Starting and Finishing Well (July 30)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 30

Starting and Finishing Well

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 80:1-7 | 2 Chronicles 26:1 – 28:27 | Romans 13:1-14 |  Proverbs 20:11

Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 26:1 – 28:27

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success” (2 Chronicles 26:4-5, NIV).

Uzziah was off to a great start. Things were going extremely well, maybe too well. Then he crashed and had a hard time finishing the race. He had good intentions and a great start, but lost his way near the end of the race.

Uzziah, the King of Judah,  started out young—he started out well.  One of the keys to the race is finding the right advisors. He had a great one: Zechariah. “He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the Lord, God gave him success.” 

Don’t underestimate the importance of spiritual advisors in your life, people who will guide you on the path of “reverent obedience” to “live a godly life” (The Message, 26:5). Apparently, Uzziah’s “crash and burn” came after Zechariah had left the scene.  But as he was instructed and guided by his chief “spiritual director,” Zechariah, he was successful. Uzziah’s good start also points out the importance of a good theology of God. 

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov. 9:10).  A.W. Tozer said: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” (The Knowledge of the Holy, p. 7).  He taught that our understanding of God affects our every action.  Uzziah is a good example of that, both positively and negatively.  When he feared God (reverent awe, not cowering fear), he obeyed and was successful. When he lost the rightful reverence of God, he grew arrogant and proud and careless.

 Uzziah’s “crash and burn” came because of his pride.  Eugene Peterson paraphrases it well: “Everything seemed to go his way. But then the strength and success went to his head. Arrogant and proud, he fell” (The Message, 15, 16). Lofty thoughts of God led to his success. Lofty thoughts about himself led to his downfall.

Knowing God deeply and intimately is the key to life lived to the full—having right attitudes toward him is the beginning of wisdom. When we become the object of our worship, instead of the God who created us and is the source of all our blessings, we set ourselves up for the same tragic end. Keep your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher or your faith, and everything else is kept in its right perspective. That gets us on the right path, and keeps us there all the way to the finish line.

Holy God, help me to fear you rightly: not in a cowering, servile fear, but in reverent awe that leads to worship and wisdom. Root out the pride and selfishness that will only lead to a fall. Help me to lean on you and walk in the power of your Spirit. Amen.

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Medium Rare or Well Done? (July 29)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 29

Medium Rare or Well Done?

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 79:9-13 | 2 Chronicles 24:1 – 25:28 | Romans 12:1–21 | Proverbs 20:8-10

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 12:1-21

“Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:1-2a NIV).

Regardless of how you like your steak, we all want to hear the words, “well done” when we stand before Jesus some day. I guess that’s the way God likes his living sacrifices well done. But if he were to check on his living sacrifice today, where would you be in the process? Medium-rare? Medium-well?

I believe Paul gives us some indications of how well we are doing in offering ourselves as living sacrifices. Here are a few of them:

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our humble service (3-8). God has given you gifts. A living sacrifice demonstrates his or her humility by willingly using those gifts to build up other believers and to share the love of Christ with those who need the good news.  

For too many Christians, their commitment to Christ and his church is demonstrated only by their willingness to warm a pew. One who is living a life surrendered to God, will be serving others willingly and using their gifts diligently.

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our devotion to one another in love (9-13, 15-16). A living sacrifice demonstrates love practically and constantly: “Be devoted in brotherly love,” “Honor one another above yourselves,” “Share with God’s people who are in need,” “Practice hospitality”.

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our devotion to the Lord (11, 12). Our faithfulness in prayer and zeal to serve him show the reality of our spiritual fervor.

Being a living sacrifice is demonstrated by our reaction to trials, suffering, persecution, and curses (12, 14-21).  Here is advice for a living sacrifice dealing with difficult times: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Trials demonstrate how “well done” you are as a living sacrifice.  Do they make you better or bitter? A living sacrifice is patient, joyful, hopeful, and prayerful as he perseveres through trials.

An even more difficult test is your reaction to someone who curses you. Will you lash back at them? Take revenge? The living sacrifice follows the example of Christ and leaves the issue of “payback” to God (see 1 Peter 2:20-23). The tongue of a living sacrifice has died to cursing and is reborn to bless—even those who’ve hurt you most.

It’s not easy. In fact, it’s impossible without his help. That is why you have to die to yourself, so that you can be raised to new life—Jesus’ life in you.

Open your heart to Jesus today, give yourself fully to him—all of you—don’t hold anything back.  Then someday you’ll hear those words we all want to hear: “Well done.”

