Welcome to Day 4 of the Deeply Rooted Devotional! I pray that it has been a blessing to you to study God’s attributes and character, put your trust in Him, find your location to get into His word and surrender to the Holy Spirit’s teaching. We are drinking deeply from the source of our Spiritual nutrition.
Now that the vital first steps are complete, today we are ready to move on to the next part of verse 8 of Jeremiah 17, which says, “It does not fear when heat comes;”
When we’ve done our part as much as we can and are able, it’s time to trust the process. As we practice the discipline of meeting with God over His word daily, we can trust that we will be getting Spiritually stronger and stronger by the day. We’ve done our part to prepare and the Holy Spirit continually does His.
How well we’ve prepared will be tested. Verse 8 does not say “If heat comes,” but states, “When heat comes.” Read Matthew 5:45 and John 16:33. We’re to expect problems and troubles in our lives. Why? The simple answer is: because we still live in a broken world. This is irregardless of whether you are a child of God or not. The brokenness of this world touches every corner of creation.
Some problems that affect us may be consequences of our own decisions, but many times, it is a consequence of others’ actions. Even if we are not of the world, we are still in it. Read John 17:11.
Understandably, we may ask, “Why does God not show us special favour to His children? Why do the wicked still prosper when your beloved are deep in trials?” Read Psalm 94.
I think there are many ways we can answer that, and you may have heard many reasons for this, but may I suggest that we move our focus from “the why” to “the how” God uses this fact that we do suffer here on earth.
Let’s pause here and recall God’s attributes. Remember Who He is and Who He is not. God is not a sadistic abusive being who takes advantage of us. He doesn’t rejoice in our pain so that He can use it for His purposes. He weeps with us in our pain. His word promises that He is close to the brokenhearted. He promises to never tempt us beyond what we can bear. (Read 1 Corinthians 10:13) Our God is a God of principles. There are natural laws that take effect because of sin which humans are subject to until Jesus comes again to redeem the whole creation and create a new earth.
Don’t be mistaken, God is not subject to these natural laws, but we humans are because we are still a part of this current state of creation. How about miracles like parting the Red Sea, water from the rock, fire sent down from heaven at Mount Carmel, or the resurrection of Lazarus? I believe that where and when God performs miracles, it is to reveal His power to mankind –– not with the singular primary purpose to make us feel better.
Do not believe that the Creator of the Universe is ever at our beck and call to answer our prayers on our terms. But because all of God is good, because there is only goodness in Him and from Him, when God intervenes with His supernatural power into this world, His grace supernaturally overflows out the blessings that do indeed bring us physical comfort and safety. He parted the Red Sea to show the Israelites that He is almighty and they can trust in Him to save them from an impossible rescue by any mere man. God fed them water, manna, and quail to show them His loving-kindness in providing for His chosen people. He brought Lazarus back from the dead to show that He has power over death. When He brings supernatural healing today, it is to point us to Him to glorify His name. All this to point to His awe-some power over nature. And those who witness these miracles benefit from the overflow of the blessings of His majestic awe-inspiring display of power.
While we are still subject to the consequences of sin in the world, we must focus on the fact that the suffering can be used to mould us to be more like Jesus.
God doesn’t rejoice because of our pain, but He is determined use it. He will not let it ever go to waste. He is the Redeemer – the only One Who could ever redeem all the pain we’ve ever had. God will not waste your pain. He will not toss aside our pain and our tears when we give them to Him. He takes them and uses them to transform us. That is God’s desire and so it should be ours too. The thing is, it is actually up to us whether we partner with Him in this transformation or not. And we start that process by offering up to Him all the pain that’s ever been inflicted to us and the unforgiveness that we hold onto for Him to redeem.
And then we keep going knowing that there will still be trials ahead but praying that we will be ready that “when the heat comes”, we can trust that we will be strong and resilient enough to withstand it. Knowing God’s character, having a real loving relationship with Him, hiding His word in our hearts, may we not fear the heat but have courage and have faith in our prep work that we continually do with God.
Trust the process that the stored-up truth in our hearts and minds can get us through the troubles. God tells us to store up treasures in heaven. I believe that part of this is investing in eternal relationships with Him and with others. Yes, we we still in the world. And while our feet are still planted in this world, heavenly resources like God’s word, the fruits of our own prayers and the prayers of our faith community will guard our minds and hearts when heat comes. Because when our minds are set on things above, we can really focus on things that truly matter. Read Matthew 6:19-20, Colossians 3:1-15.
And thankfully, unlike the droughts that dry up natural rivers and resources for life, which literally evaporate, no drought can dry up our source of Living Water. There is no denying that the pain we experience is real, but when all around us is dire, dry, parched, and dead, we who have our lives in Christ can still send our roots to the stream and not only survive but thrive Spiritually.
What to do today: Write down what matters to you. Don’t think too hard about it. Don’t try to write down the “right answer”. Just take a couple of minutes to make a quick list. Then pray over it and ask God what matters to Him and take note of those.
Siree is co-founder and general manager of the Bangkok Christian Discipleship Center. She is a whole-person health and nutrition coach and speaker.