Longing: An Advent Devotional
Overland Park Church of the Nazarene
Tuesday, December 13th
As we continue our journey in Advent, let us sing, pray, and study our hopes and promises for our Savior:
Behold me, my beloved Jesus, weighed down under the burden of my trials and sufferings, I cast myself at Your feet, that You may renew my strength and my courage, while I rest here in Your Presence. Permit me to lay down my cross in Your Sacred Heart, for only Your infinite goodness can sustain me; only Your love can help me bear my cross; only Your powerful hand can lighten its weight. O Divine King, Jesus, whose heart is so compassionate to the afflicted, I wish to live in You; suffer and die in You. During my life be to me my model and my support. At the hour of my death, be my hope and my refuge. Amen.
Take a moment to name those things in your life currently causing you pain or worry. Release those cares to the Lord as you sing or meditatively read “Be Still, My Soul.” (Author: Kathrina von Schlegel; Translator: Jane Borthwick, 1855)
Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide,
who through all changes faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
to guide the future surely as the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
his voice who ruled them while he dwelt below.
Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
when we shall be forever with the Lord;
when disappointment, grief, and fear are gone,
sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
all safe and blessed we shall meet at last.
GROW: James 5:7-10
Suffering and poverty are not characteristics we generally desire. Pain, hunger, and marginalization are not pleasant experiences. Yet, they have often been the experience of faithful Christians. The letter of James was written to a group of believers whose faith had resulted in suffering at the hands of the world around them. Many of them lived in poverty and they were often abused. These people longed for justice; James’ letter was written both to encourage their faithfulness and to reassure them of their hope in Christ.
James chapter seven begins with a fierce condemnation of the rich. James proclaims that the wealthy will be judged for their greed: their own silver and gold will bear witness against them, even as it corrodes to worthless dust. In verse seven, James turns to address a different group: believers who have often been victims of the rich. Knowing their hardship, the author calls them to patiently endure suffering in obedience and holiness. To encourage them, James compares these believers to the prophets who were persecuted—even killed—because of their faithfulness to the Lord. Suffering is not pleasant, but obedient endurance is a tangible sign of God’s Kingdom.
James reminds the Church that “the coming of the Lord is near.” Therefore, even in suffering, we should not grumble. Rather, we should faithfully live in anticipation of God’s Kingdom, knowing that Christ will bring justice. What is an area of pain in your life that tempts you toward resentment or bitterness? Lift those feelings up to God; ask Him to help you patiently endure the pain of this world for the glory of God.
As God’s people, we are called not only to faithfully endure our own suffering but also to bear the burdens of one another. We are not to ignore the poor and the oppressed, we are to seek them out and stand by their side. Today, in this cold time of year, buy a warm beverage for someone who is homeless. Seek out that person and, in addition to your gift, ask how you might pray for them.
— Pastor Travis Caldeira