Father, continue your work in me preparing me for “that day” when I hope to hear you say, “Well done.” Fill me with your Spirit, guide me into your truth, help me to walk with you into maturity.  Amen.

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I Stand in Awe (July 28)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 28

I Stand In Awe

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 79: 1-8 | 2 Chronicles 21:1 – 23:21 | Romans 11:13-36 | Proverbs 20:7

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 11:13-36

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God That God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36 NIV).

Some truths set my mind on a major “spin cycle”—my mind spins and spins and spins and just can’t quite grasp the complexity of the truths. The trinity is like that. The incarnation—Christ coming as God in human flesh—is another such truth. Thinking about eternity makes my mind spin until it locks up tighter than a Windows operating system and crashes. Trying to understand God’s purposes and sovereign working is another truth that sends me looking for the “control—alt—delete” keys to restart my brain. Evidently, it did for Paul too. But when Paul contemplated those “mind blowing” truths, they always seemed to lead him to worship the God whose plans are too complicated and glorious for us to figure out.

Knowing God leads us to worship. But often it is the mysteries—the things we don’t know and can’t comprehend—that take us to a higher place in our worship. They makes us stand in awe of God and his wisdom that is “just plain” beyond our ability to comprehend.

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor? Who has ever given to God that God should repay him? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.”

God’s plan is sometimes difficult to understand. Especially when we try to figure out how he’s “working all things together for good.” There’s a lot of mystery there. Some things are beyond our knowing. But instead of trying to figure it all out, worship the God who knows and understands and is working it all out according to his plan in the most mysterious but glorious way.

“God is too good to be unkind. He is too wise to be confused. If I cannot trace His hand, I can always trust His heart.”  –C.H. Spurgeon–

Heavenly Father, I stand amazed in your presence. Oh, the depth of the riches of your wisdom and knowledge. Your ways are higher than mine—your thoughts well beyond my ability to comprehend. So I stand in awe and worship and praise you. Guide my path today. Give me your wisdom. Allow me to walk in the reverence and awe that comes from the wonder of who you are. Amen.

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What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 27

What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 78:65-72 | 2 Chronicles 19:1 – 20:37 | Romans 10:14 – 11:12 | Proverbs 20:4-6

Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 19:1 – 20:37

“O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (2 Corinthians 20:12 NIV).

Jehoshaphat’s words could often be our own: “We don’t know what to do, we’re looking to you” (The Message, 20:12). Facing a battle that seemed too big to overcome, he was tempted to discouragement and fear. Instead he admitted his confusion—his weakness—and looked to the Lord for help.

So, what should we do, when we don’t know what to do?  Jehoshaphat’s example is a good one to follow.

They prayed. “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (20:12). He looked to the Lord, along with all the men of Judah and their families. They stood and waited. They listened. They prayed.

They stood firm in faith. “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you” (17). As they set out for this unusual battle, Jehoshaphat reminded them to put on their armor—their faith: “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld, have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” Imagine the test of faith involved in this unusual battle strategy.  Imagine being a singer on the front lines of the battle armed with only a song to fight the mighty army. When you don’t know what to do, stand firm in your faith. 

They praised. The heart of the unusual battle strategy was to sing “at the top of their lungs” (Message, vs. 19). Jehoshaphat ordered the singers to the front lines of the battle. They led the people to sing and praise the splendor of God’s holiness: “Give thanks to the Lord for his love endures forever.” The Lord took care of the rest.  The enemy fell into confusion and began to fight among themselves. Victory was won through praise. Praise is a powerful weapon when we are up against a battle we think is too big for us.  When you don’t know what to do, sing! Sing loud and see the deliverance God brings!

Lord, we don’t know what to do, but we’re looking to you. We’re looking with expectation as we pray, and standing firm in our faith, and praising you at the top of our lungs! We look now for the victory. In Jesus name. Amen.

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The Agony and the Ecstasy (July 26)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 26

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 78:56-64 | 2 Chronicles 17:1 – 18:34 | Romans 9:22 – 10:13 | Proverbs 20:2-3

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 9:22-10:13

“Brothers my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (Romans 10:1 NIV).

Do you know the agony and ecstasy of being an intercessor? Paul did. He clearly understood that intercession was at the heart of the work God had called him to. Yes, it was often a struggle to “pray through” as he stood in the gap for those he ministered to. He knew the agony of intercession—but he also knew its joys. Paul knew that intercession (praying faithfully and intensely for others) was essential to ministry—he couldn’t do ministry in his own strength and power. He had a prayer burden: “my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved” (10:1). He needed to pray. 

