As we are now officially in Lenten season, I thought I’d share a devotional that I wrote for my church in preparation for this season of reflection and renewal. As this blog is about all the things that give me joy and purpose in life, I would be remiss in not sharing about my faith every now and then. Hope you are blessed by it.
Many of us commit to giving up something during Lent to show our attitude of repentance and surrender to God in this season of renewal. We typically give up something that we tend to overindulge in (e.g. chocolate, shopping in my case), that perhaps consumes more of our time than we’d like (e.g. video games, shopping in my case), and possibly an addiction that we struggle with on a daily basis. We’re creatures of habit and habits are hard to break. We all struggle to hold fast to our commitment and feel discouraged when we fail to keep our promise. As with many other aspects of our lives, whether we’re struggling with sin, battling an illness or the illness of a loved one, facing financial hardship, working on broken relationships, when things get tough we often lose faith that our circumstances will change for the better and question God’s power to help us out of our current situations.
In Matthew 8:23-34, we witness God’s omnipotence. By the power of His spoken word, Jesus is able to calm the raging storm at once (v. 26). By His command, the demons are driven out of the possessed men and they are healed at once (v. 32). God has power over nature and Satan. In the same way, God has power over our sins and struggles. Jesus has already conquered what we are powerless to overcome on our own. In the midst of trials and turmoil, we often react just like the disciples and the townspeople. We fail to trust in Him and even reject Him in fear of losing control of the reins to our lives. All we need to do is surrender and trust and know that God is in control. Just as he restores calm to the seas and peace in the hearts of the demon-possessed men, Jesus will fill our hearts with peace as we trust in Him to steer us in the right direction and bring clarity and hope to our present circumstances.
I was recently able to experience God’s power in my own personal life. My mom has battled cancer for the past 14 years. By God’s Grace, she was in remission for about 10 years after her initial diagnosis but it came back about 4 years ago. Needless to say, the last four years have been filled with ups and downs. The way my mom has handled everything has been encouraging and inspiring, to say the least. She is an eternal optimist who trusts that God knows what’s best for her. A few months ago, we had a scare. My mom was taken to the ER and the family doctor pulled my dad aside to let him know that it may be the final stages. As we prepared our minds and hearts for whatever God had planned for my mom, we continued to pray and hope for her recovery.
Around that time, I was studying the book of Matthew with a local bible study group and learning about Jesus’ ministry on earth. As I read about Jesus’ ministry of healing I was convicted that His power to heal is not a thing of the past when He was among us. His power to heal is very much present now. It says in 1 John 5:14-15, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” So in my mustard seed faith, I prayed that God would heal my mom. In His faithfulness, He responded. Things have turned around since then. My mom started on a new treatment and so far the doctor has said that he couldn’t be happier with the way things are going. My mom is feeling better and doing better. I don’t know what God’s plan is for my mom but all we can do is trust and surrender all to Him because His will is perfect.
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