Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Courage


Courage, Dear Heart

A devotional by Christa MacDonald

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” –2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (ESV)

This month of May is the beginning of real spring here in Massachusetts.

The garden is coming alive, the trees are budding, the bulbs are all up, the bees have come back, and all of nature is growing. If you had seen my gardens in March, you'd see that it was a mess filled with mud and twisted brown horribleness. The weather was awful, the news was worse. It was downright depressing inside and outside. But there was an unseen process that was going on. Under that mud and bracken the world was waking up.

For a lot of folks, these last few weeks have been a season of affliction. Many of us have lost loved ones, our financial health, and maybe even our overall sense of security. The world doesn’t look the same way it did just a few weeks ago. Plans have changed. Hopes for the future have changed. The world has changed. But this verse above is the reminder that the world is always changing. As Christians there is no guarantee of easy days and prosperity, because our hope is not in this earth—it is in Heaven.

There is nothing here for us that is not transitory. Our country’s history, as meaningful and epic as it is, is still a blip on the record of time. Our homes, our jobs … all of it is momentary and ephemeral when set against the eternity that waits for us.

When it all gets to be too much, when I’m too anxious about the future or panicked about a present crisis, that’s when I try to remind myself that what I’m going through might feel like everything—all-encompassing, insurmountable, the ONLY thing—but that’s my brain telling me lies. God has me in His hands. My life is His. He knows what I’m experiencing and where it’s going to end. He’s written every chapter of the book I’m living and what I need to do is to trust Him.

A big part of trusting in God during these times of affliction is the stuff that we’re all taught to do in Sunday School, but we often forget. Read your Bible, pray as often as you can, reach out to other believers and share your struggles, share the Gospel with others. It’s the basics of having our inner selves renewed. We’re in the Refiner’s fire. Let it burn away the petty things that don’t matter: the things that weigh us down. Like the hymn by Helen Howarth Lemmel says: ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus/Look full in His wonderful face/And the things of earth will grow strangely dim/In the light of His glory and grace.”

When affliction comes—and boy has it—remember that we are God’s children. He loves us. When it gets rough, raise your eyes and your heart from the earthly to the eternal. God is with us. “Courage, dear heart.”

~*~
Author Bio:
Christa MacDonald is a 2017 ACFW Carol Award finalist for contemporary Christian fiction.

A native New Englander, she was inspired by her travels through the north woods of Maine to write The Broken Trail, which would become the first in the Sweet River Redemption series published by Mountain Brook Ink.

Christa's writing focuses on the real-life challenges of the modern world, love’s sometimes crooked path, and the redemptive power of Grace.

When not working or writing Christa can be found ferrying her kids around, reading, or attempting something crafty.

She and her husband live with their three kids, two cats, and one dog along the coast of New England. Connect with Christa at www.christamacdonald.com.

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