“Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith.”
‘“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’”
II Corinthians 12:9
We all go through the valleys. There are times of disappointment, sorrow, anxiety, stress and suffering. To those who are addicted, have lost loved ones, are suffering with chronic pain, have incapacitating disease, are going through financial hardships, have been abused, have broken relationships, are lonely, confused or have mental illness, what do we do with faith? How do we believe in the face of such discouragement and doubt? Where is God in all of this? But then we must also ask, “What is faith for?” Maybe that is why Jesus came born in a manger not a palace. That He was “acquainted with grief a man of sorrows”. That He had “nowhere to lay His head.” That in the Garden He would fall down in prayer and say, “Father, if it is your will, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless your will, not mine, be done.” Or on the cross He would cry to His Father, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Perhaps Jesus’ exemplified the normal Christian experience? Perhaps like the examples in today’s passage, those that suffered so much for Jesus, all lived by faith as much as David, Moses, Abraham and the other examples of victorious achievements. Perhaps Paul was right when he quoted God as saying, “My grace is sufficient for you”, and he concluded that “God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.” Today, when you go through all you go through, May God fill your heart with the same peace, hope and faith that Jesus, Paul and those in Hebrews had.
Father, there are times that I don’t understand what is going on. Times when I get discouraged and start to doubt. But, I also know that these are the times I experience Your mercy and grace at a deeper level. When I am drawn by Your Spirit to a new realm of intimacy with You. Lord give me the faith, courage and strength I need for todays journey. In Jesus’ name.
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