Friday, October 2, 2009

Devotional 021009

Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. Finally I pull over by the water front to take a picture of another glorious day. We don’t know what kind of weather tomorrow may bring. We give thanks to what God has given us today, and fully enjoy every moment of it as though this is our last day on earth. Yes, our heavenly home will be even better and brighter. We look forward to join our Heavenly Father in His eternity. But before that time comes, we enjoy His presence and creation in this planet earth today.

"If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us" (Mark 9:22). After every time of exaltation we are brought down with a sudden rush into things as they are where it is neither beautiful nor poetic nor thrilling. The height of the mountain top is measured by the dull labor of the valley; but it is in the valley that we have to live for the glory of God. We see His glory on the mount, but we never live for His glory there. It is in the sphere of humiliation that we find our true worth to God; it is where our faithfulness is revealed. Most of us can do things if we are always at the heroic field because of the natural selfishness of our hearts, but God wants us at the dull commonplace field, where we live in the valley according to our personal relationship to Him. Peter thought it would be a fine thing for them to remain on the mount, but Jesus Christ took the disciples down from the mount into the valley, the place where the meaning of the vision is explained.

"If you can do anything. . ." It takes the valley of humiliation to root the skepticism out of us. Look back at your own experience, and you will find that until you learned Who Jesus was, you were a cunning skeptic about His power. When you were on the mount, you could believe anything, but what about the time when you were up against facts in the valley? You may be able to give a testimony to sanctification, but what about the thing that is a humiliation to you just now? The last time you were on the mount with God, you saw that all power in heaven and in earth belonged to Jesus - will you be skeptical now in the valley of humiliation?

It is in the face of helplessness that we learn to depend on God. If our faith does not work like the disciples who could not heal a demon possessed child, we would wonder what went wrong. Was it because of our problem or the God whom we trust had problem. Our prayer would probably become as skeptical as this father, “If you can do anything…” Of course God can do all things; otherwise He ceases to be God. Our definition of God refers to an omnipotent and omnipresence Being. He is always capable to resolve all the problems we encounter in life. Our faith tells us that only if we trust in Him, He will take care of it for us. But in the valley of humiliation, God did not always resolve our problems. He seems to be silence in the midst of our helplessness. He makes us swallow our humble pie and allows us to raise our fists of frustrations. We could not do anything except to trust in His faithfulness. And one day when we look back to those experiences we recognize how God miraculously guide us through. This is exactly what the “footprints on the sand” describes. He carries us through the most difficult days in our lives without our awareness. We only focus on our problem without realizing God’s intervention. We are too pre-occupied in our expectation of how God should intervene or resolve our problem that, we would easily miss to see His hands at work. That’s why Jesus sighed and said, “O unbelieving generation, how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Mark 9:19). Indeed, how many miracles and wonders do we need to make us fully entrust our lives to our Lord Jesus Christ? If we continue to build our trust in God by our desire for miracles, our faith is always on a shaky ground. I think our Lord’s question for this child’s father also applies to us today: “if you can? Everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23). It takes faith to lead us out of the valley of humiliation and into the glory of God’s presence. Faith does not always give us what we want or the way we want it. But faith always leads us to the Omnipotent God and makes us rest in His everlasting arms. Amen.

Love you because of this faith,

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