Shelter in Place with Joni: A 7-Day Devotional Reading Plan

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

Divine Distastes

God has a strong distaste for suffering. His tenderness is aroused by human anguish. But what about all of those natural disasters? If he’s so touched by suffering, why does he allow tsunamis and hurricanes? or cancer?

I can’t begin to explain the unexplainable. But I know this: If Adam had never fallen, if the Creator could rewrite the story, he would have never allowed suffering out of the cage. “For he does not enjoy hurting people or causing them sorrow” (Lam 3:33). But sin did leave the cage, and consequently the curse fell on all of us. And ever since humanity’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden, our world has groaned under wars, floods, disabilities, diseases, and much more. Like you, I shake my head at the mysterious plans and purposes of God. Tragedies like these can either drive people away from God or draw them to him. Calamities either harden people’s hearts or soften them as they run to the Lord for help and hope.

Tragedies—great and small—also make us need others, whether we admit it or not. I am forever grateful not only for the friends who came alongside me when I was stuck in the hospital, but also for the friends who continue to help me day in and day out. Have you considered how you might become God’s hands and feet, his tender touch, and his encouraging voice to those who suffer in your city—in your world? Ask him to express his compassion toward hurting people through you.

Above all else, remember that, despite the circumstances, you can trust the Father’s heart. Just as he heard the cries of the Israelites when they turned to him in repentance, he showed his love and compassion for us on the cross: “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners” (Rom 5:8).

Prayer

God, I do not understand why suffering continues, but I pray that you use me as an instrument of your love to hurting people today. Hold me close!