September 18, 2021
Scripture: And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe. Revelation 16:21 ESV
Observation: In this chapter of John’s revelation, we read of angelic beings pouring out the seven bowls of God’s wrath on the hardhearted (echoing from the days of Moses and Pharoah). Despite harmful sores, diseased bodies of water, scorching sun, utter darkness, oppression from evil spirits (who are like frogs), massive earthquake, and giant hailstones, these obstinate people do not repent and even curse God. The text implies that all will see and believe that God exists, but most will reject him.
Takeaway: We human beings are predictably pain-directed. Our Lord uses pain to turn us around (repent) and reconnect with him. But those who distrust God’s goodness will want nothing to do with him even when undergoing intense pain. Sadly as a pastor, I can attest to this spiritual dynamic. Still, there always remains hope. Pray to God on their behalf because their story is not finished. Meanwhile, show others how those who trust in the Lord’s goodness press through pain.
Prayer: Father God, help us to see that pain is a gift intended to draw us closer to you. Please help us to press through our infirmities with an awareness of your presence that brings us peace. And inspire us to pray for others who are struggling to make sense of their suffering and trust you. Amen.
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling