God, who foresaw your tribulation, has specially armed you to go through it, not without pain but without stain.C.S. Lewis
I think, many of you will agree with me that this year 2020 was rough, to put it mildly. And many would say that this year is the type of year that better would not happened, even in the darkest dream.
I am sure, that majority of people, including myself, are waiting to flip this page over and start a new year from scratch, as it were.
You may consider me a pessimist, but I do not think that it will happen any time soon. But, what I know for sure that the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ will be a new beginning.
Ukrainian proverb says, – trouble never comes alone. The English equivalent would be: “when it rains, it pours“. I prefer Ukrainian proverb over English one. Well, now you know where my pessimism comes from 🙂
Beginning of Sorrows
The point what I am trying to make here is that COVID, lockdowns, social distancing, – or rather disintegration – masks, closed churches and opened pubs, and other troubles of this year is just the beginning of all sorrows that is yet to come.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, do not sob… about lonely Christmas Eve. But ask yourself “Why?” Why do we have that troubles fallen upon us? Why God is leading us through this tribulations? And ask yourself, What should we do about it? and What is the end?
Today’s devotional was inspired by the readings from the Book of Joel and Revelation 5.
The Book of Joel 1-3
First, Joel introduced us to the Lord’s Judgement in the from of locusts infestation, drought, and the coming of a great army. These events on the “day of the Lord” are followed by a call to repentance. – ESV Study Bible
- Locust Invasion and Drought (Joel 1:1-20)
- Invasion by The Foreign Army (Joel 2:1-17)
Second, Joel’s rhetoric changed and turned from the dramatic destruction caused by the locusts to the blessings that God would give to repentant people. The prophet said, that God promises to bring down on the nations what they have done to Israel and Judah, and to restore His people.
- God’s Mercy and Salvation of His People (Joel 2:18-32)
- The Lord’s Judgement (Joel 3:1-15)
- Restoration of His People (Joel 3:16-21)
The Book of Revelation 5
First, John saw in God’s hand a sealed scroll. He felt so sorrowful, because it seemed that no one has sufficient authority and power to open it – neither elders nor living creatures, no one is worthy to unsealed the scroll.
Second, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, who also appeared as a Lamb that was slain, is the one who is worthy to open the scroll. And when the Lamb received the scroll, the 4 beasts and the 24 elders, and billions of angles worshiped and praised the Lamb.
- The Sealed Book (Revelation 5:1-4)
- The Lion of Judah and the Lamb (Revelation 5:5-9)
- Worthy is the Lamb (Revelation 5:10-14)
Scriptures on Focus
12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning: 13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil. — Joel 2:12-13 KJV
When you do not know what to do, ask God. If you are not sure about His answer, ask Him again. But never isolate yourself from God, do not run away from Him.
And even if you sinned, do not “social distance” from God, but turn your heart to Him. There is still time to turn to God and to seek His forgiveness.
God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, thus we must repent of our coldness towards God and He will receive us.
This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.
Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV
- Why do you think God puts us through these tribulations?
- Where do you see God’s mercy amid all these?
- Are you enduring all the difficulties with praise and thanksgiving to God?
Dear Heavenly Father,
Glory and honour be unto You, Lord God.
We ask You, Lord, for the forgiveness of our sins as a nation and as a church. Thank You for reproving and correcting us and bringing us unto the light, so we can see that we are not worthy. We humble ourselves before you, Lord Jesus. We praise and glorify Your name, Jesus Christ, because you are worthy of all the honour.
All these we pray in Jesus Christ name, Amen.