He Heard My Cry
Have you ever been in a situation where you had to cry out to the Lord with everything you have? I remember it like it was yesterday. My daughter stopped breathing when she was two months old. We rushed her to the hospital, and they were able to revive her, but they said things would never be the same for her. At that time, I wasn’t living my life for God, but I knew from being raised in the church that HE was the only one I could call on.
Like David in Psalm 30, I cried out:
I will exalt you, LORD, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.
LORD my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.
You, LORD, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.
Sing the praises of the LORD, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”
LORD, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.
To you, LORD, I called; to the Lord I cried for mercy:
“What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?
Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?
Hear, LORD, and be merciful to me; LORD, be my help” (Psalm 30:1-10 NIV).
For weeks my family, friends and church family prayed for my daughter’s recovery. The doctors had nothing but bad news for me. They said she will never see, walk, talk, or function as a normal child.
I was taught not to put my faith in human limitations, but to stand on the Word of God. I told the Lord if He saved my child, I would give my life back to Him.
She was sent home after two weeks in the ICU. Then began her journey to healing. She is visually impaired but not fully blind. She has brain damage, but she is only mildly delayed. She has a mild weakness on her left side, but she doesn’t let that stop her from doing anything she loves to do. She loves to act in local stage plays, she hosted a radio show for a while, she currently is perfecting her job skills in a job training program for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI). She loves the Lord, and she is very evangelistic in her community.
I thank the Lord that:
You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. LORD my God, I will praise you forever (Psalm 30:11-12).
1 Chronicles 11:17-19 17David longed for water and said, “Oh, that someone would get me a drink of water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem!” 18So the Three broke through the Philistine lines, drew water from the well near the gate of Bethlehem and carried it back to David. But he refused to drink it; instead, he poured it out before the LORD. 19“God forbid that I should do this!” he said. “Should I drink the blood of these men who went at the risk of their lives?” Because they risked their lives to bring it back, David would not drink it. Such were the exploits of the three mighty men.
David’s mighty men were so committed to him because of the Spirit they saw upon him (see yesterday’s devotion) that an expressed desire caused them to risk their lives. Not every desire of an anointed leader is from the Lord. Leaders who have such loyal men must be very careful in what they say to those who support them in ministry.
David longed for a drink from the well in Jerusalem. These three mighty warriors decided they would battle their way to the well and back to honor his request. When David received the water, he did something that must have broken their hearts. He poured it out to before the LORD. Then he explained why.
The men had risked their lives for his personal desire. David knew that life was sacred and should only be put on the line for the One who gave life. How could he partake of something those men had risked their lives for? That would cheapen life and put him in the position of God. Later in David’s life, he did cross this boundary for a different desire. This passage shows us that he clearly knew where the line was. Devotion to an anointed leader is a good thing as long as that leader is expressing God’s desires and not his own. We have the Spirit and must discern which is which.
Consider: Can I be as devoted to God’s wishes as these men were to David’s?
Pray Like Jesus – The Crosswalk Devotional – July 21
Pray Like Jesus
by Anne Peterson
“Therefore, I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:24
Prayer. It’s a lifeline to those of us who know the Lord. Do we approach God’s throne room with confidence? Or stand outside that door, timidly, wondering if we should even voice our plea? For me, I like to picture myself as a little child who knows she is welcome. I can just open the door and walk in, climb onto my father’s lap, and tell him what I need. God is never too busy to hear from us (1 Peter 3:12). And when we are in trouble, God’s ears are open to us (Psalm 34:17).
We’re also told that God answers our prayers before we’re even done asking (Isaiah 54:24). Standing at the grave of our baby granddaughter in 2016, I remembered the many tearful prayers I had prayed from the very moment we heard Olivia had Trisomy 18, a terminal genetic disorder. She would never live a normal life. It was after her birth I learned she might not make it to her birth. I prayed nonstop for her, for my son Nathan, and for his wife Heather.
