ODJ: Faithful in the Pain

October 23, 2017 

READ: Habakkuk 1:1 

The righteous will live by their faithfulness to God (2:4).

Joni Eareckson Tada, a world-renowned artist, author and speaker, became a quadriplegic as the result of an accident in 1967. She admits that every morning she wakes up tired and convinced that she can’t face another day with quadriplegia. But she takes her weakness to God, seeking His grace, and continues to serve others—her joy in Jesus radiating through her smile.

Having spent years bound by her wheelchair, Joni embodies the concept of tireless faithfulness spoken of by Habakkuk. After receiving word of Judah’s impending judgement through the Babylonians, the prophet honed in on God’s reminder that the righteous would live by faithfulness to Him (Habakkuk 2:4). According to J.J Parsons, “The Hebrew word ‘faith’ is emunah, which suggests perseverance, fidelity and steadfastness, notwithstanding appearances or circumstances that might tempt us to waver.”

Abraham demonstrated emunah when he believed God’s promise of an heir, and “the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith” (Genesis 15:6). Similarly, Joseph displayed emunah when he was sold into slavery by his brothers, waylaid by Potiphar’s wife (39:6-18) and forgotten in prison (40:12-23). Hebrews 11 catalogues the triumphs and trials of many who brought their weakness to God and experienced emunah, while also pointing out “all these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised” (Hebrews 11:39).

Pain is real and can’t be avoided this side of eternity. And yet, we don’t lose hope; we dare to faithfully persevere by God’s strength, for “no eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9).

—Remi Oyedele

365-day-plan: Acts 10:1-23

Read Hebrews 11:6 and consider why faith is so important to God. 
In what ways have you fallen short of displaying emunah in the midst of a challenging situation? What about God and His character encourages you to press on?