category: Advent

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 7

Advent 2023 cover

Saturday,  December 9

Ezekiel 36:24-28; Mark 11:27-33

The gift of being made new through suffering.

In Mark 11:27-33, when you read about the chief priests and teachers questioning Jesus’ authority, many of our first thoughts are about how naïve these chief priests must have been. We, knowing that Jesus is Lord, tend to believe that we would have not done the same thing as these unbelieving religious leaders of the day. But, if we look into our hearts, is that really true? Let’s ask ourselves this question: How many times in a day does something happen in our lives that we don’t appreciate and we curse it, allowing it to create anxiety in our lives, allowing it to affect our mental health, our relationships with our co-workers, friends, and family? How many times a day, a week, or a year do we fail to recognize that every challenge in our lives has been tailor made by God for us to forge us into the person that He has put us on earth to become? Perhaps the suffering isn’t a punishment as much as a gift to help us become the person that we have prayed that God would help us develop into. I thank God that I have never been asked to endure anything close to what Jesus chose to endure for us. And, I think that we would be wise to understand that our suffering, just as Jesus’ suffering, was completely by design, and as he allowed it to happen and allowed Himself to be transformed through it, we must summon the courage to allow our suffering to transform us into something greater than we are now.

What if these life, work, and personal challenges were truly gifts from God, much like His promise to the Israelites in Ezekiel 36:24-28? “For I will take you out of the nations . . . I will cleanse you . . . I will give you a new heart and spirit . . . and I will be your God.” We often confuse what is good for us with what is good to us. Trust that when it comes to suffering and redemption, none of it comes easy. But all of it is necessary to transform our spirit, give our lives meaning, and allow us the privilege to be a beacon
of hope to all of our fellow men and women.

Andrew Goodrich
Vice President and Director of Athletics

Previous Post

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 6

Next Post

2023 Advent Devotion: Day 8

Related Posts

  • Post

    D-Day Plus 80…A Moment in History the World Cannot Forget

    By now you have probably heard that the Gardner-Webb University Concert Choir is traveling to France to perform as part of the 80th Anniversary of D-Day.  Like you, I am so proud that GWU students and faculty have the solemn opportunity to be present at a place where history was made, where the tide of […]

  • Post

    Family Weekend:  Making New Memories at GWU

    This past weekend Gardner-Webb University hosted its twice-annual Family Weekend. What a joy it was to see so many parents, grandparents and siblings reconnect with their GWU students for fun, food, and fellowship. Granted, our students had only just returned to campus from the Christmas break a few short weeks earlier; nevertheless, the reunions were […]

  • Post

    2023 Advent Devotion: Day 23

    Monday, December 25 Luke 1:46b-55; 1 Samuel 1:1-18; Hebrews 9:1-14 Welcome Christmas! Today we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This is a day of joy and a day of majesty. It is our day to magnify His great and holy name. Glory to God! As you conclude the 2023 Advent devotional […]