Wounds and Scars

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Scripture is a verse containing much emotion: “From the city men groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out” (Job 24:12).

The scene is a busy metropolis. Speed. Movement. Noise. Rows of buildings. All that is obvious, easily seen and heard by the city dweller.

But there is more. Behind and beneath the loud splash of human activity there are invisible aches. Job calls them “groans.” That’s a good word. The Hebrew term enlarges it as it suggests that this groan comes from one who has been wounded. Perhaps that’s the reason Job adds the next line in poetic form, “the souls of the wounded cry out.” In that line, “wounded” comes from a term that means “pierced.” But he is not referring to a physical stabbing, for it is “the soul” that is crying out.

You may be “groaning” because you have been misunderstood or treated unfairly. The wound is deep because the blow came from one whom you trusted and respected. It’s possible that hurt was brought on by someone’s stabbing remark. People are saying things that simply are not true, but to step in and set the record straight would be unwise or inappropriate. So you stay quiet . . . and bleed. Perhaps a comment was made only in passing, but it pierced you deeply.

Others of you are living with the memories of past sins or failures. Although you have confessed and forsaken those ugly, bitter days, the wound stays red and tender. You wonder if it will ever heal. Although it is unknown to others, you live in the fear of being found out . . . and rejected.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of every life are wounds and scars. If they were not there, we would need no Physician. Nor would we need one another.

Hast thou no wound? . . .
No wound, no scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar? (Amy Carmichael)

Only the Great Physician can turn our ugly wound into a scar of beauty.



Solving Problems Through Prayer

2 Chronicles 20:1-32

Problems are an inevitable part of life whether a person is saved or not. The difference is that once a man or woman becomes a believer, the Father strengthens His child to face every difficulty.

Our omniscient and omnipotent God is greater than any problem. He knows our future circumstances and equips our heart and mind to withstand the coming trial. The moment we encounter a problem, we can turn to His omnipotence. He promised to meet believers’ needs and, therefore, is under His own divine obligation to give guidance and direction. Our first response should always be to call out “Father!” and pray. Immediately, two things take place: The problem’s growth is stunted, and God’s child is reminded of the unique position given those who trust in the sovereign Lord.

God always provides when we face problems. However, that doesn’t mean we should be sitting back and waiting for Him to work out the details. His provision may require an act of faith from us in order to reach a resolution. Experience and Scripture tell us that His solutions are always best, but human strength may falter when we hear what He asks of us in response to our prayers. Thankfully, He also offers the courage to act at the right moment.

Long before a crisis arises or a solution is needed, a wise believer will be seeking God in prayer. In trouble-free times, we can build a foundation of trust and communion with Him that can withstand any hardship. Problems are unavoidable, but as we seek our Father in prayer, He is faithful to deal with our difficulties.



Our Ultimate Hooray

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave? What is the ultimate hope of the handicapped, the abused, the burn victim? What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives—more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, “Someday, He will make it right,” and “Thank God, all this will change,” and “When we’re with Him, we shall be like Him.”

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that “there’s a land that is fairer than day” where, as John promised in the Revelation, “He shall wipe away every tear . . . there shall no longer be any death . . . any mourning or crying or pain . . . there shall no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever” (21:4; 22:3, 5). Hooray for such wondrous hope!

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day leap in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the very first face they will see will be the One who gives them sight!

There’s nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits of the heavyhearted. But how can we know for sure, some may ask. What gives us such assurance, such unshakable confidence? Those questions have the same answer: the fact of Christ’s resurrection.

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise! No wonder we get so excited every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we smile and sing and celebrate His miraculous resurrection from the grave!

Jesus Himself promised: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25).

Easter is a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony and our ultimate hooray of ecstasy.



Going Home

Revelation 21:1-21

The longer we live as Christians, the more we should feel like strangers in this world. Something within us recognizes that we’re outsiders here, and we yearn for that day when Jesus opens the door of heaven and welcomes us home. Although everything that God has prepared for us is beyond our comprehension, John helps us catch a glimpse by describing the contrast between what we know in this world and what it will be like in heaven.

God will dwell among us. Throughout history, no human being could see God, but that barrier won’t remain, because sin will be eradicated in us. Since we will be completely righteous forever, we will no longer have to continually fight off unholy urges.

Sin’s consequences will pass away. All the suffering that has afflicted us will end. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, or pain. That is when we will discover firsthand the truth of Psalm 16:11: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Our new home will be glorious. Jesus assured His disciples He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). The location is the New Jerusalem, and since it’s a cube 1,500 miles on a side (Revelation 21:16), there’ll be plenty of room for every believer. That remarkable place radiates the brilliance of God’s glory like a large multi-faceted diamond—John compared its beauty to a bride who’s adorned for her husband on their wedding day.

Fix a mental image of John’s description in your mind. In those moments when this life disappoints you, remember that you’re not home yet.



Standing In The Storm

Psalm 62:1-8

“What am I going to do?” How many times have we all uttered this cry of despair? Sometimes the storms of life come without letup; they seem endless, successively crashing against us until we feel as though we can’t take any more. In those times of desperation, Psalm 62 offers three valuable lessons.

First, we must wait. It’s understandable that we want answers and relief immediately, but the Lord acts in His own perfect time, and He’s never late. Therefore, we must wait for Him to guide us to the next step—even when that means resisting our natural desire to react quickly and take control of circumstances.

