1 & 2 Thessalonians: Day 12

May the Lord Direct Your Hearts

by

Today's Text: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18,  2 Corinthians 11:7-9, 1 Peter 5:8-11

Scripture Reading: 2 Thessalonians 3:1-18,  2 Corinthians 11:7-9, 1 Peter 5:8-11

I try not to follow ambulances, rubber neck at traffic accidents, or stare when someone drops a whole bag of marbles on the ground. But when something goes terribly wrong, somehow we all want to turn our heads to watch. I think it comes from twin desires to help, but also to gawk.

A few years ago, my then eight-year-old daughter and I walked into the food court of our local mall. There we found ourselves pushed to the front of a crowd that must have been nearing 100 people. They were encircling a lifeless boy on the floor, who looked to be no more than two years old. Together, we stood helpless, looking on while EMTs performed CPR on his little body.

I don’t know a lot about medicine, but I do know you only implement CPR if there is no pulse or breathing. It’s our way of manually keeping a body going. Since that was already being done, there was really nothing left for the other 100 of us to do.

And so we all stood still and watched. His mother didn’t cry; she paced, she moaned, she shouted. We felt powerless to help the child or his mother. It was shocking to see so many people standing there, hands at their sides, while the battle between life and death was fought right in front of us.

It’s awful to face our own powerlessness. I like to really lean my shoulder into a job and then promptly see a result for my effort. But when it comes down to it, when things are really important, I’m like that crowd of people, rendered helpless, left watching and waiting.

In 2 Thessalonians 3:5, Paul prays, “may the Lord direct your hearts to God’s love and Christ’s endurance.” The whole Christian walk is one of dependance. The air we breathe, the gravity that holds us to the earth, and the ability to wonder at it—it all comes from God’s common grace. We have no endurance apart from the endurance of Christ.

Moments of calamity and tragedy unveil our deep neediness and utter helplessness. They direct us to our only strength and recourse, which is Christ. And it is only by His strength that we will not grow weary in in our faith and in doing good in the name of the gospel (2 Thessalonians 3:13).

When we saw the baby and his mother in crisis, I took my little girl by the hand and led her around the corner where we found a quiet spot to pray. But even our prayers are a recognition of our enormous need. Prayer is not about what we do, but about running to the God who can do all things. It is an avenue for God to impart His love and endurance to us.

What a tremendous grace this is, to know the God who loves perfectly and to be in relationship with the God who endures endlessly. In the face of our overwhelming sorrows, He directs our hearts back to Him. His is the real strength in our ever-present weakness.

The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, strengthen, and support you after you have suffered a little while. To him be dominion forever. Amen.
—1 Peter 5:10-11

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  • Lynn Johnson

    1 Peter 5:8 is one of my hold on to verses…grateful for His strength in all things! ❤️

  • Daria Turner

    1 peter 5:8-11 ❤️

  • Lindsey Bailey

    When going for a big goal, people often say to come up with your ‘why’. Then when times get difficult, you can keep going when you remember why you chose to do it in the first place. Modern day psychology is great, but it’s amazing how God had already created a way. As Christian’s, God’s love is our ‘why’ and His endurance helps us to continue plodding on. I pray for a fresh revelation of God’s love and I pray Christ’s endurance helps me to work steadily instead of standing idly.

  • Morgan Mattson

    I’m so curious what happened to the baby boy!

  • Tricia Cavanaugh

    This sort of reminds me of the if: local gathering I just came back from. We studied the books of Timothy. Paul was talking to him there and was basically encouraging him in the same way.

    • Lindsey Abercrombie

      Hello Tricia! Just out of curiousity, are you in Oregon? My Oregonian church, Willamette, just had an If gathering :) God Bless you for attending, have a wonderful evening!❤️

  • Kristen Burnett

    The highlighted verse for this day was just the reminder I needed after a hard week of feeling excluded from a group of friends. Thank you She Reads Truth! Your studies bring me closer to God each day! ❤️

    • She Reads Truth

      Hi Kristen thanks for sharing and we’re so grateful that you’re a part of our SRT community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • September Shaw

    This is striking a powerful chord in me. Several times in my life, as dark seasons have all but devoured me, there has come a turning point where the Lord seems to appear absolutely everywhere in my life. It isn’t that suddenly all things are righted and I have a testimony of miraculous blessings, but instead it’s just God’s presence standing with me. He encourages me to keep working/going/getting up because, despite my earthly helplessness, I am empowered to continue. In those seasonal shifts, I find myself powerfully connecting all the pieces of my life back to scripture and prayer, surrendering myself, my pain, and my uncertainty to God. I realize this is the goal every day, and I try to remind myself to document these shifts so that I might even reread my own story of how the Lord stayed steadfast, brought light to dark, and even of how I was able to trust him. Today’s scripture passage sums it up so perfectly. This was exactly what I needed. Humbled and grateful this morning.

