Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Be Present At Our Table Lord"1 (Lyrics)
When we hear about other people going through hardship in a noble way, it can actually be a source of encouragement for us.
First, we sympathize with their situation and offer help.
But it can also make us think, "If they can do it, so can I!" We can learn from their example.
Last year, I was at the church of Hyeon Soo Lim. He is the Canadian pastor who was imprisoned in North Korea while providing humanitarian aid. Fortunately, he was released in 2017. Praise God!
For two years, he was forced to do hard labour. He had to dig holes in the frozen ground with his bare hands. He also had to break apart chunks of coal.
Upon his return, he talked about his battle with terrible loneliness. So, what did he do? Mope around in an endless pity party? He spent what little free time he had by reading 100 books on North Korea, reading the Bible in English and Korean five times, memorizing more than 700 Bible verses, and worshipping alone for 130 Sundays.
Hardship can draw us closer to God — or push us further from Him. Hyeon Soo Lim chose to draw closer. What an example!
Paul said that nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord". (Romans 8:39b NIV) That includes imprisonment, hard labour, and loneliness. And it also includes bad days, feeling sad, regret, and stress.
The reason that I say this today is because I'm sure that some of us are going through a tough time right now. So, let's believe what the Bible says in Romans 8:39, and be encouraged and inspired by the example of Hyeon Soo Lim.
Hardship can draw us closer to God — or push us further from Him.
Which do you choose?
Prayer: Lord, thank You for Your unshakable love in Christ. Rescue us, strengthen us, and shine the light that can come only from You! In Jesus' powerful name, we pray. Amen.
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Thanks for the inspiration, Matthew.
Thank you for a great reminder, Matthew! I read your daily messages and they are really helpful as well! God bless you and your family!
Thank you, Matthew, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. May we witness to Christ’s mercy and grace no matter the circumstances. Blessings.
Perfect example. Thank you for that story. May we choose to follow his example and choose to be busy doing something positive rather than enjoy my ‘pity party’, looking for sympathy!!
I just read your devotional that was published in Presbycan – What He Did With His Hardship.
God bless you as you continue to write for Him!
Thank you for the most encouraging devotional and the reminder that there are many things we can do to improve our situation and to help others who need encouragement. Let us draw closer to God in the good and difficult times. May many blessings come your way filled with encouragement and peace.
Thanks for writing another special devotional. Yes, we who turn to Jesus and have faith are helped through whatever struggles befall us. Our Lord does not forsake us and is ever ready to hear our call.
Blessings for your thoughtful writings.
Thanks for a great devotional this morning. What a story!
I am actually going up to a super jail to do chapel services. I will read part of what you wrote. But I would like to share your devotional minus your name with your permission, with the inmates I visit.
God bless you abundantly.
This is so powerful and encouraging! And when no one else is there to lift us up; like David, and like Hyeon Soo Lim, we can encourage ourselves IN the Lord! Please keep writing!
WOW!! Yes, you’re right that ‘some are going through tough times’ but sure nothing compared to Hyeon Soo Lim! He certainly is an encouragement and inspiration!
There was a lady in the Grief Support group I’ve been attending whose husband died last Christmas! A couple of weeks ago, she said she was going to start decorating. Sure enough, my reaction was “If she can do it, so can I!” Through tears, I got one small container, another larger one the next day… No tree yet but I plan to!
You are absolutely correct that hardship (grief, in my case) can draw us closer to God – or push us further from Him. My faith and prayer life has become so much stronger as I am in constant conversation and dependence on Him, His wisdom and direction! I have met a lady recently though who is so angry and another who “can’t” allow herself to even attend church! I wanted and chose to be worshipping with fellow believers right from the start!
Thanks for your prayer!
Peace and blessings to you!