Second, we must wait in silence. When we quiet our mind and tongue, we give God an opportunity to speak His words of hope and trust to our heart. Instead of letting anxiety and worry occupy our thoughts, we must focus on God’s promises from Scripture. Then He will give us patience, trust, courage, and the assurance that He cares and is in control.

Third, we must keep in mind the motivation for this waiting—God’s intervention. Our focus is to be on the Lord, not on our troubles, ourselves, or other people. We must learn to filter out whatever is pulling our attention away from trust in almighty God, who is working according to His will and timing.

When the storms of life batter you, make sure that your feet are planted on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Do not despair, asking, What am I going to do? Rather, ask, What is God doing? And be assured—He is doing something.



Arise And Shine!

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

Isaiah 60:1

Today’s Scripture reads, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” These words have a special application for those who belong to Jesus. He has come into our lives, and He is our light and our glory. No matter how dark or perplexing our circumstances are, our lives are wrapped in the light and favor of God’s mighty Son.

For some of us who are older or struggle with disabilities, it can be hard to get moving in the morning. Yes, we rise. But do we shine? We may be grateful for a new day, but we may not be grateful for the stiff joints and pain. But here’s the truth: Whatever your situation today, the glory of the Lord is upon you, whether you feel it or not. His glory rises upon you with each new day. Repeat this verse out loud every morning: Arise! Shine!

Lord Jesus, my light truly has come, and You are that radiant, beautiful light. I invite You to illumine my conversations, my thoughts, my actions, and even the expression on my face. Your mercies toward me today are brand-new, and I receive them with open arms and a thankful heart.



How To Seek The Lord

Psalm 105:1-7

Although Scripture tells us to seek the Lord, many Christians struggle with this command. Some are so distracted by other interests and responsibilities that God is only a miniscule part of their goals and desires in life. When confronted with their responsibility to pursue Him, they often feel guilty but don’t know how to begin.

When desire for the Lord surpasses our eagerness for other pursuits, following through becomes more natural. But hunger for the Lord can be like an acquired taste. The more we pursue Him, the greater our hunger will be. However, if we ignore Him, what little appetite we have will diminish even further. Do you find that the latter describes your experience? If so, ask the heavenly Father to whet your appetite for Him—and follow through by making the effort to seek Him.

Begin with the Scriptures and prayer. Set aside time each day for meditating on God’s Word—listen for His voice, slowly digest what you read, talk to the Lord, ask Him questions, and apply what you learn to your life. Begin studying the Bible. Some of you may say, “I’ve never been into that.” My advice: Get into it! The deep things of God don’t just drop into our brains; they are placed there through diligent study.

Seeking anything requires time and effort. Will you invest your life in the pursuit of the Eternal One—the source of all contentment, joy, and hope? Or will you go after that which is fleeting? By neglecting the Lord, you cheat yourself of all the benefits He promises to those who diligently seek Him.



He Stands For You

“Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

1 Peter 1:21

What does it mean to have faith? Some might say it’s seen when we “take a strong stand for Jesus.” Is that true? Is faith all about our commitment, our allegiance, or our courage in the face of opposition? Consider this: When you place faith in Christ, you’re not so much taking a stand for Him, as you’re acknowledging the stand He has taken for you! In today’s Scripture, we read, “Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” Your stand for Jesus is only possible because Jesus stands for you. Any patience, joy, or kindness in your life is a gift from God—and it has nothing to do with your own merit. Faith means being sure of Christ’s commitment to you rather than measuring your commitment to Him.

Lord, for some reason beyond my tiny comprehension, You claim me as Your own. Before the Father and the mighty angels, You have spoken my name, acknowledged me, and said, “This is one of Mine.” You have stood between me and a powerful adversary who hates me and to this day wants to destroy me. I will gladly stand for You, but I can do so only because You have stood for me.



Invest In Someone

Take chances today and invest in someone else’s life, especially if God tells you to do so. You may give them something of value only to learn they waste it as they have always done in the past. But remember that God made an investment in you, and He wants you to be willing to make an investment in somebody else.

Jesus died to give everybody a chance. Not everyone takes advantage of His provision, but we all have an equal opportunity to enjoy the abundant life. If you help someone, and they end up not doing what is right with it, that is between them and God. Give thanks that you are able to give, and then do whatever God tells you to do.  

Prayer Starter: Father, show me someone I can invest in today. Help me to be a support and encouragement to someone in need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.



The Source of Discernment

1 Corinthians 2:6-16

Spiritual discernment is a supernatural ability, which requires supernatural power. In our human strength, we can rely only on what we see, hear, feel, and know in order to make decisions and evaluate circumstances and relationships. But when the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, He opens up an entirely new dimension of understanding. He shows us things we could never figure out by ourselves.

The Bible is one source of spiritual discernment, but without the interpreting power of the Spirit, reading it would be strictly an academic endeavor. It is the Holy Spirit who takes the words of Scripture and brings them to life in the believer’s heart. He knows precisely how to apply God’s Word to our exact need at the right moment. You have probably found this to be true: A passage you’ve read many times hasn’t stood out before, but when you need a particular message, that familiar verse jumps off the page right into your heart and transforms your thoughts.

That’s the work of the Spirit—His job is to open our understanding to “the things freely given to us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). The Lord isn’t trying to hide His thoughts from us. Rather, He wants us to know how He thinks so we can proceed wisely.

Then what should we do if we’re struggling to understand Scripture? The Lord wants us to seek Him and ask for wisdom to comprehend. This requires time invested in Bible study and prayer. And remember, the more yielded we are to the Spirit, the more we’ll be able to hear His voice.