Below is the Devotional posted on February 28th by Pastor Mike Thompson with comments from me below:
Doubting God's Love
A soldier hugs his parents for the last time before shipping off to the battlefield. They will face many tribulations, trials, and perhaps, even death. During the course of battle, the soldier comes under heavy enemy fire, thinking that they may lose their life. In that moment their mind briefly imagines the love of their parents. Despite the grave circumstances, the soldier is emboldened. He wants to finish this battle as a conqueror and come back to the loving embrace he left back at home.
His current circumstances never turn into anger toward his parents. He knows that the danger he faces comes with entering a dangerous battlefield.
Today, many people enter the dangerous battlefield of life. Life is, in one sense, a war zone. Our enemy, Satan, barrages the world with propaganda. People die for the faith everyday across the world. Trials come upon all people who live in this fallen world. From poverty to strife, unnecessary drama, rejections and sometimes death at the hands of perpetrators. We live in a battle zone.
God sends His people into this battle zone to promote a peace treaty. He calls us to announce to the world that everyone who repents and turns to Jesus Christ by faith will find peace with God.
However, some who face trials, rejection or other difficulties doubt the love of God. If God loved me, then why are there so many trials and discouragements?
I want you to know that trials and difficulties in your life do not mean the absence of God's love. Just like the parents send their child to a battlefield, God has sent you into the world in which a war rages. I encourage believers to remember that the love of God is never in question. Peace, and the absence of conflict is heaven. We live in a war zone. But the love of God for you is rock solid. Consider the following passage.
Romans 8: 37 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. God does not pull people from the war zone. He sends his strengthening love with them. Perfect peace can be in our hearts now. Perfect peace will be fully realized at the Lord's return."
So, to borrow from Pastor Mike... Everyday life has been our "war zone." And we cannot be pulled from it. It comes to us, whether we like it or not. And as it comes our way, to borrow from a Leadership speaker I heard years ago, we have a choice: Bitter or Better. As things occur, we are going to have responses to it - I mean, that's how we've been made! We respond when things occur. But we have a choice of how we respond. The same leadership speaker also said the following: That doesn't mean that we just shut off any and all feelings and thoughts, but instead that we are responsible and response-able to choose the correct response.
I don't think that it's wrong, in any way, shape, or form, to state the facts of things going on making you not happy, or making you depressed, or making you concerned for days to come. I think that it becomes wrong when you start to build your day-to-day foundation around these temporary situations. This is where it can be really important to know when it's time to go and visit with those who are in a better spot, because they can lift you up, and encourage you, and help you to rise above what's going on right now and help you to see that there is still sun on the horizon. And when you cannot leave that situation, because you're here, you just are here and nothing changes that... Being able to get together with those who can help you feel good, feel better, and rise above whatever is going on is really important right now, too.
In the meantime, I'm going to encourage us all to remember a couple of things... First of all, as has been stated here already, we are in this thing together. We are all going to go through some hard times. We should remember that those hard times are temporary and are not the normal state of being. And when we are not on top of our game, we should remember that there's friends out there to bump into. You never know what they're going to share with us that may be exactly what we're looking for - just like my friend, Pastor Mike Thompson, shared a couple of posts, a couple of Devotionals on Facebook, that turned into exactly what I needed to hear. It's kind of funny how that all happened, and at just the right time, too, don't you think?
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