I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Debbie Ramamoorthy (WITHIN Devotional Contributor)
I am sure one of the many things on all of our minds recently has been how quickly our lives have changed, seemingly overnight. A few weeks back, we all entered into a world of unfamiliarity, flexibility and adaptability. The entire world, in some way or another, has been affected by something that came in so quickly and so abruptly.
Living in the Amazon, in a fairly impoverished part of the jungle of Ecuador, during a global pandemic, puts a lot into perspective for me. I look around my world and am constantly facing the reality that the people around me are in so much more need than myself. They have been out of jobs and not getting paid for 4 weeks and living off of nothing. Yet, every person I speak to seems to be speaking about how uncomfortable they are that they don't get to go see their friends, or have to cook more than they desire to. I am sure there is a level of discontentment we all feel but I can’t help but see that there are those who are in greater need than me.
While we are all trying to adjust to this new normal, I am constantly battling with the question, "What can I be doing to help others?" I want to help. I want to use this time to show those around me who Jesus is and who He can be to them. In their moments of despair that there is a God who sees them, knows that and wants them to live in total hope in Him. But…I'm stuck at home. I want to actually be the hands and feet of Jesus! Finally--this feels like the time! However, our curfew is 2pm and if we are out of our homes, we will be fined or even imprisoned.
I want to show my neighbors what Jesus' love looks like, truly, really and deeply! Yet, being in contact with them could potentially put them at risk and their families. I know that the communities I work with, my students- are all struggling. Their homes are currently rampant with abuse, neglect, loneliness, sadness, confusion, and parents who lost their jobs, having no means to put food on their tables. I know my students are feeling a sadness of being in a home that is filled with family members who are seeking shelter together and a sense of abandonment by the school and their teachers. I want to go over to them and hug them. I want them to see me and know that I still care about them. I want to let them know that they are not wasted space and they’re here for a reason. They consume my mind and heart.
The reality is that these communities don't have immune systems that could fight off a virus. They live with their elderly and they don't have access to running water. So, if one person potentially gets infected, that could mean the loss of many of them. So, what do I do? Do I still go over there to be their "savior?" and potentially put them at risk? While it’s tempting, God has given me perspective.
I know that I must choose to surrender my heart and consume my mind with Scripture so that I gain discernment. I hope you are encouraged in some way by what I have learned:
1. Prayer---What a powerful tool that we all have access too. I was reading James 5:16 and it says "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective," and it struck me. I can lift each person that comes to my mind (whether or not I know their names) in prayer--bold, deep and transparent prayer. James 5 goes on to say that Elijah, just a regular man, prayed and his prayers were answered! I trust that God will answer me.
2. Humility--- Our posture right now needs to be rooted in Christ. Humility is what Jesus embodied. His ministry here on Earth seeped with humility. He had one and only one concern- to stay in intimate connection with the Father and please Him. That's it. He wasn't here to gain the approval of man, to be liked by His friends, or to do things that made sense to those who watched Him. His heart was set in humility, and from that, His actions were motivated. So, surrendering our hearts to the Lord, and making sure that all that we are doing is rooted in humility and in pleasing our Father. No one else. 1 Peter 5:5 says:
“All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,
God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”
3. Stillness--The last one that I have to consistently and daily surrender to the Lord is to just Be Still. This is a season where we are being refined and restored. We are all in a season of Sabbath. We are all, in some form or the other, in "the desert." We are being stripped of things and we are seeing that we have to let go of other things, and it seems like we are going back to the basics of what truly matters. But our tendency is to rush past things. We want to get to the next thing. We want to be at the next level. We want to take the next step. We want to do, do, do. And what a beautiful thing that is when God's people want to live out His call! But first... we must sit at His feet. We must drink from His cup. We must taste Him and see Him. And Then, when He has totally taken hold of our hearts- right now, in this season, in the most captivating way- then we are ready.
I hope you are all staying safe. I pray that you all remember how loved you are by our Father and He is right in this season with you., holding you and loving you through it!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
1 Peter 5:5
James 4Questions to Reflect on: