Weekly Devotional 011524

The Toughest Things to Learn as a Christian

by Gary Mueller

Things have been getting a bit frustrating for me of late as I age and find myself contracting all sorts of illnesses I hardly ever heard of before. How would I have ever imagined the ball in the joint at the top of my right hip falling apart and making that leg an inch shorter—not to mention the backache that is caused along with it. This has brought me to a place of exclaiming, “Come on Lord, what are you trying to teach me here?”

Sunday night I was lying in bed and kept having the same dream over and over again. I would even wake up, go back to sleep, and then start the same dream over again. In this dream, I heard the same voice saying to me, “There’s a bear in the box! There’s a bear in the box!” I’m not much of a dream interpreter, but when I shared the dream with several of my friends, we all came up with a similar dream assessment. The big bear was trying to break into my box. For me this seemed to be related to the same big bad Disney wolf I was afraid of as a kid, and he was trying to jump on me and break into my locked food box like the kind they have in National Park campgrounds. After our group talked about this and I went home, this verse from Acts popped into my mind:

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.” –Acts 2:17

OK…I’m old, I can run with this. And I feel blessed by this. I know for sure that my hip medications are making me dream a lot more and act a bit differently, but this particular dream I can clearly remember. Now what about the bear? What was God saying to me? Our interpretation was that Satan was messing with my head and trying to negatively distract my thinking in many ways. Three days out from a big surgery, this was no time to be paying attention to worrisome distractions and fear. I needed to change things.

Then something that I tell the new recruits at Camp Pendleton occurred to me. The two hardest things for a Christian to do is to develop faith and trust. Sometimes it is easier to trust the bed we sleep in not to fall down in the middle of the night than it is to trust the God we worship to answer our prayers. We take one for granted and the other we need proof that it is really going to happen. For example, imagine a 3-year-old standing on the side of a swimming pool listening to her daddy calling over and over again, “Jump! I’ll catch you. Jump! I’ll catch you.” Isn’t giving up to and giving into our God a little like that? We have nothing to lose and so much to gain if we can only give in and jump in with Him.

Oh yes—back to the bear! Both the bear and the big bad Disney wolf have been plaguing me all my life. Now in my “seniorhood” I need to finally give up the things of the past to my protective Father of the future. It’s called faith and trust in God’s promises. And as Pastor Sean just reminded us, “BELIEVE.”

Of the 5000 or so promises of God in the Bible, I always come back to the one I give to the Marine recruits on Sundays from Psalm 91. I have taken on their name for it—the protective Marine Corps Psalm:

v.1 Live under the protection of God most high and stay in the protection of God all powerful.

v.2 Then you will say to the Lord, You are my fortress, my place of safety; You are my God and I trust you.

v.3 He will spread His wings over you and keep you safe and secure. His faithfulness is like a shield or a city wall.

v.10 God will command His angels to protect you wherever you go.

v.13 The Lord says: “If you love me and truly know who I am, I will rescue you and keep you safe.”

v.14 “When you are in trouble, call out to Me. I will answer and be there to protect and honor you.”

Let this Psalm be your prayer this week. May God bless you on your journey…

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