal, please continue to guide my heart to seek you every morning and throughout every day. In Jesus’ name I pray. AMEN!