    • She Reads Truth

      Thank you for sharing September. This is such a great reminder and we’re so grateful to have you a part of our SRT community! -Margot, The SRT Team

  • Sarah-Jane Beaudry

    This reminds me of when my son was critically ill at 2 months old. When he became stable I posted on social media about the experience to update people and to also spread awareness of illness in young infants. It struck me as funny how so many of my non-believing friends sent “positive thoughts” to me and my husband. What is a positive thought? And what good does it do in comparison to asking the God of all creation to heal your child?? And yet, people want to do something, so they believe that they can send positivity into the world and hope for the best. How incredible it is that, as followers of Christ, we don’t have to “hope for the best” but hope in The Lord and his promises.

  • Lori Hamilton

    Amen!!!

  • Kathryn E Powell

    Could you please tell me if this 2 year old boy lived or died?

  • Teresa Ballantyne

    2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 struck me as harsh. “…don’t associate with him, so that he may be ashamed.” What are your thoughts on this?

    • LizC

      My study bible says “Paul was not advising coldness or cruelty, but tough love to help a person become responsible.” That “Hunger and loneliness can be very effective ways to make the idle person become productive.”

    • Kimone

      Another version says so that they will be ashamed and repent. Then pay attention to 15, it says don’t treat them as enemies but warn them as brothers. It’s pretty much saying when they see you withdrawn it will cause them to question why and in so doing realise it is their contradictory actions and will hopefully repent and change.

      Hope that made sense.

  • Angela Greenough

    I loved the last point.
    Whenever tragedy hits they say, “Pray for _____.” I feel only as of late that this has been criticized and challenged by people saying “What good would prayer do? Do something else!”
    The point of, we pray to the God who can do all things when we don’t feel/see how we can help is still a way of helping!
    Reading in by study Bible about this, Paul is chastising those who have completely refrained from helping because they are “waiting for Lord’s return” and do see a need to help. We need to refrain from that mentality as well.
    We are called to show the world the light of Christ. Whether it’s by prayer or by doing a physical act, we can always help.

  • Kelly Chataine

    So thankful to God for all the scriptures, especially the I Peter verses. I need this reminder of suffering a little while then God Himself will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish me and my husband. Also, not to grow weary in well-doing is a timely reminder. I was very weary earlier this week. Praise God!

  • Cynthia Johnston

    Me, too!

  • I just wanted to take a moment to thank SRT and all y’all that comment here. These studies are amazing and help me keep going, teaching me how to keep turning to the Lord. And, when the verses go over my head, reading the comments brings illumination. I’m so grateful. Thank you. I thank God for you.

    • Kelly Chataine

      Yes! I echo your thanks to all!

    • Debbie Lanier

      Yes, thank you SRT community! I agree, especially all the comments which contribute
      different insights and perspectives, many of which help to deepen my understanding of the Scriptures. Thank you!!

    • She Reads Truth

      Thanks for the sweet encouragement Pam! We’re grateful to have you a part of our SRT community and reading along with us!-Margot, The SRT Team

  • GramsieSue

    This message was perfectly timed as only God can do. We are preparing for a celebration of life for my father-in-love who lost his battle with cancer. “In the face of our overwhelming sorrows, He directs our hearts back to Him. He is the real strength in our ever present weakness.”
    “Moments of calamity and tragedy unveil our deep neediness and utter helplessness. They direct us to our only strength and recourse, which is Christ.”
    So thankful that Christ is my Lord and He will carry us through these difficult months of learning to live life here on earth without the wonderful man who raised my husband.

    • Debbie Lanier

      What a beautiful tribute and expression of love to your father-in-law! He must have been a tender-hearted man.

  • Betsey Walton

    I feel the same way! I’m glad to hear from you too, Churchmouse.

  • Jo Gistand

    This takes me back to the study on Matthew, which emphasized giving Jesus the authority in our lives. When we do that, we are in line with what he calls us to do, by His grace. I pray that I live in His authority, and that the Holy Spirit strengthens and comforts me during the most difficult of struggles.

  • God you are in control. I used to have a sense of apathy about this, knowing that you are in control and so I blindly know that you will lead me. Now I feel like this was Satan leading me astray, seeking to devour me. I pray that I will have an active faith, being rooted firm in my faith rather than allowing things to happen to me. That I will be rooted in prayer, focused on the Holy Spirit to lead me in this life. It is a life of communion with God

  • There was a time, before my husband was blessed with the Spirit of Jesus, that we were separated for what felt like the millionth time and there were days I just wanted to sit in a corner and cry, I wanted to sulk, to hide under a blanket from the world, from our kids. Most days I knew God would bring him home but other days I was incapable of thinking I had the stamina to walk it out. The days my focus was more on my marriage, my feelings, my future, my questions, my pain … those were the days that were the worst, the ones without merit … the days I actively turned to God, prayed nearly each waking moment and was grateful for my lot, whatever it was, were the days that were good.

