Weekly Devotionals – 10 July 2023

Life can be full of trials at times. It can be a bed of thorns rather than roses for some of us. During those times, we know we need to trust God and pray. Yet, we can be so overwhelmed and tormented that finding rest and the right words to pray can be hard. When we finally muster the words to pray, our weary and defeated spirits can only whisper prayers of deliverance.

God is always with us, no matter what we face. I pray that we will all meet God in our lonely places. I’ve read the following somewhere before, “At our lowest, God is our hope. At our darkest, God is our light. At our weakest, God is our strength. At our saddest, God is our comforter”.

Unfortunately, God may not always deliver us from our trials in the ways we envisioned. In our grave disappointments, we may question where God is, and some of us get to the brink of losing our faith in God. But it is hard to encounter God moving in our lives and circumstances when we have already stubbornly decided what we want Him to do for us.

In the process of trusting God in our trials, waiting is necessary. We often only focus on the act of praying and the results of our prayers. But between our desperate prayers and God’s intervention is a season of waiting. How much waiting is too much? By whose time are we measuring time? Our delay may not be His delay.

Like Paul in 2 Corinthians 12, God’s answers to our prayers may not necessarily be to remove the thorns in our flesh. He may choose to let the thorns remain exactly where they are, but provide us with the grace to endure the thorns. God has His reasons and purposes for us that we may not understand yet. Perhaps it was to humble us like it was for Paul. Maybe it was to mould our character, refine us, and help us to learn to depend on and praise God in all circumstances. Maybe deliverance is coming in a different way. Each of us must enquire of the Lord personally about what He seeks to do in each of our trials. Will you still trust Him even if you don’t see the results you hope for? Will your faith in God remain strong even if He chooses not to deliver you?

God has His way of bringing good things out of wrong turns. He promises to work all things out for good to those who love Him. We may not comprehend what He is accomplishing yet. He is God. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours. But we will, in time to come, when He has put all the pieces of our broken lives together. Our pain is deep, but God’s grip on us is even tighter. Even when things are spiraling out of our control, God is still in full control. Will you give Him full control over your life?

When we replace our prayers of “Why is this happening to me?” with “Use my trials for your glory!”, everything changes. It changes how we respond and how we cope. We will stop seeing God as a vending machine and prayers as coins we slot into the vending machine to get what we want. We will stop bargaining with God. We will stop blaming God. We will be less fixated on deliverance from our trials. Instead, we can confidently pray for God to accomplish His will. We can humbly ask God to use our pains to achieve a greater good and to give Him glory. We can continue to make the best of our days. It is easy for us to give thanks when God gives. But how many of us can still truly give thanks when He takes or when He withholds? Let us ask God to help us be like Job and be thankful to God in all circumstances.

As we pray and wait patiently for a breakthrough, let us trust God wholeheartedly and be open to whatever God wants to achieve through our trials. Even though it is easier said than done, we can do it not by our strength but with God’s divine help. C.S. Lewis once said, “Life with God is not immunity from difficulties, but peace in difficulties”. I pray that we can all experience divine peace despite our great trials. We can’t orchestrate this peace. It comes only when we fully surrender our brokenness to God.

Monday: John 16:33
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
Tuesday: James 1:12
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.
Wednesday: Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
Thursday: Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Friday: Psalm 34:17-18
The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Saturday: Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed. For I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Sunday: Psalm 62:8
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.

All scriptures are quoted from the New International Version (NIV).
By Katherine Han