“Embracing Changing Seasons” – Summer Devotional Series
By: Emily Lehner
One thing that I find amazing is that — here in the Midwest especially — our bodies let us know when we are ready for a new season. The snow is beautiful, but after Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, we are more than ready for the never-ending snow to end. The same happens with the heat of summer. It is wonderful to soak up the sun, but after a few days over 100 degrees, we desire a break from the heat, and the cool fall weather, when it arrives, becomes exactly what we need. For me, these changes in weather have become times I look forward to. These times have become refreshing, relieving and joyful.
Spring, in particular, has been so eye-opening for me this year. I found myself trudging along slowly through the winter, desiring fresh, warmer air, and wishing for clear skies. Before I realized it, I was wishing away time and not living in the present. I was begging God for renewal and restoration. I was begging God for these things, but never surrendering myself to Him fully. I would ask Him to make me feel better or to bring me happiness, and when I didn’t receive it, I became convinced there was something wrong with me.
An example of this is found in Daniel 3: The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. I can only image what the three friends were thinking when being thrown in the fiery furnace. They took a leap of faith by refusing to worship the golden image created by King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3:16-18). I think so often we take a leap of faith expecting God to snap his fingers and fix our problems, sadness or persecution. He doesn’t always do that, though. God has the power to stop our hardships from happening. He had the power to put out the fire in an instant, but He didn’t, and He doesn’t always do that for us either.
While God doesn’t always prevent or end the difficult times in our lives from happening, he walks through them with us. Although He didn’t put water on the fire or even prevent King Nebuchadnezzar from building the golden image in the first place, He did something equally as powerful. In verses 24 and 25, we read:
24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.
God doesn’t create the bad situations. He walks alongside us in the midst of trial and tribulation. He goes through the fire with us. Rough situations have the potential to bring Him so much glory, and we see that in verses 28 and 29:
28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.
Do you see how a moment of suffering can be used to glorify Christ? Next time you are struggling with a hardship, I encourage you to not become so concerned with wishing it away. Ask God how He can use the situation and you to bring more glory to His name. While I desired refreshment this past winter, God desired for me to be close to Him, and that in itself was refreshing. However, I couldn’t have seen that without the difficulties.
Check out more of Emily’s blogs and devotions on her website at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com!
Emily Lehner is a writer for the Alumni Center, and is a first year Writing major. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com. Her blog includes personal trials, triumphs, and devotion style writing.