by retired pastor Len Bailey
Each of these devotional blogs entries is meant to be read on your own or if you have family or friends you live with, to be read together aloud. A suggestion is to do this after you have dinner around the table together. At the conclusion, please spend time in personal reflection or in sharing with one another your answers to the questions at the end. Be sure to conclude with prayer.
Philippians 4:10-13. Other Scriptures: Psalm 37:7, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 27:13-14, Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 34:1
“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
These are difficult days for everyone. Our lives have been disrupted in so many ways. You are well aware of the different challenges that we are forced to face. We have heard it all and seen it all on the news on TV and on-line. We can’t tell the difference between truth and fake news. We are troubled when the experts tell us that things will get better, but it will take a while, maybe a long while. We are waiting for the graphs to show the curve reaching a peak and coming down, not just for our own state but for our nation and the world.
A key word that I think about as we go through this experience is WAITING. We are waiting for things to get better and safer for everyone, with less anxiety and fewer social restrictions and to get people back to work again. As some have said, we are waiting for the “new normal.” We are not strangers to waiting. We do it every day in one way or another.
But this isn’t like waiting while your car is being repaired or standing in a long line at the check-out. So here are some suggestions of things that we could be doing as Christians to put ourselves in a position to help ourselves and then to help others while we wait for things to turn around.
FIRST, draw strength from the Lord. Claim the promise from Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” We generally think of this verse in terms of having faith in God to do great things in His name, which I think is appropriate. However, within the context, it has reference to being able to withstand any situation through the help of God. The apostle Paul talked here about having learned to be content in all situations. His contentment was in drawing on God’s strength to get him through anything.
SECOND, wait for the Lord. See Him show His goodness to you in these very days. I believe God wants to do a brand new thing in your life through this time of waiting. I heard a quote from Max Lucado recently: “While we are waiting, God is working.”
THIRD, Trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” Trust in the Lord one day at a time. Build your faith by reading God’s word and praying with greater passion than you ever have before. As you face this pandemic, God will be with you IN it, and he will get you THROUGH it!
FOURTH, Give praise to the Lord. Psalm 34:1 says: “I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Even while experiencing these uncertain days, think about some things for which you can give God praise. Praise Him for His presence and His peace that He promises to all who love Him. Thank Him for His protective hand upon you and your family.
Song: “Praise You In This Storm” by Casting Crowns
Gracious God, help me to look to You for my help, May I look for You and listen for You to do a new thing in my life. Let me lean on You and not myself. Help me to build my faith for these days and for the days to come. I praise You for Your promise to never leave us, no matter what we face. In the name of Jesus I pray, amen.
Reflect on these questions with someone else or on your own:
- Are you taking time to read God’s word and pray every day to find your strength in the Lord?
- Is your faith devastated or deepened by this pandemic situation?
- Are you trusting God to work something good in your life, even in this experience?
- What are you praising God for in these days?
- What are some things that God is teaching you as you wait on Him?