Scripture: “But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere.” – 2 Corinthians 2:14, NIV
Paul’s words ring with celebratory notes of excitement in following Christ and the task of spreading the good news of the Gospel. But we know Paul suffered immensely. He was jailed, beaten, bitten by a poisonous snake, shipwrecked …the trials he endured were immense, yet his tone suggests the joy of the Lord which was undoubtedly the source of his strength to carry on through trying seasons.
“For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession,” Paul wrote, “like those condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to human beings.” (1 Corinthians 4:9) Why would Paul and the other disciples put themselves through such harsh treatment, knowing full well it could always get worse?! Perhaps this text Paul wrote to the Thessalonians can provide us with a clue: “The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia- your faith in God has become known everywhere…” (1 Thessalonians 1:8)
Changing seasons often usher in heartache and hard transitions. Change, even good change, is difficult for humanity. The Lord knows this, and faithfully goes before us. The difficulties we endure for Christ will ultimately lead more people to Him who otherwise have no hope. May our lives bring glory to God, in changing seasons and in our everyday lives.
There is no such thing as a mundane day in Your eyes. Each day more souls are born to this earth which You have knit in their mothers’ wombs’ for purposes specifically designed to bring glory to You. Abba, You are in control of all that seems out of control. Each life, in Your eyes, is significant. Your love for each individual, Yahweh, is so great we struggle to grasp even a fraction of it.
The world seems chaotic to us, and seasons of change are difficult. Lord. Jesus, we need Your guidance and Your presence to endure life on this earth. You told us it wouldn’t be easy …and it sure isn’t! Yet, even in moments of trial, give us the perspective to see things as You do. Help us to understand trials on a holy level, which carries godly purpose. Help us to be able to see You in all things, hard and celebratory. Let us feel Your presence and Your peace as we endure pain, hardship, deep sadness, and spiraling anxiety.
Today we’re reminded of Paul’s trials, yet his joy and peace in following You, Jesus. May this please be the state of our souls as well. Speak to us, stretch our minutes and raise us up in the dark of the morning to seek You. Expand our time in prayer and speak to us through Your Word. You promise, when we seek You with all of our hearts we will undoubtedly find You. Remind us, Holy Spirit, to turn to God first and foremost each day. Whether we are enduring trials and changing seasons or steady, predictable days, let us always be building a firm foundation of prayer and Your truth to carry us through all of our days.
Each season carries its own beauty and pain. Summer brings warm temps and sunburns, Autumn begins with the beauty of the leaves turning and ends in the sadness of bare trees; Winter blankets every branch with sparkling snow, but the dark, gray days linger on; Spring brings the hope of new beginnings and blooming flowers alongside flooding rains. Thank You, Lord, through the beauty of Your creation, for reminding us of Your remarkable and majestic presence every single day. Each sunrise new. Each sunset majestic. All as unique as all of us, created so specifically for Your glory.
Father, in times of trial and change it’s not our nature to see the silver linings, to hope and look to You. Let it be, Lord! Let it be the tendency of our hearts to turn to You, as Paul did …as so many Christ-followers who have gone before us, and journey alongside us. Thank You for reminding us today, we are never alone. Through every season, You are with us. Praise and glory and honor to You.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Meg Bucher, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” and “Glory Up, The Everyday Pursuit of Praise.” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University, but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a volunteer Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters and golden doodle.