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  • Writer's pictureMatt Beaney

#971. When God doesn’t act (18/1/24)

Welcome to this Come to Jesus Daily Devotional, where, after a short break, we now continue in the gospel of Luke. This week, we are using Jesus’ account of the raising of the widow’s son as inspiration for our reflections. 

‘Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.  As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out—the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her.  When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.’ (Luke 7:11-17) 

Today, We reflect on the privilege we have of being able to pray about all of our deepest problems and sufferings. However, He also gives us the ability to endure in faith when He fails to answer our prayers as we would wish. 


You can listen to this devotional at:


This woman in our text receives a great miracle without even praying. We see that Jesus does much of His work without our ever praying for it! He knows what we need before we ask! However, like the Centurion earlier in this chapter, we have the privilege of coming to Jesus in prayer in order to ask Him to heal and do many things for us. This is a wonderful privilege as children and priests of God. 


However, how do we handle it if we have wanted Jesus to heal someone, give us a similar miracle to this or provide in some way and yet He has not done so? What do we do if Jesus has failed to ‘touched the bier’ that our loss is being carried upon? 


Firstly, we are not promised that God will do all of our will and will heal all of our pains. We are encouraged to pray about everything, including sickness, but we are not promised that God is like a genie who is beholden to answer all that we ask for. 


Secondly, let’s see what this text does teach us about Christ - that He is compassionate and loving toward us. His failure to act as we would wish doesn’t change His love toward us. The heart that drove this act for this poor woman still exists for us even if He doesn’t do the act! Here, is an example of a trusting response to disappointment from the life of David when his child died:

‘David pleaded with God for the child. He fasted and spent the nights lying in sackcloth on the ground.  The elders of his household stood beside him to get him up from the ground, but he refused, and he would not eat any food with them.  On the seventh day the child died. David’s attendants were afraid to tell him that the child was dead, for they thought, “While the child was still living, he wouldn’t listen to us when we spoke to him. How can we now tell him the child is dead? He may do something desperate.”  David noticed that his attendants were whispering among themselves, and he realised the child was dead. “Is the child dead?” he asked. “Yes,” they replied, “he is dead.”  Then David got up from the ground. After he had washed, put on lotions and changed his clothes, he went into the house of the Lord and worshipped.’ (2 Samuel 12:16-20) 

Thirdly, when God doesn't seem to act, we must persevere in trusting in the love and goodness of God. The world, the flesh and the devil will tempt us to slander God. We must all pass through experiences where we have to learn to worship in our pain. However, we don’t have to do this in our own strength; one of the fruits of the Spirit is ‘patience’ (See Galatians 5:22-25). Patience means many things including ‘long suffering’ and ‘control in internal and external difficult circumstances’. If we are disappointed with God, ask for the Holy Spirit to give you the fruit of patience and perseverance so as to endure in worship, faith and hope. 


Response

We have the privilege of praying about all of our deepest problems and suffering but God also gives us the ability to endure in faith when He fails to answer our prayers as we would wish. Faith means that we trust God in all circumstances. We trust in the light and in the dark. Do you have any circumstances that you need to persevere in praying for whilst remaining patient and trusting? Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and enable you to persevere in worship and faith. 

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY


1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Please ensure that the members of your group are aware and familiar with using the daily devotionals.


2. Icebreaker

How has God been speaking to you from His Word this week and how has this helped you?


3. Worship together

Let’s begin our time together by lifting our eyes and hearts to worship our great God. Perhaps you have readings and songs that you would like to use together. Let’s be open to the gifts that the Spirit wants to give in order to encourage one another.


4. Study and pray together

After a short break, we now continue in the gospel of Luke. This week in our devotionals and in this CG study, we will be learning from Jesus’ account of the raising of the widow’s son.


Please read Luke 7:11-17

  1. If you were to summarise this account, how would you say it in one sentence?

  2. Why do you think that Luke puts this and the previous miracle together in this way?

  3. What stood out to you or how did God speak to you from Sunday's message?

  4. What characteristics does this event reveal about Jesus?

  5. What are the various applications and how, specifically, do you feel to respond to the message of this moment?

  6. What was the end result of this encounter with Jesus?

  7. SIV - How could you show the power and compassion of Christ to those outside of faith?

  8. SIV - Do we have any stories of how we have ‘Served, Invested, and inVited’ this week?

  9. SIV - Lets now pray together that, this week, we will have opportunities to SIV.

  10. Jesus remains, as in this text, compassionate and powerful. Therefore, does anyone want prayer for anything else arising from this study?

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