This year (of all years) I made a New Year’s Resolution to become more knowledgeable about the world by following the news more. As you can probably guess, it’s been a heavy and unpleasant task, one which seems to get worse by the minute. Between the fear of the future and deep sorrow over tragedies of the past and present, I have found myself frequently discouraged by the sheer amount of things that need restoration from brokenness.
I am reminded of how Daniel had also reached a boiling point with the situation of his fellow Hebrew exiles stuck in Babylon. He knew, as do we today, that God had promised deliverance for his people, but it was taking so long. I can only imagine he felt much like we do in the weariness and urgency we all feel after nearly 8 months in virtual isolation. When will it end, Lord?
📖 Listen closely, my God, and hear. Open your eyes and see our desolations and the city that bears your name. For we are not presenting our petitions before you based on our righteous acts, but based on your abundant compassion. Lord, hear! Lord, forgive! Lord, listen and act! My God, for your own sake, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your name. (Daniel 9:18-19).
Overcome with desperate need to see God’s work, Daniel leaned into prayer and fasted with sackcloth and ashes (9:3). Matthew Henry notes in his commentary, “When the day of deliverance dawns it is time for God’s praying people to bestir themselves; something extraordinary is then expected and required from them, besides their daily sacrifice” (source). Instead of fixating on all that was wrong with their circumstances, Daniel found peace and hope in God’s abundant compassion.
This is the answer, friends. When the world feels it is about to burst into flame, we must kneel in prayer, praise, and thankfulness (Philippians 4:6). I know from experience that when I bend my knees and thank him with a vulnerable heart, the sorrows and grief of the world quickly fade into a tender knowledge of his abundant compassion and overwhelming love for us.
With Thanksgiving right around the corner there is no better time to learn this lesson. That is why I have been working hard on my latest project which I am delighted to share with you:
If you have ever felt your Thanksgiving holiday was more busy than thankful, this devotional is for you. This 3-week devotional is designed for a November 9 start date and its weekday readings are meant to lead us right through Thanksgiving week.
I hope you will follow along with me so that come November 27, you’ll be strengthened and encouraged by the beauty of God’s faithfulness and goodness seen through the lens of your life.