Do the hurdles you face leave you feeling discouragement or despair, draining your energy and joy? Maybe you’re at a point where getting out of bed is hard in the morning and reading about the life and hope that you have in Jesus seems like a far-off fairy-tale, not your everyday reality.
What is it that’s tempting you to discouragement? Is it the long list of bills? Stress between you and your spouse? Are your child’s needs changing and you’re struggling to meet them? Is it your isolation, the lack of recognition of your daily work and sacrifice?
It’s easy to read an inspiring blog post about special needs, a heartfelt story or a “check-list” of finding joy but our daily reality can seem convoluted and much less glorious. Usually in the midst of the daily details it’s hard to see that there is any sort of plan for our life. When we aren’t able to see the “bird’s eye view” of our life it can feel like we are living aimlessly from one day to the next. Plodding on, feeling little progress and generally forgetting God’s faithfulness and His extraordinary daily goodness to us.
We end up feeling like the hot dusty Israelites in the book of Exodus, plodding through the hot dry desert from Egypt to a land God had promised them. Maybe we’ve witnessed the powerful hand of God in our lives like they had but they seem to be only distant memories. Maybe we really do believe the wonderful promises God has given to us in Christ but the fulfillment of them seems uncertain and far off. Is there a way to fill our steps with purpose and delight even when we are methodically walking through hot and dusty days?
Look back. Sometimes the only way to see God carrying us is to look back. Remember when you first learned of your child’s needs? When your heart sank and your stomach felt nauseous and you just wanted it all to end? How has the Lord Jesus been by your side until today? How has He equipped you to meet all the needs that were so new and overwhelming? Write them down. Trace God’s faithfulness to you in very literal ways.
Consider your provisions. What has God given you, right now, for the path you are walking in? Has He left you to fight on your own and to find your own strength? Search God’s Word and write down His promises of provision for you. He promises to uphold and help you (Isaiah 41:10), intercedes in heaven for you (Romans 8:34) and is ready with supplies of grace and mercy for your needs (Hebrews 4:16).
Look ahead. Does God desire your demise? Does He want you to be defeated and hopeless? No! All those who trust in the Lord Jesus have God’s eternal word that He is completing a “good work” in you (Phil. 1:5-7). He is perfecting what he started when he saved you. He is rooting you and establishing your faith in Him (Col. 2:7) and preparing you for an eternity more glorious than you can fathom. It’s hard to get the big picture when we can only see the short path in front of us. Look to the Word for the big picture.
If you’re serious about fighting discouragement, take out a piece of paper and the Word of God. Write just one truth down for each simple category. Keep it in your pocket today and let your mind and heart dwell on the fullness and beauty of Christ. Tomorrow, add one more. Fight despair with truth.
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