Traffic was bad and everyone was cranky on that hot afternoon. I noticed a car with two young men waiting to enter traffic from a fast-food restaurant driveway. I thought it was nice when the driver ahead of me let them in.
But when the “nice” driver ahead of me didn’t get a nod or even a thank you wave, he turned ugly. First he rolled down his window and shouted at the driver he had let in. Then he gunned his engine and raced forward as if to ram into his car, honking and yelling as he continued to vent his anger.
Who was “more wrong”? Did the young driver’s ingratitude justify the “nice” driver’s angry response? Was he owed a thank you?
Certainly the 10 lepers Jesus healed owed gratitude to Him. How could only one return to say thank you? I’m struck by Jesus’ response: “Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner?” (Luke 17:18). If the King of Kings can get only a 1 in 10 response of thanks, how can we expect more from others? Better to do our deeds to honor God and serve others than to do them to collect gratitude. May the grace of God be seen in us even when our kind acts go unappreciated.
Lord, we like to be recognized for the things we do. Help us to remember that we are not owed any recognition or thanks but that we owe You a lifetime of gratitude for the salvation You offer through Jesus.
Let your light so shine before men, that they may . . . glorify your Father in heaven. —Matthew 5:16
As the 10 men in today’s reading went away to follow Jesus’ instructions, “they were cleansed” (v.14); that is, healed of their leprosy. Yet verse 19 says that only one man, the Samaritan, glorified God for his healing and came back to say thank you. Only he received Jesus’ word that his faith had made him well. The Greek word for “made well” is used in reference to salvation. Jesus’ miraculous power made the man well physically (v.14). But the Samaritan’s faith, demonstrated in praise and gratitude, led to his spiritual healing (v.19). All 10 were “cleansed,” but only one was “made well.”
Waiting is hard at any time; but when days, weeks, or even months pass and our prayers seem to go unanswered, it’s easy to feel God has forgotten us. Perhaps we can struggle through the day with its distractions, but at night it’s doubly difficult to deal with our anxious thoughts. Worries loom large, and the dark hours seem endless. Utter weariness makes it look impossible to face the new day.
The psalmist grew weary as he waited (Ps. 13:1). He felt abandoned—as if his enemies were gaining the upper hand (v.2). When we’re waiting for God to resolve a difficult situation or to answer often-repeated prayers, it’s easy to get discouraged.
Satan whispers that God has forgotten us, and that things will never change. We may be tempted to give in to despair. Why bother to read the Bible or to pray? Why make the effort to worship with fellow believers in Christ? But we need our spiritual lifelines most when we’re waiting. They help to hold us steady in the flow of God’s love and to become sensitive to His Spirit.
The psalmist had a remedy. He focused on all that he knew of God’s love, reminding himself of past blessings and deliberately praising God, who would not forget him. So can we.
Lover of my soul, who draws close in the darkest and longest night, please keep me trusting You, talking to You, and leaning on Your promises.
God is worth waiting for; His time is always best.
All believers go through times of frustration due to unanswered prayer. Yet the Scriptures provide hope for this apparent dilemma. Psalm 13 illustrates the release that grows out of praying through a problem. David asks God four times “how long” he must wait to get an answer to prayer (vv.1-2). Eventually he understands that his perspective has not been a divine one. He then asks God to “give light to my eyes” so that he can have the strength to endure opposition (vv.3-4). David redirects his heart to trust in God’s unfailing mercy. The Hebrew word for “mercy” here is hesed, which connotes enduring, unfailing, and gracious care. With a new perspective, David now sings of God’s goodness with petitions of praise (vv.5-6).
When Deng Jinjie saw people struggling in the water of the Sunshui River in the Hunan province of China, he didn’t just walk by. In an act of heroism, he jumped into the water and helped save four members of a family. Unfortunately, the family left the area while he was still in the water. Sadly, Jinjie, exhausted from his rescue efforts, was overwhelmed and swept away by the river current and drowned.
When we were drowning in our sin, Jesus Christ gave His life to come to our aid. We were the ones He came to rescue. He came down from heaven above and pulled us to safety. He did this by taking the punishment for all of our wrongdoing as He died on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) and 3 days later was resurrected. The Bible says, “By this we know love, because [Jesus] laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16). Jesus’ sacrificial love for us now inspires us to show genuine love “in deed and in truth” (v.18) to others with whom we have relationships.
If we overlook Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, we’ll fail to see and experience His love. Today, consider the connection between His sacrifice and His love for you. He has come for your rescue.
Rescued: By Jesus’ love; Rescued: For life above; Rescued: To serve my King; Rescued: My praise to bring. —Verway
Jesus laid down His life to show His love for us.
John, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 20:2; 21:7) and to whom Jesus entrusted the care of His mother, Mary (19:26-27), was well qualified to write about love. In 1 John 2, he described the quality and authenticity of the love expected of the children of God. Here in 1 John 3, he pointed to the death of Christ and directed us to Him as our standard of Christian love (v.16). True Christian love is sacrificial action and selfless generosity displayed both in speech and in actions (vv.16-18).