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Lent 2017 Devotional—April 2

Lent 2017 Devotional—April 2

Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.
Jeremiah 32:17

Abraham Lincoln might have spoken for many of us when he said, “I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had no where else to go.” Perhaps you have faced quandaries where you felt so overwhelmed that you dropped to your knees. I am reminded of a sign I once saw, stating its message “When life gives you more than you can stand, KNEEL!”

In today’s Scripture the prophet Jeremiah is a political prisoner (Jeremiah 32:2-3) when the armies of Babylon surrounded Jerusalem and threatened his people with annihilation (Jeremiah 32:3-5). It was in such an overwhelming predicament that Jeremiah modeled praying in desperate straits.

Jeremiah begins his prayer with His eyes on God rather than the problems. He calls to mind that God’s creation of the universe is ample evidence that nothing is too difficult for Him: “Nothing is too hard for you.

That nothing is too hard for our God is a theme of Scripture. When the teenaged Mary was faced with the impossibility of giving birth to the Son of God, the angel Gabriel assured her: “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). When Jesus’ disciples doubted his power to redeem the unredeemable, He reminded them: “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

Again, Ole Hallesby comes to mind as a person convinced that nothing was too hard for God. He was a pastor and theologian in Norway during World War II, an outspoken opponent of the Nazis who imprisoned him for two years at the Grini (Norway) concentration camp. After the war he faced condemnation from many religious leaders for his commitment to Biblical orthodoxy. He knew a lot about prayer in desperate circumstances! In his book, Prayer, Hallesby said that one of the most common mistakes people make in praying is thinking they must help God in their praying. Hallesby writes:

But this has never been God’s intention. We are to pray. God Himself will take care of the hearing and the fulfillment. He needs no help from us for that… The Spirit of prayer would teach us that we should disregard the question as to whether the fulfillment of our prayer is hard or easy for God. What we think or do not think about this, has no bearing on the hearing and answering of prayer.

After all, nothing is too hard for God!

Many churches begin their worship with a prayer called a “collect”. As the name implies, its purpose is to “collect” all the thoughts and prayers of the people. We too need to “collect” all our scattered thoughts as we pray in order to remind ourselves of the God for whom nothing is too hard.

PRAYER RETREAT

  • Take a moment to “collect” your thoughts and reflect on how nothing is too hard or impossible for God. Repeat with Jeremiah: “Ah Lord God! It is you who made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you.”
  • Think about a difficult or an impossible situation that you face. What do you sense the Spirit of God saying to you about this situation? Talk to God about your difficult or impossible situation.
  • After you finish talking with God, take a few moments to be still in His presence, listening for Him.

“We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”
Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest

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