From the Pastor's Devotion
In my devotional time I came upon a passage I’ve read numerous times, but this time it came with a bothersome question – as though whispered to me. From Luke 18:2-8, in the story of the Persistent Widow who implores an unjust judge to grant her request. Because of the widow’s constant plea, the judge finally gave in to her. When comparing this kind of earthly relationship to the relationship we have with our heavenly Father, Jesus asked, “Don’t you think God will surely give justice to His chosen people who cry out to Him day and night?”
But then the Lord poses a question, “When the Son of Man returns, (referring to His second coming) how many will He find on the earth who have faith?”
How many will be waiting on Him? How many are believing in Him? How many are trusting and obeying Him and seeking His will in their daily lives?
At first, that sounds like an easy question for anyone who’s reading through the Bible for their devotion time. “I have faith! He will find me!”
But then the whispered question: “What does faith look like — in His eyes?”
What does faith look like? Here are a couple answers to that question:
1. Trusting the Lord — Throughout the Bible we are exhorted again and again to trust in the Lord. We are warned against trusting in princes, in riches, or in ourselves; for all such trust is vain.
But what does trust mean? It does not mean carelessness or indifference. Just to let things go and say, "Oh, I guess it will come out all right," is not trusting. Just drifting heedlessly with the tide is not trust. Neglect is not trust. Trust is something positive. It is a real something, not a mere happenstance or maybe-so. It is a definite attitude of soul and mind, a realization of our own need and of God's sufficiency.
Trusting God means that no matter what battle you may be in, no matter how many enemies you feel you are facing, you know that God will not let them win. God has a plan to deliver you from whatever has a hold on you. Trusting in God means you believe that anxiety, depression, addiction, gossip, persecution, you name it ...God will not let it defeat you. Trusting in Him means that you believe He has a plan for your life. You trust in His ways. You are not able to see the finish line or what is to come in the future, but you trust that it is good.
2. Serving the Lord — Serving the Lord is another way of expressing your trust in Him. It is faith in action. The Bible tells us in Ephesians 2:10, For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago. The Father has a plan for you, and that plan was formed long before we came to the planet. I believe we discover opportunities in our everyday life to serve Him by doing good in the needs and circumstances we find in others. And we don’t have to look far – for there are “good things” to do within our homes, for our spouses, our children, and our parents.
But there will be other “good things” that come across our path. I’m not talking about the pan handler at the intersection holding the sign asking for food or money. We know these are often a scan. But when you look into your community with your eyes and ears open, you will discover other ways to do good for the needs we find around us. Keep your mind focused onto God’s “cell tower,” and He will lead you!
3. Waiting on the Lord through trials and troubles — Life is not predictable. There are ups and downs along the way. Many of us want to trust God. When times are good, it can feel easier. But when times feel difficult, it is important to trust God. God’s unchanging character can give us a firm foundation when things feel unsteady and uncertain.
Life can be going along smoothly for a season. Your job is satisfying. Your friends and family are enjoyable. Your goals, finances, health and outlook seem bright. Then, all of a sudden, life throws a curveball. Someone you know gets sick. You lose your job. A friend or family member betrays you. The things you felt secure in all of a sudden feel shaky and uncertain.
Brittany Yesudasan wrote in a blog: “To trust is to believe in the reliability, truth, ability or strength of something. So, when it comes to trusting God, that means believing in His reliability, His Word, His ability, and His strength. The Bible says that God cannot lie. That He always keeps His promises. He loves you and has good in store for you. Trusting in Him means believing what He says about Himself, about the world and about you is true.
“Trusting God is more than a feeling; it’s a choice to have faith in what He says even when your feelings or circumstances would have you believe something different.”
4. Believing that the coincidences in life are from God, and are experiences from which to learn — This ties in to what we’ve said earlier about trusting God and waiting on Him through our trials and troubles. The Bible says, We know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. (Romans 8:28) Though it can be hard to believe, God is able to use our worst experiences for a greater good. There is plenty of evil and manipulating people in our communities and our world whose influence is often dumped onto us.
Our hope in difficult times is not based on positive thinking, wishful thinking, or natural optimism. Hope is a certainty based on the truth that God is in complete control of our universe and that He loves us. Max Lucado says, “I think it’s one of the most helpful, comforting verses in the entire Bible. (Referring to Romans 8:28) It announces God’s sovereignty in any painful, tragic situation we face. Why? Because we know God is at work for our good! He uses our struggles to build character. So what do we do? We trust. Totally! And we remember... God is working for the good.”
5. Worshiping with openness — Praising and worshiping God become the expressions of our affirmation, that God is in all things! He can be praised for the good providence of “our daily bread,” and we can learn from the witness in Scripture and the teachings how to find His good through the negative and tragic experiences of life. Within the community of believers we find comfort and encouragement within their love! We are trusting that He is present for us in this important setting of worship and that we can connect with Him there!
Blessings to You!
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Steele Memorial United Methodist Church
P.O. Box 346
733 Shaw Street
Barboursville, WV 25504