Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Abide With Me"1 (Lyrics)
Acts 3:19-20a – Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. (NRSV)
Tragic events that have occurred over the past few weeks have had an emotional impact upon us. Hurricanes and floods, mass murder and terrorism, and even the deaths of music icons like Tom Petty, have severely dented the well-being and joy of our spirits. As we wake up each day, we wonder what sort of world we will encounter and what new crisis may be just around the corner. It seems that life has lost some of its sparkle and we are all living in some sort of global Shakespearean tragedy from which there is no escape or happy ending.
God doesn't want us to be depressed by events beyond our control or to be fearful of what could happen. He wants us to turn away from the darkness and despair in the world in order to be welcomed into His light and love, so that our weary souls may be refreshed and our sorrowful spirits may be uplifted. Because God cares for who we are and what we experience, His presence is with us every day, no matter what occurs, where we are, or what we do. In times like these, it's very easy to withdraw from the world and isolate ourselves, but God does not want us to emotionally hibernate from all the people, places, and things around us. We were created by Him to enjoy what He has made and to be reassured that we are not on our own.
Perhaps you are feeling down and discouraged. Maybe you are anxious about the future and don't understand why bad things happen. Perhaps you are really tired and in a rut simply because you are carrying burdens or responsibilities that are heavy to bear. I've been there, too, and know how easy it is to slide back into despondency. But I've also known the refreshing experience of turning to God like a child to be comforted and consoled by His love, compassion, and care. I hope and pray that you will seek these blessings, too.
Points to ponder: What scares and saddens me about the world? Am I willing to turn to God for guidance, hope, and strength?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You personally suffered a great tragedy and terrifying pain. You perfectly understand how we feel when we are faced with sorrowful circumstances and emotional despair. Allow Your Spirit to come to us when we turn back to You. Refresh our weary spirits and renew our personal faith. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.