    God wants us to recognize where we are, our circumstances. It is okay to grieve the place we are in, but He doesn’t want us to be idle, to linger. Lingering can cause snares and lions creep up when we are in snares. He tells us to focus on Him, not because He is arrogant, but because He is loving. He knows that looking at a gaping wound literally makes it harder to take, it feels worse and makes bodies wretch at the sight, but when we lift our eyes from the wound to something else, the pain is lessened. He wants to be the something else, He wants to lift us from our burdens and see that truly LIVING daily, regardless of what we face, is the real answer to a quality life. This life isn’t about us, it is entirely about God, for God, when we recognize that, when we recognize our innate need for Him things change … even if not removing us from our calamity but at least allowing us to view it differently. Prayerful that today, I turn to God, in the good and in the bad … that whatever comes, He be what I seek first!

    • Mamajonk

      Beautifully said B. Thank you for sharing yourself.

    • Amy

      Love this!

    • Mari

      B, I am encouraged by your comment today. I’ve been separated for what seems like for a very long time. And right now my main concern is how it’s affecting my son who is a teenager. I also know that God has it under control. I’ve been counseled to pray for my husband even though sometimes I really don’t want to. Being honest here. I don’t know what I do without all you godly women here SRT I look forward to meeting with all of you in the morning. And anticipating the day that we will all meet someday.

      • Lou

        Mari – One thing I try to do every day is pray for the person with whom I have the most trouble. I consider it praying for my enemies, even though that may be a negative way to describe it. I know it’s hard to pray for someone when you really don’t want to, but if you make it a regular practice, it really helps, and it does get easier. Praying for you and your family.

      • ~ B ~

        Mari, I will be prayerful over you and your son and your husband. Separations are so incredibly difficult on all involved. I understand what you’re saying about praying for your husband. There were times I didn’t want to, times I was so angry and hurt that it felt like an impossible task, to let go of resentment and be truly prayer centered for him …. so I started small and would eventually keep adding to the prayers. In time, it became so natural to pray for him but I will say the biggest change came when I would pray that God would change *my*own heart, when I prayed to see what I could do differently, when I was vulnerable with God about myself. Just know that you’re aren’t alone. I will be lifting your family up.

    • Rhonda Johnson

      Amen! Hard to do when your in the valley, but it really does help you turn your focus!

    • Brandi

      ❤️ This! Yes!

    • Lou

      So. So. Good.

    • Heather N (MNmomma)

      Once again, you put into absolutely perfect words my thoughts exactly….thank you my friend!! This has been so apparent over the last nine months during this crazy journey. The bad days have always been the days that I took my eyes off of Him. I know this, but somehow, I still let my eyes slip away…..Lord God, I pray that my eyes, my heart, my everything stay turned to you….and you alone!

      • ~ B ~

        Hey you! Your season has not been an easy my friend BUT I have to say your walk through it has been inspirational. You don’t miss a beat in encouraging, loving on or lifting up others. The days that you’ve been down about your place, you’ve been honest and real … such a grace filled spirit, Heather. An amazing example of what it is to walk it out! Love to you!

  • I cannot begin to say how much I needed to hear this, this morning. I shared earlier that my husband is having major, stop-your-heart-and-work-on-it surgery on Feb. 16. We saw the surgeon on Jan. 30 and it has been a long, wearying wait. And we’ve got another week of waiting. I have learned so much over the last week. The devotion is spot on when she says “It’s awful to face our powerlessness.” I am powerless to fix this. I have to completely depend on Christ to get us through this. But God…all I can do is lean into Him. He will make this count for His kingdom. He is going before us and making a way for us. He is going to do glorious things thru this. I am trusting Him.
    Be blessed, sweet sisters.

    • ~ B ~

      Kathy, I will be prayerful over you the coming days. I pray that God cover you all in a great peace and that He allow you to enjoy the time in between, the waiting season. That He provide great moments of pure joy as you endure and that He allow you to know that the very God who allowed David to defeat Goliath, walks with you when facing your own giant. Much love to you as you face this season!

      • Debbie Lanier

        Kathy, you and your husband are in my prayers. “For I am the LORD your God, Who takes hold of Your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear; I will help you.” ”
        HE is walking beside you thru this, and we are, too.

    • CM

      You (and your husband) are number one on my prayer list, Kathy!

    • Mari

      I ran across the date February 16 somewhere, it was an announcement of some and I remembered you , Kathy to pray for you and your husband.

    • Tova

      Praying for you and your husband, Kathy.

    • GramsieSue

      Praying for you and Roger ❤️

  • Sandy Forsythe

    As we completely depend on Christ, let us not forget that He has expectations for us to be ‘busy’ not ‘busybodies’. – we are not to just stand around watching the world – but are to pull aside and pray and worship as our author this morning wrote about. What a good example for her young daughter to bring everything to Christ.
    That is a parents best work- to teach their children well.

  • Churchmouse

    May my first response to helplessness be prayer – crying out to the only One Who can best help. There is simultaneously power and peace when I fall to my knees in recognition of my need. I need His restoration. I need His strength. I need His support. I need HIM. Every day. Every hour. Every minute.

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