Hurt So Good – A Devotion

Lamentations 3:19-22 (NLT)

The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:The faithful love of the Lord never ends!His mercies never cease.

 

How does one cope when life seems unfair? When the rain falls on the righteous AND the wicked, what is our response? I have learned the validity of “one day at a time” over the last year of my life with absolute clarity. It is impossible to move beyond this moment as I need new mercy to get through each day. I struggle not to become bitter in this battle against cancer. Each day the reality of death is thrust in my face by the liar from the pit of hell. I have God’s Word hidden in my heart. He has said, “My son will live and not die.” The words seem empty when another young person is cut short in their prime by this horrible disease. He was just seventeen years old on the verge of celebrating his eighteenth birthday. In fact, his family had planned to gather and celebrate early in light of his failing condition. There would be no party. Instead, they now must plan a funeral. Grief overwhelms me for a boy I barely knew and a family left heartbroken and devastated by a very familiar disease. We have lost many to the fight this past year. Each one grips my heart. However, this one is close to home. As I read the notification, my eyes looked at my son slowly eating lunch. There are no grab-and-go meals as the last treatment cycle has taken his ability to eat quickly relying on water rather than saliva to push down his food. His hair is rapidly falling out from the current regiment of treatment and in less than three weeks is shedding quickly. He bears the scars of a warrior who has been in the battle before and has no fearing heading back in again. Where is the “good” in this Lord? Where is the light at the end of the tunnel? Will I ever forget this awful time?

 

Isaiah 38:16-19 (NLT)

Lord, your discipline is good for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the deadcannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next.

 

The importance of salvation is most evident when close to death. Seldom does one welcome the Lord’s discipline although it is good and leads to life and health. God restores you and allows you to live when you call on the Name of the Lord although natural death will still occur one day. God made every day of your life an opportunity to find His Goodness that leads to repentance. “Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?” (Romans 2:4) A life that lasts many years is useless outside of God’s Mercy. If we never discover the Kindness of God that leads to repentance, then what is the point? In anguish our hearts seem to immediately turn to God even after years of living in ignorance and avoiding the Light of His Love. But in the moment of trial, tribulation and/or suffering, we immediately fall to our knees and call on the Name of the Lord. It is not until our hearts are moved from death to life that we experience the Goodness of God but most must submit to His Discipline first. God is not a harsh disciplinarian, clearly. However, He will stop at nothing to secure your soul in Heaven for Eternity even if it means enduring difficult trials here on earth. This world is temporary. God operates in the Eternal.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:3-6 (NLT)

It seems so tragic that everyone under the sun suffers the same fate. That is why people are not more careful to be good. Instead, they choose their own mad course, for they have no hope. There is nothing ahead but death anyway. There is hope only for the living. As they say, “It’s better to be a live dog than a dead lion!” The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered. Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth.

 

God desires to make your life count. It only has value if it lasts beyond today into forever. However, when the enemy casts doubt in the heart of man and they become overtaken by fear and not faith, it becomes a flight-or-flee mentality. Living in the moment seems sensible when time is not quantified. We waste minutes every day that we are alive otherwise there would be no regret when an end seems in sight. “The living at least know they will die” because God told them ahead of time that man is appointed once to die. (Hebrews 9:27) Judgment day will then come. “There is hope only for the living.” Only those who put their faith and trust in God will move past natural death into God’s Kingdom extending their life and making it Eternal. Those dead to the Lord have no future. They have no hope. Everything they do in their life good and bad will die with them. It is tragic. It is a sad waste of life to die in sin when Jesus Christ gave us a golden opportunity to pass from death to life. It is only possible through faith in God and the Blood of Jesus Christ. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6) Death is unavoidable. But Heaven is totally accessible to those who discover the Gift of Eternal Life. (Romans 6:23)

 

Isaiah 45:5-8 (NLT)

I am the Lord; there is no other God. I have equipped you for battle, though you don’t even know me, so all the world from east to west will know there is no other God. I am the Lord, and there is no other.I create the light and make the darkness. I send good times and bad times. I, the Lord, am the one who does these things. “Open up, O heavens, and pour out your righteousness. Let the earth open wide so salvation and righteousness can sprout up together.
I, the Lord, created them.

