True confession time: When I agreed to write this devotional based on Sunday’s sermon, I did it with the full knowledge that it was for me as much as it would be from me. It is hard to step back and look at life and realize how much has changed in a week. We are each surveying how it will affect our families, our income, our work schedule and conditions, and so much more.
At our house we have an extra level of “life surveying” we are doing. You see, in 17 days our daughter is to be married. We have planned, prepared, dreamed and invested for 18 months or more. It is at a destination that will require domestic travel for everyone involved, and although it is a small, intimate event by design, our crowd definitely exceeds the newly recommended number of 10 right now. We have more questions than answers. As the bride’s parents in this situation, a lot of people are looking to us right now for answers that we just don’t have. It was all beginning to weigh a little heavy yesterday.
I am a person who finds comfort in music. I love a good worship song. Last night, when the burden felt like it was resting squarely on my shoulders, I hid in the bathroom (I told you, true confessions!) just to catch my breath, collect my thoughts, clear my head and, if I am sticking with honesty, let a tear or two slide down my cheek. I just turned to the Lord for a moment, right there in the bathroom and asked him for peace. What I heard immediately were the words of an old hymn, sung in my mind by the choir and congregation at my grandmother’s church, Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Minden, Louisiana, where I always sat as a little girl so taken by their beautiful harmonies.
Because he lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because he lives, all fear is gone. Because I know he holds the future,
And life is worth the living just because he lives.
The words of that song stuck with me as I sat down to study and write some words of encouragement to you. As I studied, I found some comforting words and Bible verses associated with this song. I cannot take all the credit for some of the ideas I will compile here, but they spoke to me, and I hope they will speak to you as well. As believers, we have certain assurances that those who are not in Christ have not yet experienced. The cross assures us of this.
“Because he lives, I can face tomorrow”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
— Matthew 11:28
We can rest in the assurance that, no matter what tomorrow brings, we can lay it at the feet of Jesus. I suspect we are all feeling a little weary and burdened, and could use a little rest. Commit today to just consciously call out to Jesus. Tell him what is worrying you. Ask him for his promised rest. When we don’t know what our plan for tomorrow is, Jesus whispers, “I am already in your tomorrow, working all of this out for your good.”
“Because he lives, all fear is gone”
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not be afraid.”
— John 14:27
Take comfort in those words today. This is a time when we can let fear grip our hearts and minds. We can park there, spinning our wheels, but that is not the Lord’s intention for us. He is literally giving many of us an opportunity to slow down. He has even cleared our calendars. He has given us opportunities to connect in new and unique ways. Find peace in this, and don’t miss out on what God has for you in this season by being paralyzed by fear.
“Because I know he holds the future”
“For I know the plans I have for you. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
— Jeremiah 29:11
What does that mean for us today, when the future seems so uncertain? It means that when everything else seems out of control, our God is still on the throne. He is in control. He has given his Church an opportunity to be a light in a very dark-looking world right now. It is up to us to let our light shine, and not hide it. Rely on God to bring you through the darkness and into that light! We need to spread the message that our God has got this! As Randy taught us on Sunday, the eyes of the world will be on the believers right now. Be the light that points to the future!
“And life is worth the living just because he lives”
Jesus gave us his assurance in John 10 when he said:
“I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
— John 10:10
Each moment we live in Christ is a well-lived moment. We do not need to fear. Nothing can separate us from his love. So take a break, love on your family, reflect on your fondest memories, set aside some time to pray — to thank God for what he has done, and what he is still doing. Remember the good he has done for you. Rest in the fact that you have worth in Jesus Christ. His gift of salvation has made every moment of life truly worth living. And, in his perfect time, he will leverage all these things for his good and his glory.
Until we can all worship together again in person, take comfort in knowing that you have a church family who loves you. You have a church staff who is praying for you and truly missing you. You belong with us, you matter to us, and we look forward to celebrating our risen Savior with you soon!