Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 30, 2016
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
As I write this, I am alone in a rented condo in northern Illinois. I decided to take a few days away from home to pray and seek the Lord. This morning, I sat in a chair next to the window and asked Him to speak to me as I read His Word. When I opened the Scripture, Matthew 6:24 caught my attention, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
I have to confess that in recent days, an insecurity has settled into my spirit about financial provision. I am not sure if it has to do with getting older and peering into an uncertain future, or something else. But deep down I feel it has to do with fear, an ungodly emotion that has taken my heart captive while I was unaware. I am thankful that this morning the Lord showed me the condition of my heart and invited me to trust Him with my tomorrows as I read the next verses in Matthew 6:25-27; 31-32.
“Therefore, [because you can’t serve God and money] I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? . . . So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.”
It hit me. “Oh, yes. The pagans—or unbelievers—run after these things to try and protect themselves and guarantee a secure future. They run after them in fear. They run after them in pride. They run after them in anxiety—and they are tormented and exhausted. But you have called me, Lord, to life and peace. In You there is no torment. There is no worry. There is just rest.”
Maybe you have been afraid God won’t provide so you have been worrying. Or, maybe you have been driven in an unhealthy way to succeed because you believe more money will guarantee security and peace—and just like a pagan, you are tormented. What’s the only answer? To trust in Christ, because there is no true security or peace apart from Him. But even trusting can seem impossible, right? I mean, how can you trust Him when you don’t trust Him? Thankfully, it’s not all up to us. When your faith feels weak and small, He gives grace (2 Corinthians 12:9). When you don’t feel mighty and filled with strength, He gives might and strength (Isaiah 40:30-31). Your job is to admit your inability to trust Him with your life, ask for forgiveness, tell Him you choose to trust Him and let Him give you the faith that you can’t give yourself.
Will you run after those things the pagans chase and experience torment, or will you choose to trust Him with your life and future?
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
PrayerLord, thank you that you are the only way to peace. Help me to live in this truth and not wear myself out trying to find security and peace in ways where there is no security or peace. Amen.
ApplicationTalk with the Lord about finding peace and security in Him.
Related Reading1 Peter 5:6-7; Matthew 6:34; Psalm 55:22
Post/Tweet todayTrust in Christ, because there is no true security or peace apart from Him. #WisdomHunters #trustinChrist
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A friend told me about WisdomHunters and has forwarded a couple of your postings from FaceBook. I’m hoping that through you God can help me deal with the loss of my daughter to cancer. I consider myself a “mature” Christian. I was raised in a Christian home, grew up in Bible believing churches, and married a Christian women, had three beautiful children that were raised the same way. I feel very blessed.
I have always had a heart for children. I loved holding babies, loved rocking children. Loved playing with them. I spent over 20 years serving in our churches children’s ministries.
My daughter was, what I referred to, “my island in the storm” from all of life’s problems. She was a very smart, pretty and God loving woman. She worked for a non profit Christian organization based in Milwaukee, WI called Telling The Truth. I was so proud of her. Even as she was growing up, I could look at her when her older and younger brothers were being terrors, and feel that everything was going to be alright. As I said, she was my island in the storm.
Well last year we could out she had breast cancer. She caught it really early on and we agreesively treated it. All of us, including her doctors thought we beat it. But a few months later she wasn’t feeling well and went it to be checked. They didn’t think it was the cancer and were checking other things, over the course of a couple more months it got worse and one day she was supposed to go in for testing but felt so bad and became so weak, they stopped the test and instructed us to get her to the ER immediately. We did and they found cancer in the bones of her back, cancer in her liver, cancer in her kidneys and even some in her lungs. On top of that, they thought she may have pneumonia. Further testing shoes that not to be pneumonia, but was worse, it was blood clots pooling in her lungs. Over the next 48 hours she deteriorated fast, we couldn’t treat the cancer until we got some better numbers from her kidneys and liver so we started kidney dialysis and immediately followed that with chemo. That poor girl was going through hell on earth. We lost her on April 1st. We were, and still are, totally devastated.
