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Devotional: October 18, 2021

All the people boomed out hurrahs, praising God as the foundation of The Temple of God was laid. As many were noisily shouting with joy, many of the older priests, Levites, and family heads who had seen the first Temple, when they saw the foundations of this Temple laid, wept loudly for joy. People couldn’t distinguish the shouting from the weeping. The sound of their voices reverberated for miles around.

Ezra 3: 11-13 The Message

The book of Ezra is about the Israelites rebuilding after the Babylonian captivity. Here, many of the older priests remembered seeing the first temple, which had been destroyed. Now, some decades later, the foundations for a new temple are being laid. The sight brings tears to their eyes! Many probably never envisioned the day when the temple would be rebuilt, especially after their people spent seventy years as captives in Babylon…

Years ago, Rev. Robin Peterson was pastor of College Place Presbyterian Church in College Place, Washington, a community near Walla Walla. As a small rural church, it had struggled financially off and on through the years. However, during Pastor Peterson’s tenure, the church was able to pay off their mortgage. During the celebration when the church mortgage was burned, an older lady in the congregation wept uncontrollably. She had been a faithful member of the congregation for years, and had watched all the church had gone through. She never thought that her church would be without a mortgage. From her perspective, the celebration to burn the mortgage was a miraculous answer to her heartfelt prayers. Her tears were tears of joy!

What brings you tears of joy? When has God surprised you with his miraculous power? Such questions are worth pondering…


Loving and Holy God,

I give You thanks for Your tender care for me, and for Your surprising miracles in my life. Help me to feel comfortable with my feelings, and free to show my emotions, as I rejoice in Your answers to my prayers, and the prayers of many others. Thank You for welcoming both my tears of sorrow and of joy. I pray this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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