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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

I’ve never been one to often tell people, “You deserve this!” It’s not because I think people should never be rewarded or take a break. It’s because I know the corners we cut, the dark thoughts and attitudes we harbor, and the not-so-proud moments that come even with hard work or achievement.

However, we often act like we do deserve certain things. Security, comfort, hope, and happiness are just a few of the things my heart often longs for. When I don’t get them, the inner turmoil I experience can look very similar to my 3-year old’s response to not getting another cupcake (as if that would have satisfied her deepest needs).

This is where bitterness creeps in, sets up camp, and causes contamination.

Don’t they know what I’m doing for them?

 If this does not happen, I am going to be very angry.

If they would have done it the way I told them . . .

I can’t believe they forgot about me.

They should respect my decisions.

I can’t take this anymore.

Lately I have been asking myself, “Is it always going to be this hard?” In many of those questioning moments, I’m like a rodent trying to catch something on a string that I’ll never reach, or, if I did, it’s a trap of death waiting to clamp down on me for the kill. In many of those moments I haven’t run to the Lord for strength and hope.

While we may often feel we deserve something, or at least we look like we’ve it all together, the real truth is: no one does. You may have heard the phrase, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” This is simply not true; of course He does! Our sin itself is more than we can handle. That’s why He died on the cross in the first place.

So, what do I do when I can’t get past the idea that I deserve something in particular? Or, when I am angry at how people are treating me? What do I do when darkness surrounds me, and, while it may not be entirely my fault, it’s exacerbated by the depth of my own sin?

I repent and ask for help.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” - Isaiah 41:10

Here, God gives two commands: fear not and do not be anxious. Why? Because God is with me. God will strengthen me. God will help me. God will uphold me with a perfectly righteous hand. He doesn’t leave us hanging with a simple “stop that already.” He gives us solid, Gospel-driven reasons to obey.

When I’m angry about not getting what I want, I’m not perceiving what I have already received. I once heard Albert Mohler say, “Anything other than actual hell is God’s grace in your life.” As a Christian, I have a received a hope that is more than wishful thinking. My hope is in something certain: in an eternity with the Beloved who knows me, loves me, and died for me, spent in heaven, a place where there are no more tears, no more sorrows, and no more striving.

Because of Jesus I can proclaim, “It won’t always be this hard.”

Our friends won’t always be dying of brain cancer. We won’t always be putting our children in graves. We won’t always struggle financially for yet another month in a row. Our hearts won’t be forever broken by the darkness of sexual perversion or abuse. We won’t always be exhausted or looking to a better day. Because one day that better day will be here forever.

“When every earthly prop gives way,

He then is all my Hope and Stay.

On Christ, the solid rock, I stand;

All other ground is sinking sand.

When He shall come with trumpet sound,

Oh, may I then in Him be found,

Clothed in His righteousness alone,

Faultless to stand before the throne!”

When earthly props give way, when I’m stuck in what feels like a stormy battle with my flesh, when true heartbreak enters my life and there’s no getting away from it, I have no choice but to rest on His unchanging grace.

I may sometimes float along with every whim of my wretched flesh, but He is unchanging. In the midst of my bitterness, my sin, and my heartache, He is still available. It’s never too late. It’s never too dirty. While it may be too much for me to handle, praise God, it’s never too much for Him to handle. 

Rebekah Hannah
Ministry Fellow at Yale
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