Daily Devotion | September 1, 2021


devotion by Pastor Steph Tollefson

"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."

- Isaiah 41:10

Last week the news coming out of Afghanistan took my breath away. When the names of thirteen fallen marines were read aloud, I started to cry. There had been a build-up of emotions prior to the airport bombing; confusion, frustration, sadness. Twenty years of war and this is how it ends, in desperation and despair? It literally made me sick to my stomach thinking about the moms and dads, husbands and wives whose soldier would never come home. I couldn’t get the image of Afghanistan women passing their babies into a crowd of strangers hoping that their child would make it out alive. It was mind-numbing and gut-wrenching. Flipping the channel didn’t help. More bad news. Fires still raging in the west as the drought continues. Hurricane Ida flooding homes with the memory of Hurricane Katrina, leaving a path of destruction in its wake. Hospital ICU beds filling up as COVID rages on.  What is happening? My tears kept falling and my prayers kept rising. I wanted to do something of substance to curb the suffering of these tragedies, and yet what could I do?


Prayer isn’t nothing. It is something. Prayer is not inaction, but rather a call to action. As people of faith we are activated by the prayers of God’s own Spirit, to shine light in the darkness. The Apostle Paul writes in the eighth chapter of the book of Romans, “for when we do not know what to pray, when our sighs are too deep for words, the Spirit of God helps us in our weakness.” Where we are weak, God is strong. May we not forget that truth. God is our strength alone. God promises to uphold us and to hear us. God promises that the prayers of God’s people are powerful and effective. Oh, we may not feel like our prayers are enough, but when persistent and deliberate they become more than an overwhelming list of emotions. The prayers we pray become a life-line. They matter because they connect us to the source of strength, who alone has the will to breathe new life into what has been lost.

May our prayers rise up and give bold witness to the strength of God, even as our tears fall. May we, in prayer, become beacons of bright light in the world, shining the good news of Jesus Christ for all to see. May we, the people of God, not become dismayed or discouraged but trust through prayer, the Lord our God, to strengthen, help and uphold us in the living of these days.

-- Pastor Steph



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