Monday— “Don’t be afraid,” Elisha answered, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” 2 Kings 6:16
-“I know God is going to provide, even with this job loss,” Molly stated. “I just don’t know when or how.”
-“God will take care of us,” Mom whispered to her terrified children. “He sees this storm and He will protect us.”
-“Don’t be afraid,” Elisha said to his servant. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with our enemies.”
What are they talking about? They each faced an overwhelming situation with no visible escape. Yet, they seemed to see something others could not see. There were no job offers on the table for Molly. Storms raged around Mom and the kids. Elisha and his servant were alone in the house with no army in sight. So how could they have such confidence? FAITH.
But we must define it the way God does. Faith is NOT visualizing whatever we want and Poof! It happens. Faith cannot call into existence a luxury yacht or a mansion simply because we want them. Faith does not make bills go away. True faith is discerning the will of God and then resting in the assurance that it will happen. Faith is based on a history of God’s provision and deliverance. He did it before; He will do it again. We are never helpless when our faith is based on God’s reputation.
Final Thought: How have you defined faith? Can you see with your spiritual eyes what God intends to do in your situation?
Prayer: Father, my faith has taken a beating this month, with all the devastation around me. But you have always been there for me, always provided, always delivered when I was walking with you. I believe you will do it again. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Tuesday— There were four men with leprosy… and they said to one another, “Why just sit here until we die?” 2 Kings 7:3
“Oh, it’s all going to ruin!” Maude moaned. She buried her face in fat hands and wailed. “Aunt Maude,” Ted began and rolled his eyes behind her back. “Auntie Maude!” he said, louder. “You’re gonna be okay. I thought you trusted God? Hasn’t He always taken care of you?” Maude’s mumbled response was almost undiscernible. “I might as well sit here til I die,” she sighed. “I might have the bursitis and the epilepsy. WebMD said that I have four types of cancer and that finance guy on CNN said my house probably has termites and it’s gonna fall down around my ears…” She sniffed. “Nobody even cares about my foot rot…”
Have you known a Maude? Maybe you are a Maude. We’ve all acted like Maude a time or two. Sometimes the bad looms a lot larger than the good. This pandemic has brought the Maude out in many of us and we find an audience on the internet. Maude is sure the sky is falling and she is directly underneath it. But she is ignoring a critical piece of information. God did not design us to “just sit here until we die.” He designed us for purpose. Even in our struggles, even on our worst day, He is still working in our lives to bring out the character of Christ in us. When we’re facing overwhelming circumstances, we don’t need to assume we will sit there until we die. If we belong to Jesus, we take a deep breath, look up, and ask, “I know you are at work in this, so I will not fear. I trust that you will bring good from this somehow. So, what can I learn and what would you have me do?”
Final Thought: God will bring good from the last few weeks of trouble if you surrender it all to Him (Romans 8:28).
Prayer: Father, I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve felt like Maude. I forget to trust you. I start imagining the worst, as though you’re nowhere around. Please forgive me and bring good from this latest trouble. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Wednesday— “Look, even if the LORD were to make windows in heaven, could this really happen?” 2 Kings 7:2
In the last few decades, people have tried to use science and human reasoning to discredit the miracles recorded in the Bible. That’s a losing proposition from the start because the very definition of a miracle is that it defies the laws of nature. Skeptics point to Moses leading the Israelites through the Red Sea. “No way could over a million people cross the Red Sea on dry land. It must have been a tsunami or a tidal wave that swept back the waves, but the water would still have been at least six inches deep, and if the Israelites ran twenty abreast…at a pace of…” The scoffers tap their calculators, arriving at any number of hypotheses, but they’re missing one critical factor. If their scientific explanations are to be believed, then how did the entire Egyptian army, with horse-drawn chariots, drown in six inches of water? Can’t we just admit that an infinite God is not limited by our finite understanding of Him and His ways? Why do we think we need to figure out how God did things?
