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Take Me Back Day 26

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Scripture: Lamentations 3:19-23 I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.  I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Devotional: Hope is a powerful word. It is what sustains us in our deepest darkness, our most impossible struggle. 

One of the most powerful stories of hope is that of Louis Zamperini.  An Olympian runner and WWII soldier, he survived 47 days at sea in a tattered life raft after his plane crashed, only to be rescued by the Japanese.  He then suffered years of brutal torture at their hands in a POW camp. 

In the biographical book Unbroken, we see Louis and his friends Phil and Mac, who initially survived the plane crash into the sea.  However, Mac did not survive the days following:

  “Though all three men faced the same hardship, their differing perceptions of it appeared to be shaping their fates. Louis and Phil's hope displaced their fear and inspired them to work toward their survival, and each success renewed their physical and emotional vigor. Mac's resignation seemed to paralyze him and the less he participated in their efforts to survive, the more he slipped. Though he did the least, as the days passed, it was he who faded the most. Louis and Phil's optimism, and Mac's hopelessness, were becoming self-fulfilling.” (Hildenbrand, Unbroken, 2010)

No doubt Louis and Phil experienced the mercies of God that are new every morning.  Despite the fact that Louis had not yet received Christ as His Savior, (that would come later) he was able to receive the hope that comes from the great love and faithfulness of God.  As a result, he survived that which seemed impossible to survive, and eventually would impact multitudes for the cause of Christ. 

Be reminded  that no matter what you face, the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases and His mercies never come to an end.  Today is a new day that offers His tender mercy and faithfulness.  Take hold of it, and let it bring you hope.

 Reflect:

  • What hope do you need to hold on today?

Take Me Back Day 25

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Scripture:Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.

Devotional: Have you ever found yourself in the midst of great pain and cried out, “God, where are you?!”  In those kinds of moments, it seems as if somehow God has left the building, like He is nowhere to be found. 

But this passage reminds us that is not the case. God has not hidden His face from you in your affliction.  No.  He listens to your cry for help.  This Psalm is a prophetic one; it actually foreshadows Jesus’ cry to God in the midst of His greatest pain as He was being crucified, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

But God had not forsaken Jesus, and He does not forsake you when you call out to Him.  Because of what Jesus did on the cross of Calvary, God is near. 

Verse 19 of this psalm says, “But you, Lord, do not be far from me.  You are my strength; come quickly to help me.”  You do not have to suffer alone.  God will strengthen and sustain you when you cry out to Him.  He is a very present help in trouble and provides healing in the midst of your affliction. 

Reflect:

  • When has God felt most distant from you? As you reflect upon that time, what do you think was the cause?  Are there ways He may have been present but you didn’t “feel” Him?
  • What did you learn in that time?

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