December 15, 2009

Dec. 15: Abandoned only for a season

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By Jennifer Speight, a junior English major from Cleveland, Ohio
SCRIPTURE: Micah 5:2-5a (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

DEVOTIONAL:
Have you ever felt completely alone? Abandoned, even? Small and insignificant? I have. This summer, while participating in the college’s Ministry Inquiry Program, I went through a period of abandonment that was unlike anything I’d ever experienced before. I felt as if God had turned his back on me. I struggled with sin, and then, gave up. I was abandoned. Or so I thought.

This past semester, God has worked in awesome ways to show me that I am loved and cared for. My struggles forced me to seek God in a way that I was unaccustomed to doing, and for the first time in a long time. I felt the promise of Micah 5:5: “And he will be their peace.” My peace, her peace, his peace, YOUR peace. Christ is our peace.

So often, the chaos of life finds us looking up at the foot of the mountain and telling God that the situation is impossible. We are tempted to give up. In fact, some of us do give up. Our struggles are great, and sometimes the light in our lives becomes so diminished that we believe that it cannot become a flame again.

It is for that reason, though, that I find this passage so comforting. God speaks to a small, seemingly insignificant clan of Judah and tells them that one of them will rule. He raises up the small clan who everyone ignores, shows them favor and promises to make them great. He promises that to us as individuals also. God says that although we will feel abandoned for a time, that He will return and shepherd us. Maybe sometimes, we have to go through the abandonment to appreciate being together.

During this Advent season, I exhort you all to look at the times of abandonment in your life, and realize the purpose behind each of those times. I believe that each trial and difficulty in life is used by God to break and mold us into the beautiful people he created us to be, and opportunities for Christ to truly be our peace. Abandonment is for a season, but Christ’s peace, is eternal. So here we are, safe in the arms of the God who loves us enough to return.

———-
SCRIPTURE: Micah 5:2-5a (NRSV)

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,
who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
one who is to rule in Israel,
whose origin is from of old,
from ancient days.
Therefore he shall give them up until the time
when she who is in labour has brought forth;
then the rest of his kindred shall return
to the people of Israel.
And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the Lord,
in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great
to the ends of the earth;
and he shall be the one of peace.

If the Assyrians come into our land
and tread upon our soil,
we will raise against them seven shepherds
and eight installed as rulers.

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Comments (15)

  1. This is beautifully written, and really spoke to me since I have had a similar experience over the last five months. Thank you so much for sharing a bit of your story, Jennifer, and for the reminder that God’s peace is eternal.

    Jennifer L. Gingerich December 15, 2009 |
  2. At my church I am attending a comtemplative practices class. this week we practiced lectio divina, and I decoded to use your devotional in this practice. Very Powerful. My reflections on this verse were, the humbleness, the ancient, humble yearning for home, and for peace. And CHrist’s desire to dwell in our hearts, in order for us to build his kingdom, here on earth. Thasnk, Goshen!

    Beth December 15, 2009 |
  3. thank you for your heart thoughts. so true of our Saviour’s faithfulness and yet easy to forget. Lord be with us this day.

    dorothy December 15, 2009 |
  4. Excellent thoughts Jennifer. We all feel abandoned at some time or other. I only pray that I can be an instrument to extend that hope of welcome to all others.

    Jep Hostetler December 15, 2009 |
  5. Thank you Jennifer We all have been felt what you went thru Peace is something we all seek and can only be found with GOD!!!!!!!!!!

    robert December 15, 2009 |
  6. Thank you for an insightful and timely reminder of Christ as our peace.

    Rebecca December 15, 2009 |
  7. What a blessing to read this. It was such an encouragement to me through this season.

    Beth December 15, 2009 |
  8. Thank you for speaking this. I am going though a patch of this at the current moment. It is nice to be reminded of God’s peace that He has for each of us. Thank you for letting God speak through you!

    Heather December 15, 2009 |
  9. I appreciated reading your devotional today. Remembering that Christ is our peace is vital as we go though the struggles in our lives. Looking back it may be easy to see the good that comes from these ‘breaking’ experiences – we become a bit more molded into the person God is crafting us to be. But going through the struggles are not as simple and seem to call on a foundation of faith in our creator and in the person God is calling us to be.

    Elisabeth Johnson December 15, 2009 |
  10. Thanks for your words of encouragement. That’s true, none of us is insignificant before His eyes. Praise the Lord our peace. May God’s presence be always with you. Oswaldo (your Spanish teacher in Perú)

    Oswaldo December 15, 2009 |
  11. This speaks to me. My husband went today for a catscan and a bone scan to see if his prostate cancer has spread. We pray it hasn’t. But whatever happens, I hope perhaps this experience will at last lead him to Christ.

    Pat Zavadil December 15, 2009 |
  12. This is the first time I’ve opened a Goshen email in years and it was meant to be that I opened yours tonight. Thank you for your willingness to share rather intimately your spiritual life. Shalom shalom.

    Philip Carter Abraham December 15, 2009 |
  13. You are spot on, sister! Painful memories, hurts, doubts are not necessarily all of a sudden removed from our lives because remembering is a human condition. But God can so fill a life with good things that the old memories of injustice and insult are diminished as we live in the new realization of being God’s loved child.

    Shirley Yoder December 15, 2009 |
  14. Beautifully written Jennifer, may Gods peace, comfort,
    safety and love be with you and with us all throughout
    our lives. Love Mom

    Karen Speight December 16, 2009 |
  15. What a wonderful message! I remember going through a time of hardship
    where I wasn’t quite sure of God’s plans and it felt lonely and
    difficult but like you said, it shaped me and caused me to praise God
    even more when I re-connected and experienced God’s blessings. The
    more I depended on God, the stronger I became. May God continue to
    give you and all of us peace. Amen.

    Ben December 16, 2009 |