Shannon’s desperate eyes spoke volumes. She told me she’d walked from Albany to Salem with her backpack and handbags to get away from her husband. She’d had nothing to drink all day, was overheated and felt ill. Thirty years old, she described herself as a misfit mother whose own mother watched two of her children while despairing of her incompetent daughter.
I asked her who she turned to when her world fell apart. She didn’t know. I asked if I could share what I do when life is brutal and help is desperately needed. She said, “Sure.” So I shared with her my Champion, Jesus and an amazing thing happened. She said she’d lied to me. She really had four children. One was a runaway 13-year old prostituting her body somewhere on the streets of Portland; the two youngest were on their way to a foster home in Idaho. The other son was in a foster home in Portland. The state was about to terminate her parental rights because of her oft-repeated drug use. Yes, she once believed in God but now struggled to think He could really exist.
Shannon listened closely as I shared about God and the richness of His love—a love that meant abandoning His own Son upon the cross to deal permanently with our sins. She heard about a Savior who doesn’t expect us to be perfect to find Him. He calls us in our imperfection to admit our sins and trust Him as our Lord and Savior. She heard of the hope that comes in knowing a Father in heaven is there for us—24/7.
Psalm 25:14-17--The secret counsel of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He reveals His covenant to them. My eyes are always on the Lord, for He will pull my feet out of the net. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am alone and afflicted. The distresses of my heart increase; bring me out of my sufferings.
Someone recently handed me a survey of how adults say they deal with the pressures of life: 37% overeat; 32% smoke; 21% bite their nails; 13% drink alcohol. How many of those same people are unaware there is a God clued in to their struggles? O Shannon, how many of you are out there? If only your eyes could see the reality that stress is not mitigated by methamphetamines. If only you could believe that your voice is heard by a Father who longs to embrace you forever. Your relief will come through pouring out your struggles and releasing your problems to Him. He’s given you His book, the Bible, to point you to His grace and mercy. It teaches you how to find joy in the midst of pain. Find those who know and love Him. Let them help share your grief, listen and be there for you. Don’t give up! Call on the One who loves you.
A broken woman listened as I prayed that Jesus might heal her and bring her to Himself. A broken society needs us to go where they are to share the antidote they are missing. Why isn’t Jesus a listed solution on a survey? Have we become mute about our relevant Lord? Have we become so anxious to protect our rights that we have overlooked so many needs? Twenty-four thousand people die in the world everyday from physical hunger. How many thousands die every day spiritually starved? What will it take for our hearts to be broken for those without Jesus?!
Forgive us God for our apathy. Encourageus to proclaim Your name to a stressed-out land of Shannons.
Percentage of medical office visits made for stress-related symptoms: 60-90%.--Harvard Business Review, 11/12/94.
Number of aspirin taken by Americans each year: 33,000,000,000.--Reader's Digest Book of Facts.
“I can’t do it!” I cried to God. “I can't handle the housework, my work, the loneliness of a husband who works so much.” Then I sensed the Holy Spirit saying, You are trying to do everything on your own strength. Just worship Me--and I'll do the rest. I said out loud, “I praise you, God, in the midst of my situation. Thank you that nothing is too hard for You.” Slowly, the pressure left--my burden was now His. Praise isn't always my first reaction to frustration, so I have to remind myself to do it. But now, when my flesh can't go any further, I stop and worship God.—Stormie Omartian in “Heart to Heart,” Today's Christian Woman.
©2001 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)