Monday: Genesis 46
Tuesday: Luke 2
Wednesday: Psalm 13
Thursday: Galatians 1
Friday: Genesis 46, Luke 2, Psalm 13, Galatians 1
Monday, Genesis 46
My eyes fill with tears to imagine such a glorious reunion! After so many years, the son that Jacob thought was dead and gone is restored to him! And through this son, Jacob and his family are richly blessed and provided for. His greatest sorrow has become his great joy and God’s great provision.
And on the cross, our greatest sorrow – separation from God because of sin! – became His greatest joy and now ours.
And I know, it can be hard to translate this to the every-day. Sometimes we look at our great sorrows and we just can’t imagine how God is going to use them, how He even could turn them into joy or provision. But His word says “our trials make us partners with Christ in His suffering so that we will have the wonderful joy of seeing His glory” (1 Peter 4:13) and that “our light and momentary troubles (even when they don’t feel light and momentary) are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Corinthians 14:17). Because of this, because of Christ, we can believe that one day, all of our greatest sorrows will reap joy and provision in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Through years of tears and grieving Jacob had no idea that he would one day embrace his beloved son again. He had no idea that in fact, one day this beloved son would save his entire family from famine and death.
It is safe to say we have no idea right now what God might bring about as a result of sorrow that we are carrying today. But we know enough about His character to know He will bring about our good, our joy, and our provision, too.
What is causing you deep sorrow today?
Can you trust that God will use even this for good (either here on earth or in eternity)?
What does it look like to press into Him for joy even now in the midst of sorrow?
Tuesday, Luke 2
Quietly, humbly, the Savior is born into the world. Tiny, helpless, wrapped in cloth and placed in a feeding trough, He is the picture of vulnerability. And yet for those who have eyes to see, He is the picture of power, glory, and strength. The shepherds trust God’s message enough to run and see, and they behold joy. Simeon trusts the Lord enough to wait and believe, and he beholds Jesus.
When we believe Him, we will behold Him.
Pay attention to where you see Christ at work today.
How can you believe His promises and behold Him in your every day?
Wednesday, Psalm 13
I imagine David’s cry may have been similar to Jacob’s cry to the Lord when he thought his son was dead. It is certainly similar to my cry out to the Lord in my own suffering. This is gut-wrenching honesty from a man in deep pain. Graciously, God allows even David’s complaints and questions to draw him into greater faith. While the beginning of Psalm 13 finds David questioning His Lord, by the end David feels confident in God’s steadfast love once again. His circumstance hasn’t changed yet, but his heart posture has, because he chooses to sing in the middle of his storm.
His honest cry out to God draws him into praise of the Lord and trust in His certain deliverance.
Where in your life are you still waiting for resolution?
Can you sing and praise God even before resolution has occurred?
I invite you this week to practice honestly expressing your pain to God, honestly asking Him the deep questions of your heart, and then praising Him even when you do not have the answers yet. I believe that in our deep heart cries He will draw us closer to Himself, deeper into His steadfast love.
Thursday, Galatians 1
There is no other Gospel but the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, unfortunately, we are living in a culture where the Gospel has become cheapened and distorted. This isn’t new, though. Even thousands of years ago, faithfulness to the true Gospel often resulted in hardship and persecution. Paul makes the bold decision to choose pleasing God over pleasing people, and he invites us to do the same.
We are all hard-wired for approval, and we often seek it from those around us. Is the free love, acceptance, and approval of God in Christ enough for us? Can we live fully satisfied by the Gospel even if it brings momentary hardship or persecution our way? If this Gospel can save Paul, who tortured Christians and sought to destroy the church, then surely this grace is sufficient for us. How can we live content in the sufficiency of the Gospel today?
I love that it was after Jacob stepped out in faith, after Jacob packed up all His belongings and “set out with all that was his,” after he made his first sacrifices to God, that God spoke to Him. Those words that The Lord is most famous for, “Do not be afraid,” weren’t spoken before Jacob started out, but after he was already on His way.
I am learning in these strange, in-between days, that while sometimes God does give us complete direction on the front end, often we must take the step that we think He has called us to and then He will continue to give direction and guidance. Proverbs 3:5-6 comes to mind: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
When we trust Him enough to move, even when we don’t see the whole plan yet, He will direct our paths. When we acknowledge that He is God and we are not, He is in control and we are not, He promises to show us the way.
It wasn’t until Jacob started his journey that God revealed to him the rest of the plan. It wasn’t until Peter stepped out of the boat that he was enabled to walk on water. It isn’t until we reach out in humility that we can truly be part of reconciliation. It isn’t until we make ourselves vulnerable that we can enter into deep, meaningful relationships. Often, it isn’t until we take the first step that God begins to reveal more of the plan to us.
The shepherds obey God and run to Bethlehem, and behold the Savior. Paul obeys God and goes to Arabia (instead of consulting with other men) and God reveals the full Gospel to him. Imagine the joy the shepherds would have missed if they had not followed the angels instruction, or the joy Jacob would have missed if he hadn’t started toward Goshen. Imagine the thrill Peter would have missed out on if he had never gotten out of the boat, or the millions who would never know the Gospel if Paul hadn’t begun his journey. They didn’t know the whole plan, but they took the first step.
Usually, the first step is the scariest, especially when we can’t see what is up ahead. I like to know the whole plan, the whole path, the whole story. But I can say with confidence that the best and most meaningful choices of my life have been the baby steps of obedience I’ve taken, fully trusting Him when I can’t see the whole picture.
And no matter what our next step is, this is our great assurance, this is what the Lord, our God, says to us: Do not be afraid. I will go with you.
Where is He asking you to step out in obedience in this season?