A hero to a generation of people who grew up after World War II, Corrie ten Boom left a legacy of godliness and wisdom. A victim of the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, she survived to tell her story of faith and dependence on God during horrendous suffering.
“I have held many things in my hands,” Corrie once said, “and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.”
Corrie was well acquainted with loss. She lost family, possessions, and years of her life to hateful people. Yet she learned to concentrate on what could be gained spiritually and emotionally by putting everything in the hands of her heavenly Father.
What does that mean to us? What should we place in God’s hands for safekeeping? According to the story of the rich young man in Mark 10, everything. He held abundance in his hands, but when Jesus asked him to give it up, he refused. He kept his possessions and he failed to follow Jesus—and as a result he “went away sorrowful” (v.22).
Like Corrie ten Boom, we can find hope by putting everything in God’s hands and then trusting Him for the outcome.
All to Jesus I surrender, All to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. —Van de Venter
No life is more secure than a life surrendered to God.
In Mark 10:1-16, Jesus taught about the demands of discipleship, including the necessity for childlike faith. Here in the encounter with a rich young man, Jesus spoke of the need to love God totally—fully and unreservedly. This young leader lacked unrivaled allegiance to God because he loved his earthly possessions more (v.22). In His teaching, Jesus had warned, “No servant can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). The young man’s actions sadly illustrated this principle. His story is also told in Matthew 19:16-22 and Luke 18:18-23. Paul too warned of the subtle lure of material riches in 1 Timothy 6:17-19.
While traveling on an airplane with her 4- and 2-year-old daughters, a young mom worked at keeping them busy so they wouldn’t disturb others. When the pilot’s voice came over the intercom for an announcement, Catherine, the younger girl, paused from her activities and put her head down. When the pilot finished, she whispered, “Amen.” Perhaps because there had been a recent natural disaster, she thought the pilot was praying.
Like that little girl, I want a heart that turns my thoughts toward prayer quickly. I think it would be fair to say that the psalmist David had that kind of heart. We get hints of that in Psalm 27 as he speaks of facing difficult foes (v.2). He said, “Your face, Lord, I will seek” (v.8). Some say that David was remembering the time he was fleeing from Saul (1 Sam. 21:10) or from his son Absalom (2 Sam. 15:13-14) when he wrote this psalm. Prayer and dependence on God were in the forefront of David’s thinking, and he found Him to be his sanctuary (Ps. 27:4-5).
We need a sanctuary as well. Perhaps reading or praying this psalm and others could help us to develop that closeness to our Father-God. As God becomes our sanctuary, we’ll more readily turn our hearts toward Him in prayer.
Teach me, Father, what it means to run to and have You as my sanctuary. Help me not to worry about the words I say, but just to express my heart to You and to nestle down close to You.
In prayer, God can still our hearts and quiet our minds.
Many of the psalms are prayers to God, and many are songs to encourage others concerning the goodness and love of God. Today's psalm contains both elements. While David cries out to God for guidance and protection in verses 7-13, he ends his psalm with a message to the reader (v.14). Taking the lessons and thoughts expressed in his prayer, David encourages the reader to trust the Lord and wait upon Him as he has done.
When Jenny’s husband left her for another woman, she vowed that she would never meet his new wife. But when she realized that her bitterness was damaging her children’s relationship with their father, she asked for God’s help to take the first steps toward overcoming bitterness in a situation she couldn’t change.
In Genesis 16, we read the story of a couple to whom God promised a baby. When Sarai suggested that her husband Abram have a child with their servant Hagar, she wasn’t fully trusting God for the child He had promised. When the baby was born, Hagar despised Sarai (Gen. 16:3-4), and Sarai became bitter (vv.5-6).
Hagar had been the slave with no rights and suddenly she was special. How did Sarai react? By blaming others, including Abram (v.5). God’s promise was realized in the birth of Isaac 14 years later. Even his weaning celebration was spoiled by Sarai’s attitude (21:8-10).
It may never have been easy for Sarai to have lived with the consequences of their decision to go ahead of God. It may have taken a miracle of grace to change her attitude but that could have transformed everything. Sarai couldn’t reverse the decision, but through God’s strength, she could have lived with it differently, and given God the glory.
Thank You, Lord, that though our situations may not change, Your grace is strong enough to change us in our situations. Help us as we struggle sometimes to live in this sinful world.
By God’s grace, we can reflect His light in the dark times.