Walking Before God in the Land of the Living
By James H. Pence –
Not long ago, some dear friends of mine received news their son had died suddenly. If this wasn’t bad enough, their youngest son died in an auto accident about ten years ago. Another friend of mine learned last year that his eight-year-old daughter has an extremely rare and aggressive form of cancer. Someone else I know lost his wife and two sons to murder. Nevertheless, in spite of their terrible tragedies, all of these people are praising God in the midst of their grief. More than that, they are taking that sorrow and using it to bring glory to God and influence others for him.
How is it possible to praise and worship God when you are experiencing unspeakable pain? The psalmist gives us a key when he writes, “For you, O LORD, have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the LORD in the land of the living” (Psalm 116:8-9 NIV).
Believers in Jesus Christ can worship and praise God in the midst of tragedy because He has worked a three-fold deliverance in our lives. First, He has delivered our souls from death. We know that when this brief life is over, we will enter into God’s presence and enjoy Him forever. Through His death, Jesus Christ removed death’s sting, and that has a powerful impact on our outlook.
Second, God has delivered our eyes from tears. The Bible reminds us on many occasions that God will wipe all tears from our eyes when we’re in heaven. But it also says He is our comforter now. Paul told the Corinthians that God is “the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles” (2Corinthians 1:3-4a NIV). Because God is constantly wiping the tears away from our eyes, we can press on through trial and tragedy, bringing Him glory.
Third, God has delivered our feet from stumbling. While it’s true that all believers stumble and fall at times, God always raises us up and heals us. Jude reminds us that God “is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy” (Jude 24 NIV). Even though our circumstances may feel unbearable, we can rest assured that our God will preserve us through them and bring us safely home.
AUTHOR QUOTE: Because of the ongoing, sustaining grace of God, His people can pass through the worst fires human experience has to offer and come out victorious.
“How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD” (Psalm 116:12-13 NIV).
Today’s devotion is by James H. Pence. James is an author, speaker, singer, and gospel chalk artist, but prefers to be known as a storyteller. To learn more about James and how he draws the stories of your heart, visit his website at: www.jamespence.com.