Monday, October 9, 2023

Devotionals for the Heart: Hope for when you are suffering and bitter

For My Welfare
A devotional by Aubrey Taylor

“Behold, it was for my welfare that I had great bitterness; but in love you have delivered my life from the pit of destruction, for you have cast all my sins behind your back.”—Isaiah 38:17 ESV

When we look at the opening phrase of this verse, we wonder, How can bitterness possibly be for my good? Psalm 107 answers this question beautifully. It describes four groups of people whom God delivers out of times of suffering.

It is easy to think that we are suffering because we have sinned, and the enemy of our souls is more than happy to encourage us to think that way. Take comfort! In Psalm 107, the author describes both those who suffer because they have sinned, and those who suffer though they have not sinned.

Indeed, there are those who have rebelled against God and spurned His counsel (Psalm 107:11). He allows them to be burdened with grief and heavy labor until they cry out to Him in their misery. There are also those whose suffering is a natural consequence of their foolish and sinful choices (verse 17). Yet when they cry out to God, He sends His Word and delivers them out of their distress (verse 19). Like raw gold placed in a furnace, God turns up the heat in order that the impurities might rise to the surface and be skimmed off.

In Psalm 119:67 (ESV), King David says, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word.” David both sinned and suffered much, but he was fully confident of God’s love for him. He knew that suffering was not meant to destroy him, but rather make him more fit for God’s use!

It is in these dark times that God prepares us to meet the needs of others. If we have never been through the depths of sorrow ourselves, can we truly relate to those whose lives are steeped in suffering? Some of us are born with the gift of mercy; others must be trained in it.

I spent years of my life in deep depression. Unfortunately many people made me feel as though it were all in my head. Others tried to express their sympathy, or bring comfort in ways that, while well intentioned, only made me more keenly aware that no one understood.

When we have walked in someone else’s shoes, we find that we go from having sympathy to having empathy. It is the difference between saying, “I’m sorry about your circumstances,” and truly bearing one another’s burdens because we have borne those things ourselves.

If you are in a time of suffering, take comfort. God wants to use it for good, both for you and for others. Cry out to Him, and don’t be afraid to ask, “Why?”

Let’s Pray: Dear Jesus, I confess that I am in a time of suffering and cannot see Your purpose just yet. I trust Your loving care for me, and even though I may not feel it, I know deep down inside that You have my best interest at heart. So today I simply ask how You might want to strengthen my relationship with You, and make me more able to show Your love to others. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

Song of Reflection: “Why” by Crystal Lewis. Listen to it here.

Author Bio:

The only child of a single parent, Aubrey Taylor filled her younger years by creating characters and writing stories. This ended around age sixteen when music, friends and part-time jobs began to fill her time. After that came college, work, marriage, and children. 

It wasn’t until the world was beginning to come out of the COVID pandemic that God led her back to her love for writing, coupled with a passion she’d always had for history. It was time to start a new adventure! Her current long-term project is Gott Mit Uns, a German-perspective 20th century historical fiction series.

Aubrey lives in Upstate New York with her husband and three children. She’s busy keeping the home, caring for her family, doing research for and writing her books.

Aubrey enjoys music and is involved with the worship ministry at her church as well as a German choral group. She also plays gigs occasionally with friends as a singer and acoustic guitarist. After all that, she finds time to sketch, craft, and hike.

She is a lover of Jesus Christ, The Holy Bible, history, German culture, tea, and cats.

Aubrey has a special heart for those who struggle with severe anxiety, depression and PTSD.

Connect with Aubrey:

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