Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings and prayer prompts to help you spend time with, and draw closer to Jesus.
Psalm 77:11-14 “I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.” (ESV)
Turning Misery into Magnificence
Humans do not like to contemplate — much less embrace — pain and suffering. In fact, we are biologically wired to avoid it at all costs. While we do have to endure some hardship and trial, our greatest fear is that it won’t end well… that it will not be worth it. This is why most of us prefer to read books, watch movies, or attend performances with happy endings. Sure, we don’t mind if the writers weave in some painful plotlines because everyone loves a good comeback story. To really produce a big hit, the main character’s suffering has to be worth it in the end. If the character’s suffering is set to music with a happy ending, then — BOOM — you have the highest-grossing broadway film adaptation of all time, The Sound of Music.
Maria von Trapp, on whom The Sound of Music is based, lived a life more spiritually profound than any movie or Broadway performance could convey. While composers Rodgers and Hammerstein acknowledged her faith as a former nun, no flashy Hollywood production could ever do justice to how much the real Maria credited God with transforming her pain into glory. “It will be very interesting one day to follow the pattern of our life as it is spread out like a beautiful tapestry. As long as we live here we see only the reverse side of the weaving, and very often the pattern, with its threads running wildly, doesn't seem to make sense. Some day, however, we shall understand. In looking back over the years we can discover how a red thread goes through the pattern of our life: the Will of God.” In her darkest hours, Maria depended on this truth: misery becomes magnificence in the hands of a mighty God.
In 1 Corinthians 13:12, Paul reminds us that what we see here during our time on earth is often similar to what Maria described when looking at the backside of a tapestry — random threads everywhere that do not make sense. But when God’s love and our pain collide, the heavenly patterns of His hand eventually emerge. The chaos, the mysteries, and the pain are transformed into something useful… powerful… and beautiful. “For now we see but a faint reflection of riddles and mysteries as though reflected in a mirror, but one day we will see face-to-face. My understanding is incomplete now, but one day I will understand everything, just as everything about me has been fully understood.” (The Passion Translation).
Scriptures assure that everything we go through — all the pain, suffering, hard work — will all be worth it. Like an invisible pattern on the back of a tapestry, His hand stretches out over the span of our years from birth to death, orchestrating our steps and encouraging us to simply follow His lead and trust His oversight. "I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else.” (Colossians 2:2-4, The Message version)
The Psalmist also had faith that God was weaving a pattern of glory from the chaos of his life. After he cries out over the pain and goes through the same kinds of struggles we have today — sleepless nights, doubting, worry, grief, and anger — he shares a piece of timeless wisdom. He instructs us to recall the greatness of our God. Psalm 77:11-12 says, "I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds.” He invites us to recall, contemplate and appreciate how God has come through in the past — both on a macro scale and an intensely personal level. Praising God for what He’s done and trusting Him to do it again unlocks the mystery, as Paul called it, and produces the richest treasures we could ever find.
For each day of the coming week, start your day by being vulnerable with the One who made you. He already knows everything about you… from the littlest annoyance to your greatest pain. As you lay the troubling things at His feet, spend time recalling how He’s come through in the past — both for His people throughout history and for you personally. The daily readings and prayer prompts below will help guide you.
Daily Bible Readings with Prayer Prompts
As you contemplate these passages throughout the week, make time to pray before you read them and then again, afterward. In each reading, ask God to show you what the verses mean specifically to you. God’s Word is alive, so even if you’re familiar with these Scriptures, approach them with an expectant heart and an open mind. God wants to spend time with you.
Monday - Read Isaiah 41:10 and Psalm 77:11-12 in several different versions of the Bible. Start this week by spending time recalling how God has strengthened you and helped you in the past. Consider writing them down in a journal or using a note-taking app. Like milestones on a long journey, remembering how much God loves you and intricately weaves your life together can keep you on the path of wholeness during times of trouble and temptation.
Tuesday: Read Romans 8:18 and 2 Corinthians 1:3-5. God always uses trials or pain in our lives to shape us into instruments for His glory… to make us more like Jesus. As you meditate on today’s scriptures, ask the Holy Spirit to bring you joy in knowing nothing is wasted in God’s hands — even if you can’t see the results yet. Then ask God to place the name of someone on your heart who could be comforted and encouraged by something you’ve gone through.
Wednesday: Read John 16:33 and Romans 12:1. When we stop fighting or denying the fact that we will encounter problems, and instead invite God to use whatever hardships we encounter for His glory, we become empowered to receive Jesus' promise to overcome. The problems still happen, and the pain still causes hurt for a season. With Jesus' help, we can handle it like heavenly champions, rather than earthly spectators beaten down and going through the motions. Spend time this morning asking God to give you the courage to be the champion He’s called you to be. Even though you may be staying home, ask Him to show you how you can be a living sacrifice for Him today.
Thursday: Read Hebrews 12:11-12 in at least three different translations of the Bible. Spend some time asking God to reveal any fruits of His Spirit in your life or lessons learned as a result of going through a time of suffering, change, or discipline. Then spend time praising and thanking God for them.
Friday: Read Ecclesiastes 3:11, Lamentations 3:22-23 and Psalm 30:11-12. As you ponder how God might intend to transform something painful into something beautiful in time, ask Him to open your eyes to the mercies He is showering upon you between now and then. Sometimes the comfort we need is already available to us, but we’re too wrapped up in our own expectations to see it. Ask God to lift your heart and give you a glimpse of His perspective as you spend time worshipping Him.
Additional resources and help are available. If you need prayer or are looking to connect with a pastor or a lay counselor, we encourage you to reach out to our Care Ministry. You may also be interested in these two helpful books written by Philip Yancey. Where Is God When It Hurts and Disappointment with God: Three Questions No One Asks Aloud.
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SERMON STUDY GUIDE - PSALMS - WEEK 6
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