 

God makes a powerful confession in these verses. “I send good times and bad times…” Why would God do such a thing? First of all, God is sovereign. Sovereignty makes God the ultimate authority in life like it or not. Just because you do not believe in God does not mean that God does not exist or hold all power over your life, it just means you don’t believe it. God has one purpose in every detail of your life. Salvation and righteousness are His Intentions towards you in every situation that you face. He will break your heart to restore you! He will shake your foundation so you hold tight to Him. The Lord is your only hope even when you feel hopeless. God equipped you for this battle that you are facing from the beginning of time. Just because you do not feel ready does not nullify the fact that you are ready. God is preparing to make Himself known to you! Are you ready to know God? The Lord desires to pour out salvation and righteousness over those ready to receive. You may feel weak. You may feel broken. You may be one second from giving up. You are in the absolute perfect position to receive all that God has for you even if you have to move to Heaven to receive it!

 

Isaiah 48:16-18 (NLT)

Come closer, and listen to this. From the beginning I have told you plainly what would happen.”

And now the Sovereign Lord and his Spirit have sent me with this message.This is what the Lord says—your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: “I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is good for you and leads you along the paths you should follow. Oh, that you had listened to my commands! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river and righteousness rolling over you like waves in the sea.

 

In October 2011, I am convinced that I lost my mind. It must be the peace of God that has kept me for almost a year now. Each morning I must claim the mercy that He has left for me (Lamentations 3:23) and thank goodness they never cease (Lamentations 3:22). God has made it clear from the beginning that He intends to spend Eternity with me. He never once has implied that He does not love me or want me as His Child. So I should not be surprised as He works endlessly to apprehend my heart and overtake me with His Love. In this battle against a devastating disease, I have experienced exponential faith endowment. God has multiplied each mustard seed of faith into a thriving tree of righteousness. The closer I stand to the Father and the deeper my roots tap into Living Water, the more I realize how much God loves me. My faith now extends past this life into Eternity. Faith that ends when someone dies is useless. If there is no Eternity, then what is the point of faith? We should simply live it up and enjoy the ride. But if God is real and Jesus is alive then the Kingdom is a reality. By faith, I can discover Eternity before I arrive. Salvation and righteousness establish a place for me there. When bad times come and death seems so near, I have a hope that keeps me firmly in place. Peace flows like a gentle river through my life thanks to rightstanding with Jesus. I am not afraid of dying. My soul is secure. I am now fearful of not living every moment of every day for Jesus!

 

Psalm 30:11-12 (NLT)

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

 

Salvation and righteousness allows peace to reign in my life. I will confess that sometimes I do a self-evaluation to be sure that I have not completely lost my mind. I am relieved to find that I have not. I have lost my life though. It now belongs to Jesus Christ. He has turned my mourning into dancing. He has turned my sorrow into joy. Even on the hardest days, there is peace that overwhelms my soul as I see the Hand of God carefully covering my son. If he does not survive this battle for his natural life, I know that he loves God and trusts Him so my boy will live forever. Heaven gets even sweeter when it is filled with those we love. Hurt is good when it leads to salvation and righteousness. Mourning is okay when it turns into dancing. Sorrow for the moment gives way to joy for a lifetime. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Blood and Righteousness!

 

Luke 1:38 (NLT)

Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

 

Will you accept the Lord’s Will for your life today? Mary did. Her whole life would be turned upside down, yet she was still a willing servant. Be it unto me Lord, just as you have said. If we knew what was coming tomorrow, many of us would not be so gracious and humble but rather reject God’s Plan to avoid the pain that leads to repentance. Some would walk away from salvation and righteousness just for a few more years here on earth. I met a man just after my son’s initial diagnosis who revealed that he was undergoing the difficult cancer treatment with the hope of just a few more years added to his life. Witnessing this process first hand, I am shocked that anyone would go through it all for just a few more years of suffering on this earth. God has more than that in store for us my friend. The Lord offers Eternity to those whose faith endures to the end. He gives us mercy every day to assist in our pursuit. What is forever worth to you? For Jesus, it required every last drop of His Precious Blood to give you a future. Will you accept this gift He is offering even if the process is painful? Or would you waste it for just a few more years of death, decay and darkness? Say with me, “May everything you have said about me, Lord, come true!”

 

Lamentations 3:22-26 (NLT)

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”  The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

 

The Lord is faithful. His Mercy never ends. It arrives each morning for our express use. The Lord wants to be your inheritance. Faith is valuable when it reaches your soul because that is all that will go past this life. The Lord is ALWAYS good to those who depend on Him and those who search for Him. I will put my hope in the Lord today using the mercy He has provided. I do not know what tomorrow holds for our family but I KNOW that it is good! I will wait quietly for the Salvation of the Lord. If I do not move from my position of faith, His Salvation and Righteousness will by my reward and His Peace will flow in my life!

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