Responding to SufferingHow do you feel when your life is interrupted by suffering and adversity?
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Saturday September 14
God knows you
Collectors Weekly recently posted a fascinating series of pictures of the contents of suitcases left behind by deceased patients of the Willard Asylum for the Chronic Insane between 1910 and the 1960s. The images tell stories but leave many questions. One suitcase held a woman’s collection of whimsical hairbrushes, packed next to a small straw broom. Another suitcase held a clock, a tube of shoe cream, and a small hand-carved Scottish terrier. There were books, musical instruments, photographs, and journals. Each photo reminds you that a person left this luggage behind, a person who was someone’s mother, brother, or friend. The scattered remnants give us vague glimpses of the people who owned them.
God speaks an assuring word to the prophet Jeremiah, a word that also assures us. “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. “Before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1:5). Jeremiah was no surprise to God. No person is.
He doesn’t merely know about us, as though we were a random fact lodged in His brain. Rather, God intimately knows us (meaning a deep, personal knowing—what people once called a soul knowing). Even more, God formed us. We are His idea, His creation. God desired us.
Still, Jeremiah protested. It’s as though he believed this word was too good to be true. God had affirmed a call on the prophet’s life, but Jeremiah was afraid. He said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young” (v.6). Fear keeps us from hearing God’s words of love and from receiving His delight.
God persisted. “Don’t be afraid...for I will be with you” (v.8). He knows and loves us completely. —Winn Collier
I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb (v.5).
Read Jeremiah 17:7-10. Who can know your heart? What blessing comes to the one who trusts in God
What do you feel when encountering the fact of God’s deep knowledge of you? What space in your heart do you need to open up to God’s probing love?
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