The Upper Room devotional reflection for Wednesday, February 1, 2023, was written by Audrey Tafadzwa Chidavaenzi of Midlands, Zimbabwe.
1 "Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth."
Hosea 6:1-3 NRSV
I graduated from high school in June 2019 with nearly perfect grades. I hoped to attend the law school at a prestigious university in Zimbabwe, but that didn’t happen. I applied to two universities and was declined by one and told by the other that I would only be accepted to university if I stopped applying to law school. I was devastated and asked, Why Me? Suddenly, all my wrongdoings and sins rushed into my mind. I told myself I was being punished.
I was mad at myself and at God. I asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be forgiving?” and “Couldn’t you punish me in any other way?” It took seven months before I was able to pray or open the Bible to seek answers. But when I did, God was there, telling me to trust and that everything would be okay. My story does not have a miraculous ending right now, but it has a beautiful reunion between me and God as I remember that God’s word has never failed, and God’s promises remain the same. I want to tell everyone who has separated or distanced themselves from God that when they return to God’s presence and promises, they will find understanding and peace.
Sometimes, when we find ourselves enduring challenges, its easy to think God has abandoned us. As we mature and deepen our relationship with God, our view of God grows beyond a narrow lens of one who blesses us when we’re good or punishes us when we are bad. When our view of God expands; we recognize that the goodness of God is not dependent upon us having a trouble-free life, our faith is strengthened. God has not promised us a life without hardships or trials, but God has promised to be with us through our highs and lows.
Faithful God, thank you for loving us when we distance ourselves from you. Remind us that no matter our circumstances, we can find peace in your presence. Amen.
- Audrey Tafadzwa Chidavaenzi