I also prayed for our other grandchildren who would meet, love, and then miss this little miracle in our lives. Fear tried strangling any joy we had, and on some days, for me, fear won. We didn’t know what to expect. And though we were told it was terminal, no one told Livie. Month after month, she kept living and growing. She smiled, she laughed, she even made raspberry sounds with her daddy.
But at 14 months, the God who created her called her home. And even though we knew she would have no limitations in heaven, we grieved the little one we didn’t get to know long enough. When Jesus heard Lazarus, whom he loved, was ill, he didn’t rush over to his house. Jesus wasn’t to go yet. He waited till Lazarus had died. Jesus knew his purpose was always to glorify God, his father. And Jesus never lost sight of that.
Jesus thanked God because he knew God personally. And we can pray like Jesus did when we remember how big God is, instead of focusing on our big situations. As I read the story of Lazarus, I don’t picture Mary and Martha angered when Jesus got there. They just stated what they believed, that if he had come earlier, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus knew what he was doing.
What strikes me the most about Jesus’ prayer is not what he prayed, but the order in which he prayed. Jesus didn’t tell Lazarus to come out of the tomb and then thank God for hearing his prayer. Instead, Jesus thanked God first for hearing his prayer, and then called out to his friend, Lazarus.
Sometimes God gives us faith to believe he’ll answer our prayers. And sometimes we lean with our whole weight in what we know about God’s character. We know that God can do what we need, but we don’t know what his purposes are. We are fortunate that God’s Holy Spirit brings to our mind other answered prayers. Just as David remembered how God helped him fight a lion and a bear as he stood before the Philistine, Goliath.
I love it when God works in my heart, and I feel encouraged even though nothing about my situation has changed. Sometimes quietly singing an old hymn or verse will stir my mind. Our loving Father tells us to cast our cares on Him, because he cares about us (1 Peter 5:7). Sometimes we don’t feel God’s love when we’re facing the death of someone we love. We grow through our trials when we pour out our hearts, leaving the results up to God.
Sometimes we give God our requests, but we never truly let go. Like Jesus, we need to lay them before God. And when God’s answer is not what we wanted, we need to remember God is always working for our ultimate good, no matter how it feels. God’s ways are not our ways, his thoughts are much higher (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Jacob’s waking exclamation
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.’ Genesis 28:16
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 4:25–5:4
Cheerfulness is a virtue, levity a vice. How much foolish talking and jesting would at once end if we said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place.’ The next time you have been indulging in mirth—I mean not innocent mirth, but that which is connected with uncleanness, or with any sort of ill, imagine you see a finger lifted up, and that you hear a voice saying, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place.’ Let your recreation be free from sin; let your amusements be such that you can enjoy them while God looks on. If, too, we felt that God was in this place, how much oftener should we talk of him and of Christ. This afternoon what will many of you talk of? Sunday afternoon talk is generally a great difficulty to some professors. They do not like to go right down into what they think worldly conversation, so they generally talk about ministers. They consider that to be a spiritual subject; and generally, this talk about ministers is more wicked than talk about the devil himself, for I had rather you should speak religiously concerning Satan, than irreligiously concerning even the angels of the churches. There is one tale retailed about this minister, and another tale about the other, and the conversation gives no edification. If they heard an angel say, ‘The Lord is in this place,’ the afternoon of the day of rest would be spent in much more profitable conversation. But suppose that I have some here today who have been lately exposed to personal danger and peril; brethren, do you not think if in the midst of the storm you had heard a voice saying, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place,’ you would have been perfectly at rest?
For meditation: ‘I am with you alway’ (Matthew 28:20) is a great encouragement to Christians both when alone (Acts 18:9–10) and when together (Matthew 18:20). It should also be a check on our behaviour. In everything you should be able to thank God and ask for his blessing (Romans 14:6). Don’t do anything which your conscience prevents you from committing to him (Romans 14:23).