He describes the agony of intercession earlier when he wrote: “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel (9:1-3). That’s agony: Great sorrow and unceasing anguish and a willingness to be cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of those he has the prayer burden for.  

To the Colossians Paul wrote: “I want you to know how much I am struggling for you.” When God gives us a prayer burden to intercede for others we should know that it is hard work. When God trusts us enough to give us such an intense prayer burden, we know that we have been growing in our prayer lives. Many of us know little of prayer burdens. We haven’t grown deep enough and close enough to the Father’s heart to be able to feel his sorrow and anguish. But as we grow in our prayer lives, he will begin to give us prayer assignments and prayer burdens. As we prove faithful, those assignments and burdens will likely grow into bigger assignments with even greater prayer burdens. Do you know the agony—the struggle—of really standing in the place of another in prayer?

Thankfully, there is more than agony, there is also the ecstasy of intercession. To the one who has wrestled in prayer—to the intercessor who knows the agony of spiritual battle on behalf of others—God also gives great joy as they see the fruit of those prayers.  “In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy” (Philippians 1:4). There is great joy when we have prevailed in prayer and see the answer.

But that joy is overshadowed by the joy of just spending time in the presence of the one who loves us most. “In his presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11 KJV) said the Psalmist.  The intercessor knows that truth deeply and experientially (and often wonders why others are in such a hurry when they pray).

Intercession is both agony and ecstasy—both deep struggle and “joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Peter 1:8).  Open your heart to Jesus, feel the burdens of his heart and allow him to teach you to pray.  He has much to teach you. The ecstasy makes all the agony worthwhile.

Jesus, teach me to pray. Help me to grow in my prayer life so that I might be used by you to intercede for others. Help me to grow in faithfulness in carrying prayer burdens so that I might be entrusted with even greater prayer burdens. Amen.

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Time After Time (July 25)

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July 25

Time After Time

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalm 78:32-55 | 2 Chronicles 14:1 – 16:14 | Romans 9:1-21 | Proverbs 20:1

Today’s Scripture Focus: Psalm 78:32-55

They tested God again and again and provoked the Holy One of Israel. They did not remember his power or the day when he redeemed them from the foe (Psalm 78:41-42 ESV).

How quickly we forget. The children of Israel had plenty of opportunities to learn. Time after time, they saw the faithfulness of God – his miraculous intervention. Time after time, they drifted from wholehearted devotion and proved rebellious and unfaithful.

They had seen so many miracles, yet “in spite of all this, they kept on sinning. In spite of all the wonders, they did not believe.”  It all started out in simple things. They longed for the way things used to be (Egypt). They grumbled and complained at his provision for them (manna—the bread of angels, vs. 23-25). But these subtle forms of unbelief turned to ever increasing wickedness as they abandoned their covenant with God and worshiped and served created things rather than the creator. They were so quick to abandon their Deliverer for gods of their own making.

Then God would bring judgment. Taken into captivity, they would finally come to their senses again and turn and seek the Lord. But even judgment showed the mercy of God. Instead of abandoning them, he used the adverse circumstances to bring them back to himself. “Whenever God slew them, they would seek him; they eagerly turned to him again” (32-24). Then the cycle would repeat itself, they would drift again into unbelief and rebellion. ‘Their hearts were not loyal to him, they were not faithful.” “Yet he was merciful; he forgave their iniquities and did not destroy them. Time after time he restrained his anger” (37-38).

“Again and again they put God to the test . . . They did not remember his power” (41).

The Children of Israel were so quick to forget all the wonderful answers to prayer. They so quickly forgot the wonders and miracles. Like sheep they quickly went astray. Yet in spite of all this, “He brought his people out like a flock; he led them like sheep through the desert. He guided them safely, so they were unafraid.”

We are forgetful people and our forgetfulness keeps us from trusting God fully. Is he not faithful, even when we are faithless?  Is he not powerful, even when we are powerless? Is he not loving and gracious?  Is he not good? He has demonstrated these qualities in our lives over and over again. Yet we so quickly forget.

Open your heart to Jesus today, and don’t forget to thank Him for the ways he has proved himself faithful time after time.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your steadfast love that is relentless, steadfast and sure. Forgive me for forgetting how faithful, merciful and gracious you are. Strengthen me by your Spirit that I might follow you in faithfulness this day and in the days to come. Amen.

