Psalm 12:1-8 (NRSV)

1 I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come? 2 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. 3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. 4 He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. 6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

Romans 5:3-5 (NRSV)

3 And not only that, but we  also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

DEVOTION – Katie Sweigart (Pennsylvania)

“You have a brain tumor.”  Hearing those words was a surreal experience.  My two seizures had led doctors to discover a benign tumor in my brain just before my sophomore year of college.

The four years since my diagnosis have been hard.  Doctor visits, medications, tests, insomnia, weight gain, and frustration have filled my days.  But God has given me the strength to face each new day.  Cards, e-mail, phone calls, visits, and prayers have helped me to understand how blessed I am.  I am not alone.  I thought I had the “Jesus thing” figured out.  I grew up in a Christian home, attended church, taught Sunday school, and joined a Christian fellowship in college.  But struggling with illness showed me the glory of God more than ever before.

Through suffering, we can learn to rely on God and to trust God’s plans for us in a new way.  We can shine God’s light on other people, talking to them about the strength we find in Christ.  No one wants to experience hardship, but we can trust God to be present with us always.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Through hardship we can learn to trust God more fully.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, when we face difficult times, reassure us of your love, remind us that you will never leave us, and help us to trust in your will.  Amen.