Reference Point Devotional

When the Hits Keep Coming

See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. (Isaiah 43:19 NIV)

I was driving to work the other day, thinking about all of the trials I’ve been through in the last 4 years. It’s been a very difficult season of life. Just as the thought, “How did I get here? How am I still standing?” went through my mind, Cory Asbury’s Song “Egypt” came on the radio. As I listened to this familiar song, God gently reminded me of who is in control. We know that we face troubles in this world. Jesus even promised we would face heartache, both due to spiritual attacks and to simply being human. But what do you do when the hits keep coming? When you’re uprooted from your home (perhaps twice!); when your loved one dies; when you don’t get that promotion, or you lose your job entirely? It is in these moments that I want to remind you how deeply and devotedly you are loved and cherished by an All-Knowing, All-Powerful God. I’ve often heard people ask, “If God loves us so much, why are all of these bad things happening?” There is no simple answer to this, but human lives are complex and interwoven with other complex human lives. Sometimes other people’s choices affect us even when we don’t know it! But God knows it, and He is worthy of our trust.

Even in the midst of trials, God sometimes delivers the miracle we’re asking for. The cancer is treated successfully; your child meets supportive friends and their social situation improves; you’re able to reconcile that relationship. The miracles happened, but all we see are the burdens. We feel like we’ve gotten ahead in one area just to get far, far behind in another. In the book of Exodus, the Israelites were prospering and comfortable. This drew hostile attention from the Egyptian throne and resulted in a series of brutal events and the Israelites fleeing the country. Through their desperate situation, they witnessed miracle after miracle, even walking on dry land between two sides of a parted sea, being guided by a pillar of fire and cloud, and being miraculously provided with food and water.

The march out of Egypt didn’t stop with the miracles, but the Israelites failed to remember them. They grumbled and pushed back to the point that it cost them the land God promised. They failed to place their faith in a God who had thoroughly proved Himself worthy of miraculous care. All too often, we pray for God’s power and blessing in a situation, and if He grants that request, we expect everything to be fixed immediately. But we’re still in the mess of the aftermath, and it’s easy to wonder if God fixed anything at all. Just like the Israelites, we grumble, and even panic, without being able to see the situational complexity that our All-Mighty God can see. God never promised us a quick fix – He promised to be with us during every stage of the desperation, until the very end and beyond – and if we pay attention, we’ll see His reminders that He’s with us. Let us place our faith and trust in the one who performs miracles, who sees what we do not, and leads us onto new paths. As Romans 8:28 reminds us, “We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

Jenni Burke

Jenni is a Science Librarian and Assistant Professor at Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. She has been an ACL member since 2023.