by Faith Korbel
Readings: Psalm 121, Isaiah 51:4-8, Luke 7:1-10
When I first saw my assigned passage from Psalms, I couldn’t help but feel like I lucked out – writing this devotion was going to be a breeze!
How can you not be inspired by beautiful and comforting reminders such as,
He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forever.
It makes faith sound so easy: Simply believe in God and God will love and protect you.
Then I read the Luke passage, and remembered that it’s not always this easy.
Luke 7 tells the story of a centurion whose valued servant is near death. Jesus is on his way to the man’s home to heal the servant, when he receives a message,
Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.
The centurion is facing the death of somebody he cares a great deal about. At a time when it would be incredibly easy to give in to sorrow and to question God, his belief in Jesus, and what Jesus can do, is unwavering – “say the word and my servant will be healed”.
Faith comes easily when things are good, but when things get hard, that same faith can be really hard to find. From struggles that are intensely personal, to the struggles of entire nations of people that we read about or see on the news, we could all point to reasons to question God and to question what we believe.
Lord, guide us to faith like the centurion. Teach us to look to you in times of joy as well as times of sorrow. Help us to trust in you even (especially) when struggles and questions arise. Remind us that you are with us – always.