Weekly Devotions

 

It could be loneliness and isolation.

Or unemployment and unpaid bills piling up.

It could be family problems that never go away.

Or the stress related to an ongoing health issue.

It could be the struggle to make ends meet on a limited, fixed income.

Perhaps it’s a recurring temptation we’ve fallen for yet again.   

I could go on; the list of worries we face in life is almost endless.  These worries can make us toss and turn, losing sleep. 

What do we do when we get up and don’t know what to do?  We have a phrase for this in English—"I’m at my wit’s end.”  Perhaps you felt this way before?  Perhaps you do right now.     

As Christians, we know that we should trust in the Lord. But the truth is, it’s hard not to worry.  I take that back; I find it impossible not to worry.  What about you?

This is why I find great comfort in the Psalms.  In these prayers I see God’s people cry out in anguish and helplessness.  Bow down Your ear, O Lord, and hear me; for I am poor and needy (Psalm 86:1).  In the Psalms I find this gracious invitation:  Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22).  Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice (Psalm 55:17).   

This must be done on a daily basis as C.S. Lewis reminds us: “Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”

When troubles get the best of us, when we’re at our wit’s end, and when sleep is hard to come by, we do well to recall the words of David in Psalm 62:  Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.

This isn’t the power of positive thinking.  And this isn’t a mantra to use to relax.  It’s an invitation.  It’s the invitation of Christ Himself:  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).  In Christ our weary souls find rest.  The question is:  are we giving our burdens to the Lord?

Martin Luther admonishes us:  Let the Christian learn to cast both his heart and his cares upon God's back, for God has a strong neck and strong shoulders.  He can easily carry the load.  Moreover, He has commanded us to commit our cares to Him.  Nor can we lay and cast too much upon Him.  He only likes it even more.  And He also promises that He will carry your cares and concerns for you.”

Where did Luther get such an idea?  I imagine, in large part, it was because of the Psalms: The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; He rescues those crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18).  Martin Luther, who loved the Psalms, wrote: “God is the God of the humble, the miserable, the afflicted, the oppressed, the desperate, and those who have been brought to nothing.”  Luther also added:  “And it is the nature of God to exalt the humble, to feed the hungry, to enlighten the blind, to comfort the miserable and afflicted, to justify sinners,to give life to the dead, and to save those who are desperate and damned.”

 With all of this in mind, now we can better understand the apostle Paul’s invitation to the Philippian Christians:  Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 

Following the practice and advice of the communion of saints, we can make their declarations of faith our own: I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the Lord sustains me (Psalm 3:5).  Surely God is my help.  The Lord is the one who sustains me (Psalm 54:4).  This I declare about the Lord:  He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him (Psalm 91:2).  

Amen.

Pastor Brian

 

    

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