'suffering' Tagged Posts

'suffering' Tagged Posts

Daily Devotions

Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb. May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” vss. 4-5 Psalm 126 Many of us have learned through bitter experience that when our smart phone or computer is malfunctioning, the first step in recovery is to reboot, to shut it down completely and then start it up again. Occasionally that works! Service is restored and we are ecstatic! The psalmist seems to have been looking for…

Daily Devotions

Then from the cloud came a voice that said, ‘This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!’” vs 35 Luke 9:32-36 In the church calendar the Transfiguration has been situated on the threshold of Lent as a foretaste of what will be coming at Easter. In Luke’s recounting of the mountaintop vision there is a mixture of light, glory, and fear that anticipates the wonder of resurrection. But there is even more than that. Luke chooses words that echo…

Daily Devotions

May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.” vs. 5 Psalm 126:4-6 Those who are accustomed to live each day with praise and thanksgiving in their hearts understand the powerful role that suffering plays in a well-rounded and healthy life. We have been created with the capacity to cry, not just to cleanse our eyes, but to give evidence of deep feelings, sometimes of joy, but more likely of pain and sadness. In other words, God intends…

Daily Devotions

Make us glad as many days as you have afflicted us, and as many years as we have seen evil.” vs. 15 Psalm 90:15-17 The psalmist believed that all the blessings and afflictions of his life came by the hand of God–nothing was accidental. There’s something to admire about that sense of connectedness to the Divine, and the psalmist is right about God being actively present in all areas of our lives. We only get into trouble when we begin…

Daily Devotions

Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise.” vs. 13 James 5:13-15 James imagines that the community to which he is writing has close connections, not only to other members of the community, but to God, the Divine Presence and Source of all Being. This means, he believes, that in every situation of life the people will turn to God, not only with prayers for healing when there is suffering, but…

Daily Devotions

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles.” vs. 17          Psalm 34:15-22 The psalmist was convinced that the Lord was just and would make sure that the righteous would ultimately be vindicated. He recognizes that good people will sometimes have bad things happen to them but firmly believes that God will listen to their cries for help and rescue them. We applaud such convictions and want badly to affirm them, but sometimes…

Daily Devotions

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever.” vs. 1 Psalm 107:1-3, 23-32 As the psalmist looked at the history of his people, he saw a recurring theme. Whenever people got in any kind of trouble, whenever disaster threatened, they would cry out to the Lord and they would be delivered. That happened, the psalmist reasoned, because the Lord is good and “his steadfast love endures forever.” Because this is the nature…

Daily Devotions

Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding. Who determined its measurements—surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it?” vss. 4-5 Job 38:4-11 The writer shows the Lord reverting to sarcasm in his response to Job’s laments, implying that Job didn’t know squat when it came to the creation of the earth. It’s an amusing section and points to the basic deficiency we humans have when it comes to…

Daily Devotions

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?’” vss. 1-2 Job 38:1-3 The book of Job represents our faith ancestors’ best effort to deal with the injustice of human suffering. It’s a powerful story, one that has been told and retold hundreds of times by succeeding generations. Again and again in the story Job’s friends tell him to acknowledge his guilt, something he refuses to do. For chapter after…

Daily Devotions

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” vs. 5 Isaiah 52:13-53:12 When the prophet wrote these words about the Servant, he likely had in mind the nation of Israel, and the horrible suffering that had been endured by his people. They’re powerful words, and likely helped his readers come to terms with the punishment their ancestors had endured–perhaps there had…

Daily Devotions

Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him…” vss. 8-9 Hebrews 5:5-10 For pious Jews who became followers of Jesus after his resurrection it was natural to connect him with cherished temple practices, and many began to think of him in high priestly terms. The writer of Hebrews picks up on those themes and shows how it was that…

Daily Devotions

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” vs. 18 1 Corinthians 1:18-21 Paul quickly discovered that both Jews and Gentiles had a tough time wrapping their minds around the cross as the central image in the message he was proclaiming. They simply couldn’t believe that the path to salvation ran through excruciating suffering and death. Messiahs were supposed to triumph over…