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I’ve become a big fan of the Discovery channel and am currently watching “Man vs. Wild
” as I write this devotion. For those unfamiliar with the show, it features a man, Bear Gryllis, who tests his survival skills in the most severe environments in the world. On tonight’s episode, he is trekking though the mountains in Turkey while in a recent one he was in the African savanna amongst elephants, snakes and lions. I was thinking about the predicaments in which he places himself. Just to survive he is forced to eat some of the most horrid things. Other times he has had to collect rain water, or worse than imaginable, squeezed moisture from elephant dung in order to drink. Have you ever felt so pressured, so constricted from trials that it was almost as if you were like Bear Gryllis stranded in some remote corner of the earth with no help from anyone? God says this to us,
“For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us[you], so [y]our consolation also abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:5)
Because we suffer for the sake of Christ, God also gives us comfort through Christ. Though there may be times where we are like Bear Gryllis secluded in a foreign place struggling to find water to survive, God provides shelter, water, food, warmth, protection, all in the loving arms of Christ. But doesn’t it seem as though it is easier to pursue Christ when we are stranded or afflicted than when we have our needs met? We ought to run to the same available shelter even when we sense no need for protection. I’m reminded of the foolish Laodiceans who thought they were rich, clothed and in need of nothing but were in reality wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. Even when we think we have all that we need elsewhere than in God himself, God counsels us to buy from him gold that is refined in the fire that we might really be rich and clothed in white garments (Revelation 3:17-18).
Connecting the morning reading with the evening, Spurgeon reminds us of John 14:16 when Jesus prayed to the Father that God would send the Holy Spirit to comfort and lead us to God. Knowing that I will not go to God in prosperous times, the Holy Spirit himself will lead me there and provide comfort (knowing I need it) when I never sought it in the first place. What a God we serve who completely takes care of us when in and out of the wilderness.