Rooted 2021 Student Devotional: Realizing I Don’t Have What It Takes
Going back to school in a pandemic was tough in 2020; it might even be harder in 2021. Disagreements about vaccines, the threat of catching COVID, the looming possibility of cancellations and shutdowns – and the strife surrounding it all – leave us exhausted and searching for solid ground. The promises of God that we find in Scripture are that solid ground. Over the next two weeks on the Rooted blog we will offer short devotions for you to share* with your teenagers, examining promises from God that our writers find profoundly comforting. In an uncertain world, God says, “I, the Lord, do not change” (Mal 3:6); may his faithfulness fill us with hope and joy in the months to come.
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go. (Josh. 1:9)
How strong and courageous are you really? Mind? Body? Spirit? I vividly remember the day that all three were tested for me.
I was a young mother pushing two young toddlers through the grocery store aisles when I received a phone call that would change the course of our lives forever. My young, healthy, athletic husband had had a very sudden, unexpected, massive stroke and was not expected to live. He was being rushed to the hospital and I was to meet him there.
After the initial shock and panic, I remember driving to the hospital and praying. I’ll admit that I have always considered myself a capable person. I was raised to be one. But, walking into this unknown (and uncontrollable) situation I realized I was completely out of my depth. I didn’t know if I had what it took in this situation. I prayed and asked the Lord to help us through whatever it was that was that we were facing.
The news from the doctors was grim. They gave us two choices and it was clear that both were Hail Marys. Doctors, family, and our church priest were with us when we received the news. We prayed together and the only thing I could repeat was “Thy will be done.” I won’t lie, my mind was spinning in those moments. My anxiety was high and I had no gut instinct about the right choice to make on behalf of my husband.
Have you ever been in a situation where you wished you knew the Lord better than you do? That you had a more intimate relationship with him? That you knew his will for your life with absolute clarity? In those first critical hours in the hospital, I remember feeling like a failure. If I only knew the Lord better… If I had put him first in my life…. If I spent more time in the word…. If I believed with more certainty and less doubt… perhaps I could be more assured, less anxious and he would listen and act on our behalf.
A friend and former Bible study teacher came to the hospital when she heard the news. She asked if I wanted to pray with her. I said yes, but that I felt completely unworthy to ask anything of the Lord. I told her my requests anyway. My desire for my husband was far more than simply his survival. I wanted him to have a full life. More importantly, I wanted our lives to be in accordance with God’s will, no matter what the outcome looked like. That moment was one of the first times I can remember praying with absolute surrender to the Lord’s will and authority over my life and of those people I love. I’ll never forget my Bible study teacher’s response to my prayer request: “THAT is a request worthy of God”.
The truth hit me with bold clarity. It’s not about me and whether I am worthy or not, whether I feel close to God or far away. It’s always been about him… what he can and will do. He has always been my God – pursuing me, rescuing me, loving me. He created me and knows me intimately… down to the hairs on my head. He ransomed me with the price of the blood of His own son. I am loved and cared for more than I could ever believe or understand. When I am afraid or anxious, HE is my strength. When life throws a curveball HE is my courage. No matter where I go or what I face in life, HE is there with me.
Do you have what it takes? Me neither. I’m so glad that HE does.
Click here for a printable pdf of this devotional.