Heidi's Devotion

I have two grown daughters. I was very involved with the children at church when they were small. When we moved to Ohio, I wanted to join a big church where I wouldn’t have to be so involved.  Hah! It worked the first two years. Then I got into the junior high confirmation program and then followed my kids into the teen program. It was an accident. I didn’t mean to. They didn’t have enough leaders. I knew adults who would be better youth leaders than I. But they were too busy, so I did. I always thought someone more qualified would come along. So many people could have done this better than I. I knew I was not the best at this. But no one else did it and so that did make me good enough to do His work. It definitely wasn’t MY PLAN, but it apparently was God’s plan! “It is God who saved us and chose us for His holy work, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan” (2Timothy 1:9).

When my kids were in high school I thought I was done. Then I was drafted into going to going on a youth trip. Okay, I was wrong. I went to organize, to help and to chaperone, but I got far more out of it than I put in. I went as a chaperone and came back as a stronger follower in the faith- as one with Him. That was it. I was truly hooked. Every time I work with Him or do work for Him, I get more out of it than those I should be helping! It never fails.

Now I look back- I’ve been to three youth conventions, and on at least 7 youth mission trips, and have 12 years of Wednesday night youth group behind me. I mean, I’m not a people person, I have a poor sense of humor and I’m not really fun. But He calls me to continue again and again to do his work with the youth. He is always there, leading ME. Here’s an example- this past summer on a mission trip- the last night we adults gave personal blessings to and for our youth. I had NO IDEA what I would say- I mean, I was the leader, so I had to do it. Not to worry. God simply put words in my mouth. He really did. I’m a lousy speaker, but He guided me and spoke through me. It turned out well, since I didn’t know what I was doing, so He obviously was present. God has been with me, that’s for sure, because I really am not good at this myself. I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, but he leads me. I have grown in my faith and gained in patience and understanding from this experience. Seriously, I have no idea what I’m doing, so God is definitely at work! His work, my hands- that is always apparent! If He can do this for me, I know He can do it for you. All we must do is listen- He’ll make sure we know! “We are like jars of clay in which the treasure of the gospel is stored. The real power comes from God and not from us” (2 Corinthians 4:7). So true!

Hey God,

You are so incredible! You know the very depths of my soul- what my gifts are and the many ways I am lacking. I thank you for blessing me so richly as you work on me- and through me for your glory. I ask that you continue- even when I am not open, welcoming and thrilled about what you want me to do. I am nothing without you. Thank you for being a true Father and God for me.

Amen.

 

God Knows

Can you remember what your worst day was? Was it the kind of day where you woke up and, from the moment your feet hit the floor, your life began a downward spiral that didn’t stop until you finally, with tears in eyes, laid your head down on your pillow, hoping beyond hope that you would never have to get out of bed again?

 I can’t. Like you, I don’t think I could pick just one. There have been so many days in my life where I just didn’t think it was possible to keep moving. Most of those days came while I was in high school. I spent as much time as possible day-dreaming about life-changing experiences, something that would turn it all around. Maybe I’d find out I was adopted and this wasn’t my real family. My real, insanely loving (and rich) parents would show up and claim me as their own!  Maybe I’d discover that I was insanely good at something and that this time next year I’d be the most popular kid in school. Maybe the most beautiful girl in school would fall completely in love with me and, no matter what I said or did she would think I was the most perfect guy she’d ever met. Yeah, that would be cool…

Nothing like that ever happened. I prayed a lot. Even in high school I was a pretty devout Roman Catholic. I was an altar boy. I went to confession and communion as often as possible. But God never spoke to me. He never took it all away. I remember thinking that, even if He knew who I was, He didn’t care about me; not personally. I had tons of unanswered questions that I knew would never get answered. Not by Him anyway. If He even knew how I felt, He certainly didn’t understand or care.

Years later I read a passage in Scripture that changed my life. Isaiah 53:4-6 says “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. 6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 

It was maybe the first time that I realized that, not only does Jesus care, but He knows…He KNOWS! He knows about pain and suffering. He knows about heartache and deep sadness. He knows about being treated unfairly and not being understood. And here’s the crazy part. He knew, even before it happened that it was coming. Do you realize that this is an Old Testament verse? That means it was a prophecy about Jesus that hadn’t even happened yet! He knew about the pain that was coming His way and He chose to endure it anyway. 

WHY? Why would He do that? The answer is in Isaiah 53:11-12: 11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. 

He did it for us. He did it for me. He did it for you. He did it so you could spend an eternity with Him!

The older I get, the more I understand about the “whys” of the pains and sufferings of this life. But I think one of the main reasons is this: The more I understand about sadness and hurt, the more I realize just how much Jesus loves me, because he CHOSE to endure it all. For me. For you. Because He loves us!