8 Minute Read

Be Still

To the best of your ability, get rid of all distractions. Take a couple of minutes to breathe deeply, to quiet yourself in the Lord’s presence. Then, prayerfully ask the Lord to speak to you in this time and let Him know that you will be listening and will make whatever adjustments He will reveal to you.

Today’s Bible Reading:

Isaiah 51:1–53:12
Ephesians 5:1-33
Psalm 69:19-36
Proverbs 24:7

Listen to the Lord

Slowly and reflectively read the following verses and listen to what God will say to you through them. Then, consider writing down any insights He reveals to you.

Psalm 69:32-33 (NLT): “The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people.”

Reflections from Scripture:

As with many of the Psalms, Psalm 69 is the heart-cry of a worshipper who is completely transparent with his God. Bad things are happening. Wrongs are being committed. Injustice is not being stopped.

Essentially, the Psalms are the language of the heart. They don’t paint the world as what it can and should be. Instead, the Psalms reflect the world as it is perceived in the heart of the writer.

But we also come to realize that the Psalms are spoken in the language of faith. So while the writers were honest about their internal struggles and questions, they inevitably transitioned to the language of faith. Essentially, regardless of what was happening around them, they chose to find comfort in the Lord.

That’s what we see in Psalm 69. After the Psalmist lamented his unenviable position, he chose to trust in His God. He didn’t settle into despair and stay there. Instead, he decided to demonstrate faith even as the storm raged around him.

Psalm 69:32-33 (NLT): “The humble will see their God at work and be glad. Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy; he does not despise his imprisoned people.”

If you read the story of Peter walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33), I believe you will see an illustration of this principle. The stormy sea illustrated life’s trials. Living victoriously during times of difficulty was demonstrated as Peter walked on the sea. Conversely, living a defeated life, swamped by life’s troubles, was illustrated by Peter sinking into the water, fearing that he would drown.

What made the difference? Just like in our experience, Jesus was present as Peter experienced victory (walking on water) and defeat (sinking in the water). What made the difference?

Matthew 14:28-31 (NLT): “Then Peter called to him, ‘Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.’ ‘Yes, come,’ Jesus said. So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. ‘Save me, Lord!’ he shouted. Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. ‘You have so little faith,’ Jesus said. ‘Why did you doubt me?’” 

The difference is faith. The difference is whether the worshipper trusts in their God as the storms of life are raging all around them.

There is no doubt that life is periodically going to get difficult. Your experience may be one in which it seems like you are constantly in the storm. And I’m sure that you realize by now that it isn’t always God’s will to calm the storm.

But let me conclude by telling you a little secret. Sometimes the Lord calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child. And if He can calm His child, the storm is simply an opportunity to be drawn closer to the protective arms of Jesus.

Spend Time in Prayer

Lord Jesus, I periodically have to remind myself that my current experience isn’t Heaven. I know that sounds silly, but I periodically get disillusioned when difficulties happen, especially when I’m passionately following You. So, in the sporadic difficulties of life, help me realize that when You don’t calm the storm around me, You just desire to calm my heart as I trust in You. Please give me the grace to do that. I pray in Your Name, Amen.

Matt Ellis is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Polk City, Florida (fbcpolkcity.com). His latest book is God’s Grace in the Real World. Connect with him on FacebookTwitter, or LinkedIn.

Photo by Torsten Dederichs on Unsplash