John 16:33 “I have told you these things so that in ME you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!”
The Cry of HIS Own!
What content might HE hear that hasn’t been already shared?,
said my weary soul confessing to the mirror’s empty frame.
“With petitions daily lifted and tear stains disguising Hope;
are these then, my desperate pray’rs, somehow constrained?”
Yet LORD, though vessel fractured, I shall stand again this hour…
once more rising to preach boldly for YOUR will — this soul — propels!
Life’s provisions, (though now needed), have YOU always filled with Grace.
As such, with Faith for all YOU’ve done, these shoulders bow.
So lift my face to Heaven, LORD; revive this heart with YOURS!
Mend these injured wings with sovereign strands of crimson covered gold!
And if Healing be yet distant, grant me Understandings’ peace…
because my soul clings to THY NAME…and YOURS alone!
As HIServant sent,
Devotional: Jeremiah, Paul, Job, David, the woman with the jar of oil that never went dry, Isaiah, and many more all cried out in despair to GOD. They all sought HIS healing and some longed for death itself.
So since GOD uses broken vessels just like we are…we have HIS examples for encouragement. To use just two such vessels for comparison, some HE healed like Job and others HE did not like Paul.
Both were worthy vessels given the testimony we have of them in HIS WORD. But one bore the sovereign blessing of earthly restoration and the other was martyred for CHRIST’s perfect NAME.
As such, as HIS Body, we may often find ourselves wondering which example HE is going to use with us? Job’s or Paul’s? Job even made an eye-opening statement of “Though HE slay me, yet will I praise HIM.” (Job 12:15)
Yet we see that GOD restored double to Job after the trials. Job 42:10 “After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his prosperity and doubled his former possessions.”
So two points with Job. First: This was what GOD allowed to be thrust upon him. It wasn’t some accident or random attack. It was a purposeful battle against Job by satan who couldn’t do ANYTHING unless GOD permitted it!
Now his walk through those trials was horrific. He wished for death and never to have been even born. Much of Job 3 is his cry for relief and healing. So much more than just a verse or two of complaint!
The second point with Job regarding verse 10 listed above is this. AFTER Job had prayed for his friends, THEN the LORD restored. His friends were largely unsupportive, back biting, condescending fools much like his wife had proven to be when she ridiculed him in Job 2:8-9.
“Job sat on the pile of ashes where he was mourning and used a piece of broken pottery to scrape his sores. His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your faith? Why don’t you just curse GOD and die!”
But specifically with his friends (whose words weren’t that much different than his wife’s verbal abuses) who were way off course, GOD still had Job pray for them. He still had mercy, restored them also and did not reward them for their folly.
Now Job didn’t display great faith and rise up on his own. It was only AFTER GOD presented HIMSELF. We too face the trials and tribulations of this life.
We read this passage and some might say, “Well, if HE would just show up like HE did for Job, then I’d be ok with this oppression I’m in.”
And when that doesn’t happen, using myself for instance, I’ve thought, “Well, I guess HE’s taking me down the Paul route without earthly restoration of comforts.
Make no mistake though. GOD DID restore Paul. HE lifted him up after beatings, floggings, shipwrecks and more. It just wasn’t to a place of comfort like he’d known as a lead Pharisee. It was to continue to preach to the Gentiles which I, for one, am extremely grateful that GOD re-sent him. Frequently!
Paul, in contrast, did not have everything restored to him. In fact, he lost all things. Was imprisoned often. Abused and persecuted.
But! He knew how insufficient the Law was! He knew it couldn’t save anyone. He knew all the tricks of the Pharisees and the pride in self that was rampant among them.
He counted all other things worthless just to know CHRIST. He did despair unto death at times but he also knew his own history. GOD kept lifting him up to the next town, the next person, the next preaching opportunity.
He could keep looking back and kept seeing GOD’s interventions. GIven that GOD wasn’t taking him out of this life, he knew he was purposed to keep going.
Philippians 4:12-13 “I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. 13 I can do all things through CHRIST WHO gives me strength.”
So as HIS beloved, we must not lose sight of this fact. There are two sides to the coin. Some HE purposed for trials and full earthly restoration. Some HE purposes otherwise. Both, however, are in HIS hands and in HIS sovereign control.
The prosperity popular teachers of today would have us believe that our best life is now and that there’s a jackpot of financial and physical health for all who by their books.
The apostles and disciples greatly suffered in their lives for following and walking with him so those exclusively spouting the “feel good, love only, prosperity” message is in DIRECT CONTRAST to GOD’s WORD.
But there’s one other group that feels the suffering of Job and doesn’t get earthly restoration in this life. They feel persecution like Paul but don’t feel like they hear GOD’s voice like he did nor do they get taken up into the third heaven for a lifelong motivator to continue serving through great opposition.
That group is comprised of faithful men and women seeking GOD daily through the midst of extreme chronic and mental pains.
For example, chronic diseases and like those who cry out to HIM for their loved ones to accept CHRIST but regularly experience physical pushback, even violent rebuke, for just mentioning HIS NAME.
What about their constant pains, both physical and mental? What about you? Is this your story as well?
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted!”
What we cry out for, as HIS own, is to see HIS hands working evidently in our lives. What our hearts plead for, as HIS children, is to have relief from the physical torments that many who have gone before us also suffered from.
But for many who don’t “hear HIS voice” or sense a full reprieve from deep aches and severe pains, the question is “Why not?”
Aren’t I, by HIS stripes, healed already? For eternal redemption, yes. For earthly comfort, no.
A great quote from Billy Graham reads, “GOD doesn’t give us comfort for us to be comfortable but so that we can be comforters.”
And as my wife and I were talking about the LORD this morning, HE shared through her that HE does talk to us through HIS WORD and in our thoughts!
That this life’s goal must not be material wealth but spiritual gold!
Look at Revelation 3:18. “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, white garments so that you may be clothed and your shameful nakedness not exposed, and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
Again as Paul shares in Romans 8:18 “For I give counsel (I believe and teach) that the sufferings of this time are not comparable to the glory which is going to be revealed in us!”
So things are often quite opposite here as they are in Heaven. The devil would have you believe as he persecuted Job…that our sufferings surely mean GOD has left us. What a lie!
Much suffering was experienced by HIS disciples. The closer the walk with HIM, the deeper the fellowship in and with HIS sufferings.
Be sure then, oh my soul, that you press into HIS presence hourly, even without ceasing! Then the pains of this life are not random occurrences but proof of our devotion and service to GOD Almighty! Consider Matthew 5:11-12!
“11 Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of ME. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you!”
Be of good cheer then, my soul and my friends, Press in unrelentingly so into GOD’s presence! HE has overcome the world and HE is moving in it today! HIS return is imminent!
Praise the LORD! Amen and amen!