Friday, April 21, 2017

Devotional 4-21-17

Shadow of Doubt

Lectionary Readings:  Psalm 16; Acts 2: 4a, 22-32; 1 Peter 1: 3-9; & John 20: 19-31
“You never saw him, yet you love him.  You still don’t see him, yet you trust him---with laughter and singing.  Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to:  total salvation”. 
1 Peter 1:  8-9  (The Message)

It was a week of highs and lows, pain, disappointment, wonder, and awe.  Was it only last week??  We started Holy week with a triumphal entry into Jerusalem, a celebration with a parade and then the week ended with the amazing miracle of the resurrection.  In between these two mountaintop experiences were some of the lowest of “downer” events: the anger of Jesus in the temple that had become a marketplace, the Upper Room Last Supper, the trial, mocking and scourging and then the ultimate crucifixion and death of Jesus.  It was a traumatic week filled, to say the least, but filled with miraculous love and redemption.

It is no wonder that after the crucifixion, the disciples experienced much anxiety and fear.  And after Easter, when he appeared to them on several occasions, they thought they were dealing with an imposter or a spirit of some kind.  I don’t think I would be any different.  Doubt is easy for me.  I can second guess myself and the circumstances of my life without any trouble at all.  Is that what God is really saying to me?  What is God sending me to do? Who am I supposed to care for??

And here we are, more than 2000 years past the actual events and we are still dealing with our doubts about these riveting events.  How do we cope with the unreality of the Holy Week events??  What do we do with those shadows of doubt?? What do we do with our lives to show that we do believe??  We can’t touch Jesus’ nail wounds to give us physical proof.  We don’t have a time machine so that we can go back and observe and “take notes” to fill in the gaps of time and knowledge.  We have to take it on faith that Peter and the gospel writers were relating the events as they happened.

There are not many “sure things” in this world.  But as the writer of 1Peter affirms:  “What a God we have!  And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus!  Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now!”  Peter was convinced of the truth of the situation beyond a “shadow of a doubt”.  He had no room for error, speculation or vacillation.  He was absolutely convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and through His amazing and wondrous love, had willingly sacrificed himself for our sins.

We are not promised a life free of aggravation, suffering or heartache.  Peter tells us that even pure gold must be refined in the fire.  Our faith in the resurrection means that our suffering in this life will be the proof of the fire that refines us for the wholeness and healing of the next life.  When we surrender our doubts to the God of Grace, His grace is sufficient for our every need, including our eternal life.

Dear God of Power and Grace, we thank you for your many gifts.  Most of all we are grateful for the gift of your son, Jesus.  We cannot easily believe that you love us so much that you would allow the death of your son for our sins, but we pray that you will help us with our unbelief.  Be with us as we struggle with this precious gift.  We thank you for the grace of your love for us and that we can be sure, beyond a doubt, that your love is dependable and faithful. We are thankful that we are yours and do not need to fear, because our eternal life has been arrangedAnchor.  AMEN!!

Chyrl Budd

“I serve a Risen Savior, He’s in the world today! … You ask me how I know he lives? He lives within my heart!!!”

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