Daily Devotion - Tuesday, April 12, 2016
I have this sign on my desk in my home office that reads, "Don't tell God you have a big problem, tell your problem that you have a big God." This sign sits right next to where I work almost every day. It sits in that particular spot because I'm forced to glance at it from time to time, and when I do, I am reminded that God is bigger than whatever "big" problem I am facing.
It might seem odd for a pastor to have to be reminded of these kinds of things. Let me let you in on a little secret: Most of us pastors are struggling just like everyone else to remain faithful, to trust God and, above all, to practice what we preach.
So what does it really mean to say that God is bigger than my problems? At first glance, my little sign sounds like one of those pithy, church-y sayings, emblazoned on a knick-knack that you pick up at your local Christian bookstore--or Hobby Lobby. It sounds like it, because it is. But this pithy, church-y saying actually speaks to me pretty profoundly.
I'm facing some problems, you see. No more than most people, I would imagine. Most of the problems I face are church-related issues, leadership stuff and pastoral care concerns for church members, staff, fellow clergy and the like.
Some of the problems I face are centered on my family--worries over my kids, family members who are struggling... But, like many of you, I also have other concerns, and occasionally more than a few hardships to endure.
My little sign helps me to remember something that the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans:
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
What Paul knew was that through the power of the risen Jesus, we can overcome even the most daunting obstacles. Because Jesus conquered death, we no longer have anything to fear.
Our God is a God who brings the dead back to life, who restores the broken, reconciles the prodigal and redeems the lost and lonely. We might have big problems, but our God is definitely bigger.
Suffering produces perseverance... Perseverance produces character... Character produces hope... And the kind of hope we're talking about here is resurrection hope--the kind of hope that is well-placed, true and life-giving.
The same God who raises, restores, reconciles and redeems is also the God who reminds us through our hardships that the risen Son, through the mystery and power of the Holy Spirit, is with us--always. Our problems might be big, but our God is bigger.
May you feel the presence of God through your difficult days, challenges and seemingly insurmountable problems. May you feel the power of the risen Christ within you and all around you. May the Holy Spirit lead you to the truth of who you are--a Resurrection Child of God. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always.