Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Pass Me Not O Gentle Saviour"1 (Lyrics)
As two weary years of COVID-19 restrictions and limitations on in-person worship for our churches have dragged on, how we groaned inwardly and longed for those heavy storms to pass! My own church in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, sought to encourage the saints with online worship. The choir put together some great performances, quite amazingly done, I might add, as the members each sang their part in front of a home computer screen, and talented technicians mixed and balanced the recordings to make a lovely online performance. The Sunday school teachers gave creative online classes, seeking to engage and challenge our children to think about God things, but it was quite a task! As the prayer team coordinator, I gather prayer requests each month for our group's prayer letter. Praying doesn't require a group setting, but it means a great deal more to pray together. Like the Hebrew Christians of long ago, we could use some encouragement and assurance that God sees His church in action through difficult days.
Hebrews 6:9-12 – But, beloved, we are confident of better things concerning you, yes, things that accompany salvation, though we speak in this manner. For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (NKJV)
We aren't the only ones in history who have battled depressing discouragement in life and worship! Yet, we are assured that God sees and remembers all that His beloved family do in His name.
How do we as Christians fight off the discouragement that makes us feel like giving up? I like the example of David, who lived through many disturbing circumstances.
1 Samuel 30:6 – Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God. (NKJV)
Doesn't that sound like us? The soul of all our people is grieved by trouble, so concerned for our children, seeking some way, any way, to lift the pressure of constant anxiety. And how did David respond? He didn't just put on a happy face and fake a positive mental attitude! Instead, over a lifetime, he cultivated an unswerving trust in God's grace: in His continual provision, in the safety of the shadow of His wings, and in His power over every obstacle. I pray, too, that our church family will continue to cultivate this kind of steady faith in our God, knowing that we will come out on the other side a stronger, more faithful and united church of Christ.
Prayer: Thank You, dear Lord, for the words of encouragement from Your holy Word, as Your people seek Your guidance in anxious and uncertain times. We praise You that we can strengthen ourselves in the Lord our God, and know that Your victory awaits us. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.