Here’s where I’m hoping you can help me.
I really do believe with my brain, head and mind that God is in control of all things. I have faith that all things happen according to His plan. I will never understand why this had to happen to my little girl but I’m trying to accept it as God’s plan. I do NOT accept that He was saving her from future pain and suffering from the cancer because I also believe He is powerful enough to heal her, if He so chose. The only thing that makes any sense regarding this is that I have to keep telling myself that we live in a fallen world and our status quo is a broken existence that is only survivable if we have asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins and turn ourselves over to him. In light of that I can understand that death, either by cancer, car accident, murder, etc, is the fallen worlds standard operating procedure and Jesus raises us out of that to spend eternity with him in heaven.
The problem I’m trying to work through is that my head, mind and logic tells me that God is still in control and has a plan, but my emotions and feelings are saying, ” He took my daughter away from us, knowing how much we needed her here”, and also that his plan seems to not care how much it hurts us so what’s next, is he going to take my wife or the rest of my kids or maybe even my grandkids. It seems that our feelings don’t matter. I’m struggling with two other points:
1. Is He “really” in control? Could He have changed the outcome if He wanted, or maybe He wasn’t powerful enough to heal her.
2. Does He even care if we are suffering down here during our short time on earth. Is our short time here so insignificant compared to the vastness of eternity, that in His eyes the short suffering we have isn’t important or is it even noticed by Him.
I realize that my comments are coming from the grief of a father that has lost his daughter, but I can’t seem to find the right scriptures or Godly advise on how to get back to trusting in God as a loving God and having confidence that He has a plan for ALL events that happen and that he is in fact still in control of everything. I’d like to think that He has a purpose for this struggle I’m having and that in the end I may be able to help other Christians, and maybe some non-Christians, deal with these thoughts I’m having. I feel that Satan has found my weakest spot and is using it to make me question God’s sovereignty.
I’d appreciate any guidance you can give me.
Thank you for reaching out to us. I have been out of town, so I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. As I read your story, my heart hurt for you and your loss. I could “feel” the sadness in your words but I am so thankful that you know our Heavenly Father as you walk through this time of grief. Brian, would you let me take some time (a few days) before I respond to you any more? I would like to pray over your story and ask our Lord to perhaps give me His Words to write. Please know, Brian, I will be praying for you and your family to feel His Peace about Melissa’s suffering. I cannot imagine what you must be feeling, but I do know that our Savior hears your cries and knows how your heart is hurting.
Please allow me some time to thoughtfully respond.
We are grateful for you, Brian.
I must say, Melissa sounded like an amazing young lady and you, my friend, sound like a Godly father.
If I may offer some encouragement, Brian. First, my sincere condolences to your family. I will be praying for you all in your time of grief.
I have never experienced the tragedy of losing a child. Many of my friends and family have lost beloved family members and dear friends who went to be with Jesus. But of all of their stories, I believe that God understands the most about what it means to lose a child. Jesus was not only crucified, but died an innocent man. God knows what it’s like to be grief stricken, angry, uncertain, and wanting answers but not always getting them. Melissa was His daughter, too.
I truly believe He grieves with us when we lose someone. Not a moment goes by when we aren’t on His mind. Matthew 10: 29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
As far as wondering if God is really in control, that is between Him and you. Many years ago, I strayed away from the faith because I believed I had too many questions and concerns to be a “good Christian.” Until I met a women’s ministry leader who told me, “God isn’t afraid of your doubt and questions.” So, don’t be afraid to boldly go before God and ask Him to give you faith and assurance in Him. If your child asked you the same thing, wouldn’t you do everything to show them how much you love them? How much more will God do it for you? Step out in faith (even a tiny step), and I guarantee you that God will meet you.
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