Our Daily Devotional today comes from the heart of Amy Renberg!
I trust this finds you all well and safe staying in your homes! I must say there have been some real ups and downs as Rob and I are learning to navigate this “crooked stretch of the road” in our lives. This phrase popped into my mind, and I was reminded of these verses in Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 in the NIV…
“Consider what God has done: who can straighten what He has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”
Now the same verses in the New Living Translation…
“Accept the way God does things, for who can straighten what he has made crooked? Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life.
I love the truth of God’s sovereignty spoken of in these verses and accepting His working in the “times” or events of our lives whether we consider them good or bad. How comforting it is to know personally and intimately this sovereign God in the person of His Son as it was prophesied and fulfilled when Christ came. It was foretold by Isaiah about John the Baptizer and affirmed in Luke as John started his ministry of proclaiming Jesus as the Messiah. It says in Luke 3:4-6:
“As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough places shall become level ways, and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”
Knowing Christ not as the Messiah but as our Savior gives us so much hope in these rough, crooked places in our lives. We have hope because in Christ, they are straightened and made level because of our salvation! We now have the ability to see these challenges in this temporal life with an eternal perspective that God is in control and using all of this to make us grow and mature. The writer of Hebrews talks of discipline and allowing God to use these struggles to reveal what is not pleasing in our walk before the Lord. Hebrew 12:11-13 says this…
“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed.”
How good it is to rest in God’s loving care even if it entails rough, crooked paths at times in our Christian walk. We should not be discouraged by it but stand firm in Christ. It has been fun to read “Pilgrim’s Progress” during this quiet time of social distancing and to see all that Christian encounters on the road to the Celestial City. It has made this idea of walking the road of the believer’s life very vivid in my mind and seeing those who came alongside Christian to encourage and help him along the way…Evangelist, Faithful and Interpreter to name a few.
I can image hearing them say something like this, “Lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees and make straight paths for your feet”! A challenge for all of us to not lose heart and not to be discouraged but to be strengthened and be active and purposeful. The idea here for “paths” in the Greek literally refers to the track of a wheel and thus a “rut” left by a cart or chariot. Other travelers would follow this “rut” or path. In this passage the word for path is used figuratively of one’s way of life and/or conduct. I like what John MacArthur has to say about this in his New Testament Commentary on Hebrews…
“When we run, we leave a track behind us, which will either lead or mislead others. We should take great care that the tracks we leave are straight.The only way we will leave a straight track is to live right and run a straight course.”
So, this would be my challenge to all of us during this crooked, bumpy stretch of road we find ourselves traveling…
1. Are you walking by faith in our mighty God who is in control of all or are you pacing this road back and forth in fear getting nowhere?
2. What’s the “rut” or “path” you are leaving behind for others to follow? I trust it is a straight path of righteousness full of gratitude, positivity, graciousness and kindness knowing Christ is holding our lives in the palms of His nail scared hands as we walk this pilgrim road.
As the Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:1-4… “I, therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
As we are walking this path in our homes with our loved ones, these are challenging character traits to live out…humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with love, keeping unity. May this be the straight path we make as the “rut” for our families to follow.
“Now may the God of Peace Who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:20-21
I love you and miss you all dearly! Rob and I look forward to seeing you soon and enjoying worship, fellowship and the Word together.
Smiles, Amy 😊