Links Daily Devotional

Today’s devotion includes a video supplement with Links Players President Jeffrey Cranford and Casey Martin.

Up from the Mire

They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud. (Jeremiah 38:6, NIV)

I get asked questions a lot. I’d like to say that people call on my expansive inventory of golf swing knowledge, but alas…

Here’s a question that came my way just this week: Do you think it really makes sense for American Christians to talk of “trials” in their lives?

It’s a good question. Few places in the history of our planet have offered a more luxurious life, even for those who don’t perceive their condition to be one of luxury. But running water and ready electricity for all who want it come to mind as excellent amenities that millions of the world’s residents still do not possess. And while no country’s citizens are immune to the ravages of disease or natural catastrophe, you sure have to wonder why we are quick to call a rough day at work or a crowded freeway on the way home a “trial.” With that one word, we lump together a vast array of possible difficulties!

Jeremiah was an ancient victim of bullying. Pronouncing only what the Lord had given him to say—which is a prophet’s chief task!—Jeremiah set off the ire of those who were disturbed by his words. After all, he was declaring that those who remained in King Zedekiah’s court were destined for death. But rather than heeding the prophet’s words, the king’s officials called Jeremiah a killjoy and received a complicit head-nod from the king when they proposed punishment for the young man. This was when they seized him and lowered him into the cistern.

Now that, my friends, is a trial! No one would think of such a mudhole as anything else, though it may not be so bad as a terminal illness or a devastating house fire.

What did this trial produce in Jeremiah? This is another critical question, because for many of us, a true trial can be a jumping-off point, a place where we might say, “I’m done with God.”

But Jeremiah never wavered. When he had been rescued from the pit, he was brought again to the king, who asked for more words from Jeremiah. For a moment, Jeremiah thought this to be a pointless request, for if he spoke in truth the king would kill him and dismiss his words all the same. But with assurances from the king, Jeremiah pressed forward, speaking the plain words of God, though they only confirmed what the prophet had said before.

Most Bible readers are familiar with James’ words that trials are not meant to defeat us but to produce in us perseverance in our faith (James 1:2-3). In Jeremiah—and in Casey Martin, as he speaks in today’s accompanying video—we find this kind of “going on” with God. It is a strength that endures every trial, small or large, First World or Third World. It’s a strength we do well to possess.

Jeff Hopper

December 12, 2012

Copyright 2012 Links Players International

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