January 18, 2018
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Mathematically speaking, I’ve written more than 4,000 Daily Devotions.
To the best of my memory, none of those thousands have spoken about a country-western singer. This devotion, referring to Carrie Underwood, is a first.
For those of you who are not country-western fans, a word of explanation is in order. Carrie Underwood was the winner of American Idol a number of years ago. After that, she started selling records. As of this writing she has sold 65-million platters. She also has received more awards than any other artist in Country Music Television history.
One other thing, she is pretty open about her faith in the Savior.
It is that last part which makes her the subject of this devotion. You see, last November, Underwood took a spill which ended up giving her a broken wrist. Undisclosed at that time was the fact she also had some facial injuries. The night of the fall the physician ended up putting somewhere between 40 and 50 stitches into her face.
Now, months later, she is still healing.
The healing has gone well, although she recently told her fans, “I’m not quite looking the same … When I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different.”
Now that’s quite a courageous statement for a beautiful, young woman to make. But it is not that statement which impressed me. I was surprised to hear her say: “I honestly don’t know how things are going to end up, but I do know this: I am grateful. I am grateful that it wasn’t much, much worse. And I am grateful for the people in my life that have been there every step of the way.”
Underwood’s response reminded me of the words of the Bible commentary writer Matthew Henry. After he was robbed, Henry said, “I am thankful that he never robbed me before. I am thankful that although he took my wallet, he did not take my life. Although he took all I had, it was not much. And I am glad that it was I who was robbed, not I who did the robbing.”
To continue to give thanks, especially under difficult or painful circumstances is not something which comes naturally to people. Goodness, giving thanks never comes easily to folk. When times are good folks take the Lord’s blessings for granted, and when difficulties arise, they assume that the Lord has forgotten them, or has it in for them.
As St. Paul points out in our passage above, the Lord has given us proof positive and complete: He loves us. In the Person of His Son, He has shown that His grace and mercy are not fragile or a temporary thing. With confidence in the Lord’s care and compassion, we can say, as did the psalmist, “Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good and His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, in good times and bad, may we always know that the love shown to us in the Savior’s sacrifice is alive and well. With such faith, may we give thanks always. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.