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Nothing Can Separate Us From His Love! (July 24)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 24

Nothing Can Separate Us From His Love!

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 78:17-31 | 2 Chronicles 11:1 – 13:22 | Romans 8:22-39 |  Proverbs 19:27-29

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 8:22-39

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? [37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, [39] neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:35-39 NIV).

Nothing can separate you from Christ’s love! Nothing! Absolutely nothing. Despite the things you do, he still loves you. Sometimes people don’t treat us with love, but He always loves us. 

Sometimes in the midst of circumstances we wonder if he has forgotten us—if he has stopped loving us. Paul makes it clear: “nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!” This is the foundational truth that ties all these wonderful promises together.

Because God loves me, I can endure the present sufferings knowing, that they “are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” And that brings the hope to wait eagerly  “for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (23-25). It may be tough now, but God loves me and the best is yet to come!  I will be rewarded for my patient endurance in suffering. There will come a day when I realize that it has been worth it all.

Because God loves me I have confidence of knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 (KJV). He is good, and he will not allow a circumstance in the life of one of his children without somehow using it for good.

Because God loves me and demonstrated that love in the most sacrificial way possible, I can trust him for all the things I need:  “What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? (Romans 8:31-32, NIV). Did you catch the logic of that verse? If God loves you so much to send his son to die for you, can’t he be trusted to graciously give you everything you need? Will he not graciously give us all things? What a promise!

Because God loves us, we are “more than conquerors” through Him who loves us (37).  Whatever you may be facing today, remember that God loves you.  Jesus and the Holy Spirit are both interceding for you and the Father is working things out for good even through this situation.  Patiently wait in hope and see how he brings you through by “graciously giving you all things” and enabling you to become “more than a conqueror through Him who loves you.”

Open your heart to his love today. Let him pour it out into your heart. It’s just what you need to face the storms of life and come out the other side more than a conqueror reflecting more and more of the glory of Christ who lives in us.

Gracious Father, I abide in your love. Pour out your love into my heart. Help me to know the height, depth, width and breadth of your love—this love that surpasses my ability to comprehend. May your love in my heart overflow. Whatever happens this day, keep me focused on the truth that nothing can separate me from your love. Amen.

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Revival: Do We Really Want It? (July 23)

July 23

Revival:  Do We Really Want It?

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 78:1-16 | 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 10:19 | Romans 8: 9-21 | Proverbs 19:26

Today’s Scripture Focus: 2 Chronicles 7:11 – 10:19

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV).  

When they get together to pray, it is very common to hear Christians praying for revival. They wax eloquent about how “this world” needs revival and about how bad things are today in “the last days.” In the abstract, everyone seems to want revival. Who wouldn’t want the church to be growing, exciting and alive? Who doesn’t want to see lives transformed by powerful encounters with the manifest presence of God? But when you get specific, few seem willing to pay the price.  Revival would be wonderful, but it is costly.

The reason we don’t have revival has little to do with the world (though they would benefit by it, of course). It has everything to do with you and me in the church. Judgment begins in the house of God (1 Pet. 4:17). Revival waits for the church, and more importantly, you and me to pay the price. What is the price?

“If my people will humble themselves” (7:14). Revival will not come to religious pretenders. It begins when we lay aside our self-righteous games and get real and authentic before God and each other. Confession of sin is a hallmark of revival. When we get so fed up by our lukewarm lives, that we only want to get right with God, we have set the stage for revival. True humility means that we stop pretending and start confessing our true condition. “You say I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor blind and naked.” The needed confession and repentance requires great humility. 

“Pray and seek my face”(14). Most Christians struggle to spend a few minutes in prayer. Because their personal prayer lives are shallow, they stay away from prayer gatherings. They haven’t really learned even the basics of prayer. They don’t know the joy that is found in the presence of the Lord when we take the time to open our hearts to him in prayer, real prayer. Prayer that seeks God’s face requires quality and quantity.  

“And turn from the wicked ways”(14). Repentance is necessary. Studies show that Christians are not all that much different than the world around us in beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. Before revival can come to this world (that does desperately need it) and before it can come to the church (which needs it just as bad), it must come in you and me.

It will cost you something: humility, repentance and much prayer and seeking his face. But the joy of revival will be worth it. Let’s pay the price for admission to see the glory of God fill “the temple” again.

“Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”

Father, give me a holy hunger and thirst for revival in my own heart. Fill me with desire and strengthen my intention to pray and seek your face. Search my heart, and lay bare my heart before you that I might humble myself and confess my sins. Light a fire in my heart that will spark revival in those around me, and let it spread to the glory of God. Amen.

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No Condemnation (July 22)

From Open Up Your Heart by Jeff Syverson

July 22

No Condemnation

Today’s Scripture Readings:  Psalm 77:16-20 | 2 Chronicles 6:12 – 7:10 | Romans 7:14 – 8:8 | Proverbs 19:24-25

Today’s Scripture Focus: Romans 7:14 – 8:8

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2 ESV).

“No Condemnation” (8:1), Yet many of us carry around a load of shame, guilt and condemnation. The good news is this: There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. God is the Father of compassion who gladly runs out to meet all of his prodigals. He runs to us, embraces us, kisses us, brings the best robe and rings for our fingers and declares that “it’s time to party” for the prodigal has come home.

Our heavenly Father loves us deeply and does not condemn us. But we do not always live as if that is true. Many times others treat us as if that is not true. Their words shame us and condemn us. How unlike Jesus who said, “Neither do I condemn you, Go and sin no more.”

God has chosen each of us full well knowing our past, our present and our future. He knows all about us: our ups and downs, our victories, our low points, our times of devotion and our times of rebellion. The amazing truth of scripture is that “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” He sees our desperate condition and loves us enough to send his Son to die for us to clean us up and give us a new and better life. It is amazing, but in his grace he knows all about us and chooses us anyway. Truly, there is no condemnation for those who are his children.

Are you living in the freedom of knowing that there is “no condemnation?” Spend time in his presence and find the life and peace that come from that truth sinking deeply into your heart.  This is a truth that can set you free.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the freedom of living without condemnation. Thank you for the joy and peace that it brings to live without shame. When others try to condemn or shame us, remind us of your love and acceptance. Amen.

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Hide and Seek (July 21)

July 21

Hide and Seek

Today’s Scripture Readings: Psalms 77:1-15 | 2 Chronicles 4:1 – 6:11 | Romans 7:1-13 |  Proverbs 19:22-23

Today’s Scripture Focus: Psalm 77

“I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out tiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted. I remember you, O God, and I groaned; I mused and my spirit grew faint” (Psalm 77:1-2, NIV).

The Psalmist, like many of us, has forgotten the joy of “hide and seek.” He’s forgotten the child-like giggles and laughter when we ran through the house looking under everything, opening every door, checking every closet, every nook and cranny. He’s forgotten the delight of seeking the one who loves us enough to make it a challenge. So have most of us. It was a fun game for kids, but we are ready to move on.

Hide and seek. We all loved to play it as children. We would play it for hours on end, day after day. We especially liked to play it with Dad. He was so much better at hiding than we were. He made it a challenge. As children, we found delight in the seeking process and we were positively ecstatic with joy when we finally found him. Sometimes God plays hide and seek.

We groan, we can’t sleep and even singing songs in the night doesn’t seem to help (3-6). We are filled with questions and the answers seem as elusive as the presence of God (7-9). We feel abandoned. But God still delights in our seeking. “You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). His ways are beyond our ways and we may not understand all that God is doing in the times when he seems to be hiding. But know that the seeking process is not without purpose and rightly understood may even become a source of delight. Yet his ultimate goal in all of this “hide and seek,” is the mutual joy we have when the seeking process finally leads to “finding.”

We all have times when we wonder if God is hiding. We have times when we don’t feel the sense of his presence. But know that he is there, hoping that you will remember the childhood delight of seeking him diligently—hoping that you will not give up the search before the laughter and joy of “finding.”

This is not to criticize the Psalmist, he is groping in the dark for light and he is making some good choices: he opens his heart to God in honesty and pours out his concerns, he remembers the ways God has been faithful, he tries to make sense of things in light of what he knows about God. He remembers that God was there when they came up against the Red Sea, delivering them from their troubles though “his footprints were not seen” (19). God seemed to be hiding then too, but he hadn’t forgotten them. 

Is God playing “hide and seek” with you? Then perhaps this is a time to become child-like again; a time to enjoy the seeking again–to rediscover the joy of hide and seek.

Heavenly Father, when I don’t sense your nearness help me to remember the joy of “hide and seek.” Help me to trust you in the dark and to be filled with anticipation for the moment when once again I am found. As I seek, fill my eyes with faith and perseverance in the joy of rediscovery of your goodness and love.  Amen.

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