Stop. Breathe in and out. Narrow your focus.

For a few moments, take in only what is in front of you.

Let your ears be open to the whisper of the Spirit.

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Although he was a Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. After he had been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for everyone who obeys him. He was appointed by God to be a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 5:8-10

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Life is full of suffering. No matter what we do to avoid it, fix it, or cover it up, hardship eventually comes for all people. Sometimes suffering is temporary: testing makes us anxious, we endure a brief illness, we have to adjust to a new home or school. Other times, our pain lingers: we grieve the loss of someone we love, a chronic condition keeps us from enjoying life, we feel unsafe in the world around us.

How can we learn obedience from these things? Are we able to stop, even in the middle of a hard day, and see that those around us are also suffering? Can we let it soften our hearts so that God’s words of compassion are available through us for other people? Do we see that Jesus’ example is for us to follow, that when we endure, we become part of God’s good plan for redeeming the world?

Ellen Di Giosia

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God, my heart hurts for so many reasons, some of them personal to me, and some of them shared with my friends and neighbors. Help me to hold on to faith, obeying you in everything I do, and looking to Jesus for strength. Amen.

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Now widen your focus.

Let your eyes be open to the whole wide world.

Remember that God’s call to obey is intended for your good.

Ellen Di Giosia

Ellen Di Giosia is the pastor of First Baptist Church of Jefferson City, Tennessee. She is a parent, a spouse, a knitter, a napper, and a proud ex-resident of the great state of Texas.

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