Read last week's devotional here.
You know those days when this military life seems like too much? The ones where you don’t feel like you can bear another deployment or TDY? That day that comes during every PCS when you hit your wit’s end and have a good cry (or scream)?
I’ve had my fair share. I’m definitely a crier. And by that I mean, I’ve cried in more places and in front of more strangers than I care to admit.
But, I do know this: God wants to meet us there. In fact, He’s already waiting in each of those moments, ready to pull us through. Because He knows those moments. Christ suffered and struggled just as we do.
God is anything but impersonal. His grace is dripping with empathy and a desire to lift our burdens by showing us His way (Hebrews 4:15-16). That’s why His grace not only transforms us by covering our sins and leading us toward healthy growth, it also changes our prospects and our ability to tackle them.
Grace gives us confidence and a future.
Grace allows us to have confidence in salvation. “In Him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
When we truly embrace salvation, we know that we aren’t living for the world where sorrows abound. We’re living for what comes after this world. When we look at our daily challenges through that lens, they feel less and less burdensome because they are temporary while our reward is eternal. Think of it like the worst assignment you’ve ever had. You may have been miserable, but you knew it wasn’t forever and that when it ended, something better waited (except heaven is even better than anything we can imagine).
Grace makes us a different kind of strong.
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:8J-K ESV). When we face challenges, we often wear ourselves out trying to achieve the outcome we think is best. When we embrace grace, it transforms our life goals — our new mission is to grow closer to and glorify God. When that becomes our focus in hardships, we see them as opportunities for God to show up and get the glory. With that perspective, our strength comes from letting God’s all-powerful strength take over.
Grace gives us rest.
Some of our greatest burdens in life come from the standards we set for ourselves or that we learn from the world. In Jesus, we find rest because when we follow Him, none of those standards matter anymore. Only His do.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 ESV). In following Him, we can rely on His power, rather than our own because we see the world and our trials with new eyes.
Grace motivates and delivers.
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV).
We see example after example in scripture where amazing things are achieved through Christ. Peter walked on water. Christ’s grace inspired His apostles and followers to proclaim His name tirelessly, even as they faced persecution and death. Apostles like Paul experienced deliverance from those earthly circumstances, and so do we at times (2 Corinthians 1:4-10). But even when God’s answer isn’t to lift us directly out of our circumstances, we are ultimately delivered by grace into eternity with Him, which is a far greater reward than respite from earthly trials.
No matter what you are facing, no matter how down-trodden your heart is, God is waiting for you in this moment. Rely on His transformative grace to pull you through.
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How have your present struggles formed in you a longing for heaven? Or how can they? Reflect on what is unsatisfying now about the trials you are going through and how those longings will be realized with Jesus forever in heaven.
How do you feel weak? Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually? List these out. How can these weaknesses remind you of your complete reliance and need for God?
How does starting from a place of accepting that “only by grace” God has given us so much motivate you? In other words, how does knowing that you are His motivate you toward godliness?
How are you weary? Resting in God is a huge step of faith for most people, especially those who are prone to self sufficiency! How can you take a step toward God in faith by resting in Him? Examples might be making time to spend with him every day even if it means sacrificing time cleaning the house, memorizing a verse to recite when anxieties threaten to overwhelm you, truly praying when stressed out, etc. Choose one way you can do this and apply it throughout the week. At the end of the week, reflect on the impact that rest had on you.