Daily Devotional 5/19/20

Today I have a special guest with me for the video devotional. I’d like you to meet Crackers, our family hamster. Crackers is a Syrian Hamster who joined our family on Valentine’s Day. My eight-year-old daughter is trying very hard to work her way up to having a dog – we are starting very small. Crackers, while adorable, is the most nervous, fearful creature I think I have ever met. It has taken her a long time to warm up to us – to not run and hide, cowering in fear any time she sees us. She’s come a long way!

I do have to work with her each night on becoming more social and accustomed to us. The other night, I had her out of her cage and I was enjoying watching her go from toy to toy, crawling in and out of a soft blanket that I had put down. Every time she came out of a hiding spot, she would look up at me and start trembling again. She would tentatively step out from hiding with her eyes still cautiously watching me. I told her, “You know, life would be a lot more fun for you if you would just trust me and trust the fact that I will NEVER hurt you! I give you fresh water and food every day, a cozy soft bed; I clean up after your countless messes and I give you extra things you don’t even need. I just know you will enjoy them, like toys and treats, because I enjoy seeing you enjoy them!” … Then it dawned on me, the soft voice of the Holy Spirit – “And the same goes for you, Kara. I provide for you every day. I have been nothing but trustworthy and faithful your whole life. Life would be a lot more fun if you would just trust me and who I am!”

We are in the midst of these daily devotionals on the theme God is For Us. And that’s the truth – He REALLY is FOR us! That’s great news and I don’t think we let the reality of that fully sink in.

In my last staff devotional during the Psalm 23 series, I mentioned that I have been reading a book called “Life Without Lack” by Dallas Willard. In it, Dallas says that it isn’t what we DON’T know about God that is our problem. Our problem is what we THINK we know about God that just isn’t true. Jesus came in essence to say, “Forget everything you think you know about God. I’m here to show you what God is really like and it is very good!”

I love this quote by Dallas Willard, “God loves to gush forth with His goodness.” John 4:14 says, “but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Dallas goes on to say, “Nothing so delights God as giving to anyone and everyone who will receive.”

A favorite verse of mine is Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the Lord is good!” Taste and see – experience, reach out, receive the goodness that is being offered to you. Like my hamster, I’ve come a long way in learning to trust God and His goodness through years and years of experiences with Him. There are still times though when I go right back to trembling, questioning His very nature. I slip and doubt God’s goodness, stumbling into false thinking such as “Be careful what you pray for, you just might get it!” Have you noticed when people say this, it is always meant in a bad way? Such as, God might use what you pray against you, so be very careful how you word your prayers! Or if you pray for patience, then God is going to dream up the most horrible situations you could be in to REALLY teach you patience – as if God is saying “ha, ha, ha, I’ll show you; YOU asked for it!” God does teach and guide us, but God is wholly and purely good. He teaches us as the gentle guiding shepherd that we can fully trust.

We must continually learn and lean into the fact that GOD IS FOR US! Life is so much more enjoyable when we can relax in this truth! Like I provide for Crackers, my hamster, God provides daily for us, taking excellent care of us, providing not just the things we need for survival, but out of His goodness, providing things just for our enjoyment because He delights in seeing us enjoy them!

Journaling is a practice I have enjoyed since I was in junior high school. It helps my mind to focus to write out my prayers to God on occasion. At the start of each new year, I enjoy looking back over the previous year or years of journal entries. Having a written account is proof to me of God’s faithfulness and presence. Being able to see how situations that were big concerns at the time, later worked out in unexpected ways. Other situations that seemed a big deal at the time that I had completely forgotten about as the year went on. Journaling is helpful because of the fact I do so easily forget. I need the written reminder that God indeed is good! We are all part of God’s story of His faithfulness to His people. This story is written down for us in the Bible as our written account and reminder that we continue to live out today. The good news that God is for us!

Let us pray:
Father, today, may we taste and see that you are good. Help us to trust you. Show us where our thinking about you is just not true and replace these false ideas we have adopted with your truth, that we may know you as you really are and trust that you ARE for us! Thank you for this undeserved grace and for the good gifts you place in our lives for our enjoyment each day. Amen.

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