Skepticism is quite popular nowadays, masquerading as intelligence. We seem to think that the more cynical we are, the wiser we appear. But Jesus used a little child to teach us about wisdom. While skeptics in His day were trying to figure out the kingdom of heaven, Jesus put a preschooler in front of them and said, “Unless you become like one of these, you’ll never see the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:2-4). Five-year-olds have no trouble at all believing the unbelievable and if we want to walk with God, we have to accept that much of what He says and does is unbelievable. He does not want us to figure Him out because it’s not possible. He DOES want us to trust that He is God and we are not and we will live like it.
Final Thought: If the words “Even God couldn’t do that” are in your vocabulary, throw them out. Become like a little child.
Prayer: Lord, I feel most helpless when I doubt that even YOU can do anything about my situation. Jesus taught us that we’re wrong to think that way. Nothing is too hard for you, so I wait eagerly to see what you’re gonna do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Thursday— For the LORD had caused the Arameans to hear the sound of chariots, horses, and a great army.” 2 Kings 7:6
Handcuffs clanked against the steel table as Jud glared at his arresting officer. “I didn’t do nuthin’,” he mumbled. “That girl weren’t hurt.” Sgt. Peters frowned. “Jud,” he said, “I’ve heard her story, now I’d like to hear yours. Ms. Jones says she was walking home from the library when you jumped her. She says you were ripping at her clothes when you suddenly leaped off and disappeared. Can you tell me why you did that?” Jud shrugged, and looked away. “I ain’t sayin’ I did, but if’n I was to say I did, what about that big guy?” Sgt. Peters lifted a brow. “Big guy?” “Yeah,” Jud said. “This huge dude come outta nowhere and raised his fist like he gonna clock me! I got outta there…uh, if’n I actually did what you say.” There was no big guy. God had caused Jud to see the angel that was guarding Ms. Jones.
Susie had a different experience. Lonely in her ICU bed, a nurse with the kindest smile came into the cubicle. “I’m Cindy,” she said and over the next hour, Cindy sat by Susie’s bed, fed her a favorite meal, and entertained her until she fell asleep. The next day, Susie asked for Cindy, but the charge nurse looked puzzled. She checked the log and exchanged looks with another nurse. “No one by that name works here,” she said. There was no nurse named Cindy. God had caused Susie to see an angel to help her deal with suffering. God causes people to see what He wants them to see as He works on behalf of His children.
Final Thought: Has there been a time when God caused someone to see something in order to work on your behalf?
Prayer: Father, I take so much for granted that I haven’t even considered how much you are doing on my behalf to lead me where you want me to be. Open my eyes that I can be more aware of your interventions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Friday— Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD. Psalm 27:14
Two fathers sat outside a hospital room. Both were waiting anxiously for news of their sons’ conditions. One father lit up a cigarette, then swore at the No Smoking sign as he hurled the lit butt across the floor. The other father shut his eyes, exhaled deeply, and then opened the Bible on his lap. One father paced and swore, yelled at a nurse, then stopped to pound an angry fist against the wall. The other father bowed his head, surrendered the outcome to God, and took heart as he waited for the Lord. One father was passively waiting; the other was actively waiting. One was foolish; the other was wise.
Waiting on the Lord is never passive. God expects us to do what we can in every situation. But when we come to the end of all we can do, we are to be strong, take heart, and wait for Him to act. Unemployed? Passive waiting means you stay in bed all day, growing more depressed by the minute. Active waiting means you get up, get dressed, surrender the day to the Lord, and then work your tail off job-hunting. Family problems? Passive waiting means you go into denial and refuse to address the situation. Active waiting means you ask for wisdom, pray for the troublemaker, and seek ways to restore the relationship, trusting that only God can change a heart. Passive waiting is helpless; active waiting is strong enough to move mountains.
Final Thought: How do you wait when you need God’s intervention: passive or active?
Prayer: Father, I need to become better at waiting. I either do nothing, or I panic and do the wrong thing. Teach me to wait on your timing while I’m doing everything I know to do. I want to work in partnership with you while I wait. In Jesus’ name, amen.