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To Our Advantage

Daily Reading: John 16

Scripture Focus: It is to your advantage that I go away (John 16.7)

Devotional Thought: Robby, a teen from my church, once did some yard work for me. Though I wanted to stay to supervise and advise, I knew it would be best for him and for me if I made myself scarce, for he was a responsible young man. How delighted I was when I returned to discover that he not only had done the job, but he exceeded my expectations! It was to his advantage that I went away.

When Jesus told his disciples that he needed to make himself scarce, he knew that they needed to depend on his spiritual presence and not his physical presence. As long as he was there to see, to hear, and to touch, they would not depend on the Holy Spirit to work through them. The spiritual initiative would always be with Jesus. And, they would remain spiritual infants.

I once read of a man who came through a dark hospital stay and shared this testimony: "'So many good friends came to visit me during those awful days. But, God never showed up. The One I wanted most to come never did. I never felt his presence for even a moment as I lay there in the hospital bed.' And, then I heard his voice choke: 'To think he trusted me to believe he was there just because he said he was, with no other evidence - I'm so grateful.'" [Soul Talk, Larry Crabb]

Perhaps you are struggling right now, wishing that Jesus' presence with you was more discernible. Have you considered that it may be to your advantage that Jesus is silent right now? It's a hard lesson, but one which will help you grow in faith and spiritual strength.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you that you came to this earth, that you walked among people, touching them, talking with them. But, thank you even more that you have gone to heaven to send the Holy Spirit to me, to silently walk with me, touch me, and talk with me. I trust you in the silence, O Lord. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 37.16-24

16 Better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. 17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous.

18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever; 19 they are not put to shame in evil times; in the days of famine they have abundance.

20 But the wicked will perish; the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures; they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.

21 The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives; 22 for those blessed by the Lord[a] shall inherit the land, but those cursed by him shall be cut off.

23 The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand.

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