Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The Old Rugged Cross"1 (Lyrics)
Psalm 13:1-6 – How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me? Look on me and answer me, O Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death; my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall. But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me. (NIV)
A few months ago, I left Soroti, Uganda — my home and mission field — to have an eight-day vacation with my parents in Ireland. Arriving at the airport, I could barely grab my bags off the luggage carousel because I was experiencing two major pulmonary embolisms. From there, I spent five days in the hospital, and then, I had to spend six weeks in Ireland, waiting for my body, lungs, and heart to heal and be safe enough to fly again. During follow-up doctor visits, it was discovered that I have further medical issues, so my insurance company flew me to my other home — Canada — to undergo surgery. I am now, unexpectedly, away from Uganda for eleven weeks, and this adventure is far from over.
The medical journey has been long, tearful, painful, and full of questions. The unexpected absence from Uganda has meant just letting go and trusting other people to pay bills or step up to fill ministry opportunities.
And yet, I know that God is good. The Lord has a plan for my life. He desires me to have this time of rest. I have seen His hand at work, as many people have been praying or helping me to communicate with others at a distance, and doctors have had miraculous openings to get proper medical care faster.
All of us have times of lament — sorrow, grief, pain, struggles, enemies, and loss — but we still need to praise God through those storms.
- Lamentation is a powerful, and meaningful, form of worship because it places our love for God above even the worst of circumstances in our life. … God does not ask us to deny the existence of our suffering. He does want us to collect it, stand in those things and make Him an offering. The Holy Spirit, our Comforter, helps us to do this: He aligns Himself with our will and says, "I will help you to will to worship God." The glory of the majesty of God is that He helps us will and do. – Graham Cooke
Thanking God honestly and worshipping Him intimately during a time of suffering is difficult, but we must choose to recognize the majesty of God at work in our lives. He is a God Who desires to comfort, heal, and bring peace.
In church the other day, the pastor gave us all an assignment, and I would love you to do the homework as well. First, offer your lament to God, and then, share your moments of thanks or glory to God:
Lord, my heart cries out…
Prayer: Almighty Father, we know that sometimes, life can be overwhelming and super-challenging. Forgive us for failing to see You in the hard times. Help us to trust in You through the good and the bad. Lord, fill us with Your peace and comfort, because we all desire to sing, "It is well with my soul", to the glory of Your holy name. Amen.