But God Gives Mercy’s Relief-Lent 5, 2021

“But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, co-worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow. Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, because he almost died for the work of Christ.” (Philippians. 2:25-30)

Oh, the mercy of God!  How grateful we ought to be for this.  Just when we think we can’t take any more disappointment, pain, or strife, God’s mercy opens the relief valve to spare us sorrow upon sorrow.  As we continue looking at But God… for Lent 2021, we can see that this relief involves a letting off of steam by the mercy of God before the heat of trials consumes us or blows us to smithereens. It is every bit the act of grace as it is forming our character through trials…and He does it all without breaking us beyond His ability to keep us together.

This isn’t a case of “God will never give you more than you can handle” which is unbiblical nonsense.  In fact, God will give you more than you can handle precisely so you’ll see you can’t handle things without Him. 

I’ve had a long season in my life like that.  Inexplicable but instructive.
And I’m not alone.
There are people in my circle of acquaintance who have had nothing but a decade-long series of trials and sorrows, illness and suffering, terrible losses.

I have marveled at the amplitude of the grace of God
to minister to the severity of their struggles. 
Illness, family trauma, nearly dead. 

To some in this world, it would seem as though they have a string of bad luck like none other.  But in reality, God has been strengthening their faith and giving them a testimony with the full power of God behind it.  If you feel so moved, please check out my friends Gerard and Jeannie Long’s ministry, “Awakening to God.” They also have a great app that I enjoy for daily Scripture encouragement on either iPhone or Android. Please let it encourage you through Lent 2021 and beyond.

Father, we lift our Christian brothers and sisters up to You, those who are struggling underneath the weight of so many sorrows.  Those who are despairing even of life. We ask Lord that out of the greatness of Your mercy, You would lift the oppression from them, You would mitigate the difficulties in their lives. We ask You to free them from struggles, and implore that You would offer healing where healing is needed, comfort where comfort would be like a drink of cool water, and that You would minister to them in the midst of their stresses.  We thank You that our troubles—while severe in our eyes here on earth—in view of eternity, they are light and momentary as Your Word proclaims.  We ask Lord that You would give us Your eyes to see divine perspective, to understand who You are and how our difficulties can point others to the need for a Savior in their lives too.  We thank You Lord that Your mercies are new every morning.  We need more of Jesus!  In His Name we pray. Amen.

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If you’re already signed up on my Home Page sidebar to receive posts, you’ll get the 2021 Lent Devotionals automatically. Or you can “Like” Seminary Gal on Facebook and they’ll be delivered to your Facebook news feed. If you haven’t signed up, today is a great day to do so. Advent and Lenten devotionals remain among my most popular offerings. You don’t want to miss this encounter with God to prepare your heart for Easter! Understanding that prior years’ devotionals continue to minister, you may want to have access to a full series ahead of time:

  • Lent 2013 looked at The Letter to the Romans: Paul’s Masterpiece to reclaim foundations of our Christian heritage and began February 13, 2013.
  •  A very special and ever popular offering was Lent 2014’s Be Still and Know that I AM God  which can be obtained through the archives beginning in March 2014. 
  • Lent 2015 began on February 18, 2015 with a series entitled With Christ in the Upper Room: Final Preparations.  We explored what is often called “The Upper Room Discourse” found in John chapters 13-17
  • ReKindle, the Lent 2016 series, began on February 10, 2016 and encouraged us to rekindle our spiritual lives.
  • Light: There’s Nothing Like It was the 2017 Lent series and explored this metaphor often used to portray Christ.  It is archived beginning March 1, 2017.
  • Lent 2018, we explored the questions of Pi and Chi (the Greek letter beginning the word Christos, which means Christ, Messiah, the Anointed One). We asked and answered the questions “Why?” from the movie Life of Pi as we discovered the uniqueness of Jesus Christ in a world of many faiths.
  • Lent 2019 gave us a deeper window into Easter “More to the Easter Story” since we miss so much when we rely only on a superficial understanding of the work of Christ. These devotionals are archived beginning March 6, 2019.
  • Our Lent 2020 devotional series offered prayer points surrounding “Be Thou My Vision” and were aimed at helping us to see God for who He is. The full set of devotionals are archived beginning February 26, 2020.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on February 22, 2021

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