God cares about your struggles
October 2-6, 2023 | Always Peachy Devotionals | Be Encouraged! Week 1
Hello, October! Finally!
I feel like it’s taken forever for autumn to get here, but now that it’s here at last, I fully intend to bake all the things, wear all the sweaters, and eat pumpkin just about every day.
I know. I know. That’s excessive. But it’s fall, y’all!
The fourth quarter of this year got here fast, though, didn’t it? I don’t know how the summer can both drag and fly at the same time, but it does. This summer has been an extraordinarily busy one for me. Has it been the same for you?
As I was praying and asking God what the theme for October’s devotions should be, I kept coming back to something I’m seeing all over the place. Just about every person I know is going through a hard period of discouragement right now. It’s been going on for a while, but as the equinox passes and the days get shorter and the nights get longer on the trek toward winter, I know for some of you, it gets harder.
So I thought that maybe we ought to spend October looking for encouragement in Scripture. Because if you can’t find encouragement in God’s Word, you’re not going to find it anywhere else.
It’s important to remember, though, that encouragement isn’t always being told what you want to hear. Encouragement is giving others courage. It’s bolstering what courage they have. It’s empowering them to take that step they’re afraid to take, to trust God when they’ve been reluctant, to stop hiding when that’s all they feel like doing.
Encouragement may not be what you want to hear, but it’s always what you need to hear.
The difficulty is that the Scripture is so full of encouragement, it’s hard to know where to start. So I thought I’d start where it made sense for me. Many times the Lord has shown me that what I’m struggling to learn and remember is exactly what others need to hear too.
And one of the truths about God that I struggle to believe is, quite simply, that He cares about my cares. He cares about what I’m going through, what I’m struggling with, and what I’m afraid of. So that’s what we’re going to talk about for this first week of October:
Oct 2 - He cares about your cares (1 Peter 5:6-7)
Oct 3 - He thinks about you (Psalm 40:17)
Oct 4 - He is our comforter (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)
Oct 5 - He will care for you (Isaiah 46:4)
Oct 6 - He brings us near (Ephesians 2:13)
I’m including the verses we’ll be studying over the week as well, since I realized that you free subscribers don’t get the verses. (Although if you do subscribe, you’ll get the daily devotions Monday through Friday, rather than just this intro on Sunday and a random one on Saturday.)
It’s so important for us to know that God cares about us. If we don’t believe that, we can fall for the lies that He’s distant and critical and judgmental and harsh. God is all about relationships, and He always has been.
One of my favorite Old Testament verses that talks about God’s love for people is what we’re memorizing this week, Genesis 16:13.
Hagar is a special character in God’s Word, the mother of Ishmael, half-brother to Isaac, the Son of Promise and ancestor of the Israelite people. At a time in her life when Hagar felt most alone and abandoned, God came to her and spoke to her.
So Hagar named Him El Roi, the God Who Sees Me. No other gods can claim that. No other gods or idols truly see us for who we are and meet us where we are. Only our God, Jehovah, El Roi.
And just like God saw Hagar, God sees you today too. He sees what you’re going through. He knows about your struggles. And He cares about them. So let’s spend this week focusing on how God meets us in our struggles and carries us through them. Because if you’re like me, you’ve got more on your plate than you can handle on your own.
Praying for all of you, my friends, that you will experience God’s peace and love and know that He sees you.
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