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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Dear Friend in Christ,

I am wondering what sort of season this is for you. If it is one of prolonged hardship, I understand it can be especially challenging to hope in God’s goodness.

For this reason, I want to share with you about a very unique sort of healing offered to those who are struggling to persevere in times of trial.

Concerned for his weary congregation, the author of Hebrews writes:

“Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed” (Hebrews 12:12-13).

Here we see an empathetic pastor troubled for his people. Times are hard. Suffering remains. People are questioning the way of the cross and wondering if they should turn back to their life before Christ. Hebrews 11 and 12 summon the discouraged believer to remember those commended for their faith in God (despite troubling circumstances) and to follow the example of Jesus Christ in suffering.

So where is this unique sort of healing found? The kind of healing that strengthens weak knees and grants perseverance for the race of life? It is found by imitating the faith of Jesus who suffered through the most difficult circumstances. If Jesus himself “learned obedience by what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8), how much more should we “endure trials for the sake of discipline” (Hebrews 12:7).  This is a unique sort of healing that does not involve God eliminating the hardship. Rather, it has everything to do with Him empowering us to have an obedient faith (like Jesus had) in the midst of struggle. In this way, we have an opportunity to identify with Jesus in suffering that is only available to us in this life.

The healing result of this obedient, enduring faith is “the peaceful fruit of righteousness” (Hebrews 12:11). Not only are we transformed to “share in the holiness” of Jesus, but we are given the gift of peace from God (Hebrews 12:10).

My prayer is that the Lord would grant us willing hearts to endure trials like Jesus did. May He be the object of our hope and the fuel to persevere.

Lauren Ballard
Ministry Fellow at Yale
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