Devotional | Demetrius Bell | Sep 24, 2023
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
I was recently in a training that explored professional experiences and reducing professional trauma and burnout. Early in the training, the facilitator shared a quote from the Depression Era poet, Muriel Rukeyser. She once wrote, “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” Although we know the universe is physically made of atoms, the universe of our lives is made up of stories, and the stories that I want to talk about are stories of redemption. God, turn it around.
In the Book of Exodus, Moses was born at a time when his people, the Israelites, were enslaved to Egypt: they were increasing in population, and Pharaoh was worried they might ally themselves with enemies. Pharaoh ordered all newborn Hebrew boys to be killed in order to reduce the population of the Israelites. God, turn it around. Moses' mother placed him in a basket in the reeds, and he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter who adopted him. He later killed an Egyptian slave master who was beating a Hebrew, so Moses fled across the Red Sea. 40 years later, God brought him back to Egypt to free his people from bondage. In this story, we have a guy who came from practically nothing and was raised to prominence once he gave up trying to do things in his way and in his power and allowed God to change everything. God, turn it around.
Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are taken to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. The four of them were taken there for their intellect and dashing good looks to be trained in the Babylonian court. They were all given new names to reflect the fact they were now in the service of the king. Daniel was given the Babylonian name Belteshazzar, while his companions were given the names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. As the story continues, the four maintained their faith and customs and served our one true God, not the king, and they were punished for it. Daniel was thrown into a den of hungry lions, while Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into a fiery furnace. God, turn it around. As the Bible teaches us in the Book of Daniel, the Lord stepped in and sent angels to intervene on behalf of his faithful servants and no harm came to them. Can we see this in our lives today? Do we believe or, better yet, know God can and will be there for us as he is faithful?
Many of us know Peter, also known as Simon Peter, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus and one of the first leaders of the early Christian Church. Some would say he was the Lord’s right-hand man because he was always trying to do whatever Jesus asked of him. When the people and priest came for Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, Peter drew his sword to protect him and to keep him from being arrested. So, one would say Peter definitely had the Lord's back, but as we all know Peter infamously denied Jesus three times when questioned about if he was a follower of Christ. Can you say, “Cover my own backside” … However, Jesus ultimately chose Peter to lead the early church, with some calling him the rock of the church. Now that is a story of redemption. God, turn it around.
I can remember a time not too long ago when I felt the weight of the world, or rather my world, pressing down on my shoulders like a ton of bricks. Early one morning, it woke me from my unrestful night of sleep. I got out of bed and literally had to go sit on our back porch, and I began to weep. In that moment, I began to pray and asked God to take away the issues that were causing me this stress and pain. Now, we all know God has an amazing sense of humor. As I cried out to him, as I surrendered these issues to him, he helped me to feel less anxious in the moment, and over time, rather than when I wanted it. In his time, he resolved the issues I felt plagued by. There are so many stories in my own life, as I am sure there are in each of yours, when the Lord was there with me.
When we have been redeemed by his grace. We are not alone, no matter what the sin or circumstances was or is today. No matter how traumatic or impossible the issue might be, we are redeemed in Christ. God, turn it around. God gave his one and only son to die on the cross for us, as undeserving as we are, and on the third day he rose again with all power in his hands. The story of Jesus Christ is truly the ultimate redemption story. God turn it around. Know that as we fall down, we get up because it glorifies our Father in heaven to this world that needs him more than ever before because of his love, grace, mercy, and power.
Most gracious Father, we know we are not worthy of you, but you still care so much for us that you go to bat for us time and time again. Lord, I pray all will come to understand that as we are not perfect, we are redeemed by the blood of your son, Jesus Christ. I pray others will come to learn to rest in your arms as they go through trials as well as times of great joy. If we lean into you, we know you, God, can turn it around. Amen.
Demetrius BellDirector, Crossings Community Center
Explore other devotions like this one any time at crossings.church/devotions.
Missions & Outreach