Devotion - Hope in the Midst, Part 1

All this week our devotions are from members of the West Side family. Since we are separated during this time, and you are hearing a good deal from me as your pastor but less, perhaps, from one another, it's a gift to hear and join in how others in our fellowship are walking with Jesus during this time. 

Today's devotion is from Stacy Kutz. Stacy is on staff at WSPC, working with our Kids & Families, Youth, and Young Adults.

(Psalms 11-15 / Proverbs 3 / Philippians 1:3-6)

The Apostle Paul wrote the book of Philippians from prison. He was in jail. He wasn’t facing a global pandemic, but he was isolated and alone. He wasn’t worried about dying from sickness, but he faced the very real possibility of death, of being executed for his faith.

We could say that Paul, when he wrote the book, was facing the most extreme form of mandatory social distancing! Given that Paul was quarantined, isolated and alone, what was on his mind? What did he want to share with us?

Paul makes it clear that no matter what else is going on, no matter what our circumstances, nothing stops the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:3-6, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” The work that was begun will continue unhindered, uninterrupted until the day of Christ Jesus. Nothing stops the Holy Spirit from moving amongst us so people can continue to come to know Jesus and grow closer to Him.

This is so encouraging. Even though we may be locked away at home, the Spirit of God is not locked away anywhere. God’s plans are not in the least bit thwarted by COVID-19 or by anything else going on in the world. NOTHING stops the gospel. God always triumphs no matter what is happening in the world. Our circumstances seem daunting right now: hunger, sickness, job insecurity, anger, violence, racism, fear and isolation. Yet in the midst of this we can have joy and confidence knowing that if it’s not good… God’s not done!

During this time of stay-at-home, I have had the opportunity to do some reading (or listening as I LOVE audiobooks) on all sorts of fronts. One of the books that I have started is a devotional called A Shelter in the Time of Storm by Paul David Tripp. I want to share a couple paragraphs I found encouraging from his introduction as he speaks into how we as followers of Jesus look at times of trouble.

“There are many mysteries to this moment in our lives that we will never solve. Yet, there are a few things that we know for sure. We really do live in a fallen world. We haven’t been given a ticket out of the brokenness of this world simply because we are the children of God…The world we live in simply is not operating the way God intended.

There is a second thing we know for sure. There is a God of awesome grace who meets his children in moments of darkness and difficulty. He is worth running to. He is worth waiting for. He brings rest when it seems like there is no rest to be found.

But there is a third thing. You and I were just not hardwired to make our way through this fallen world on our own. We were meant to exist with eyes filled with the beauty of his presence and hearts at rest in the lap of his goodness. This is what I love about the Psalms. They put difficulty and hope together in the tension of hardship and grace that is the life of everyone this side of eternity.”

I hope these words serve as a good reminder and encouragement during this time.

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