Friday, June 15, 2018

Too Much Woe

Today's Reading:
Jeremiah 8:8-9:26
Revelation 8:1-13
Proverbs 3:1-10
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Focus Verses: Revelation 8:13 
 As I watched, I heard an eagle that was flying in midair call out in a loud voice: "Woe! Woe! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth, because of the trumpet blasts about to be sounded by the other three angels!"

The world is filled with woe, woe, and more woe. Much of the pain and  suffering we experience results from sin—the sins we commit and the sins of others. Other hardship seems to be deeply rooted complexities and brokenness of an out-of-balance world spinning out of control. From viruses to volcanoes, nature itself seems to be reeling from one trauma to the next and we're along for the scary ride.

What can we do? How can we deal with the sorrows and tragedies? Some of us reject God because we can't make sense of the pain. Some even taunt those who hope and believe in God. And even those who do place their faith in God become downcast and find themselves crying out to God, "Where are you?" We hurt, we feel despair, and we can't understand why we are suffering.

In Revelation, the Apostle John writes as a pastor encouraging Christians (and perhaps even reminding himself) that though the times are often dark and difficult, Christ will reign at the end of the day. In Psalm 42, the psalmist does something very similar; he admits that he is disturbed and depressed, even to the point of wondering if God sees or cares. The psalmist's faith in God, however, triumphs as he sings the words, "Put your hope in God, your Savior, for suffering will give way to praise and victory in the end."

Response and Action:
There is nothing wrong with voicing my fears and my sorrows to God. Expressing my doubts and giving full voice to my questions are part of an honest relationship with him. My expressions of praise and hope and confidence in God are made even deeper and stronger when they stand up tall over my suffering, and overshadow my doubts. I will express my true feelings and concerns to God. I will cling to the hope I have in Christ Jesus and shout out my faith and confidence in him.

O God, as the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you. My soul thirsts for you, Living God. When tears are my food, comfort me. When men say to me all day long, "Where is your God," speak to my soul, O Lord, and remind me that you are with me. When I become downcast, strengthen my heart to hope in you. Give me the faith to trust in you and praise you all my days. Protect me from discouragement, and encourage me by your word, your people, your promises, and all that is beautiful and true. Amen.

Spiritual Formation Verses: Psalm 42:9-11
 I say to God my Rock, "Why have you forgotten me? Why must I go about mourning, oppressed by the enemy?" 10 My bones suffer mortal agony as my foes taunt me, saying to me all day long, "Where is your God?" 11 Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."

Waiting: Finding Hope When God Seems Silent
by Ben Patterson

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