There is a likelihood that sooner or later our lives will suffer a shattering blow. Our own little world will seem to fall to pieces. We sometimes feel like we are coming unglued. Young people speak of it in telling expressions like “blowing your mind.” We get so tense and uptight; we are sure we can’t take another hour of it.
A son or daughter gets picked up for possessing drugs.
An aged parent is impossible to satisfy and there is nothing that can be done to change things.
A dear loved one dies, and we can’t get hold of ourselves.
An unexpected financial reversal comes and it will take years to get back on our feet.
An auto accident happens in which someone is seriously injured.
We act compulsively and do a wicked thing which we never dreamed we could ever do.
The world seems to be going crazier by the minute, and the things we were used to are no longer the same. There is no “new normal.” It seems that everyone is at each other’s throat, and the “new normal” is chaos and uncertainty.
GOD NEVER ALTERS THE LAW OF NATURE IN ORDER FOR THE CHRISTIAN TO HAVE AN EASY TIME OR AN EASY LIFE!
All the faith in the world will not allow us to escape trials and tribulations. FAITH is simply the handle by which we can get a firm grip on God’s grace, enabling us to weather any storm that beats upon our life. When we make our life a prayer, we never get to the end of hope. Some of the most marvelous and reassuring verses in the Bible climax the book of Habakkuk.
“Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines;
Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food;
Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls—
Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.
The Lord God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer’s feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.”
James Embry, via Saks Church of Christ 4 17 1988
WHEN GOD SHOULD LOOM THE LARGEST
The great deceiver – the devil – has his eyes on the church! Perhaps Satan has no more potent tool in his arsenal capable of “undoing” God’s people and destroying their thrust than that of discouragement. Typically, things seem to go well for a while and then the sky falls in. That’s the strategy of hell . . . catch them with their guard down, undermine their efforts while “all is at ease in Zion.” Moving forward, attaining, growing, prospering in the greatest cause on earth, quite naturally clutters our pathway with a host of things which need to be done, projects that must be undertaken, and opportunities begging to be accepted. However, for some reason we cannot seem to muster enough strength, rally enough people, find enough money to get the job done. Then, there it is . . . bold, blatant discouragement, staring down, daring us to make good!
Maybe the answer should be obvious to us. It is quite possible we have been depending on our own strength, on people, on money, and showing LITTLE FAITH in that One who can speak the universe into existence, establish kingdoms and depose kings, stop the sun and dry up clouds, and who can raise the dead . . . GOD! It is in times of discouragement when God should loom large in our lives, our hopes, our goals, our aspirations.
The Israelites faced tremendous odds and discouragement soon after the “Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. . . “(Exodus 12:29-30). Pharaoh, who was so haughty and proud, and the land of Egypt, was defenseless. The children of Israel headed toward the promised land that lay not too far beyond the desert. But while the distance was not all that great, the trip, itself, was not to be an easy one, as they were soon to learn. With Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit and a vast, formidable wilderness to the right and the left, the Israelites were confronted with the seemingly forbidden Red Sea. In their minds, there was no escape and among other things they cried, “For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:12). (BIG TIME DISCOURAGEMENT so soon after a BIG TIME VICTORY over Egypt. That is the way it is many times!). Moses, in reply to their worry and fear urged, “Do not be afraid. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.” The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.” (Exodus 12:13-14).
Unrest, discord indifference, and threats of many kinds . . . there are times in the life of the church when “Pharaoh’s army” is bearing down on us. But remember, the Lord will fight for us, he will show us a way if we will put our faith and trust in Him. It takes faith in God, a great deal of it, to accomplish the Lord’s work. Discouragement suggests that we have our ear bent toward the devil and our hearts not inclined toward God. There is so much work, so much good which the church needs to be doing. There are so many opportunities of which the church needs to take advantage. There are so many goals the church needs to set and reach after. Be not discouraged.
Charlie Garner Lake Forest church of Christ 9/07/1997
It is easy during times of social unrest and struggles, during election cycles and trials, during times of sickness, disease and death, for us to focus too much on what is happening around us and not enough on God. It is easy to want to avoid talking about the things that bother us, because we know that all of us have struggles right now, and, hopefully, we don’t want to burden any one more than we should.
Now is the time for us to look to God.
Now is the time for us to be there for one another (and even this is somewhat hard, with “social distancing.”)
Now is the time for us to encourage and exhort one another as never before.
May we reconnect with God, renew our commitment to Him, and serve him again with all of our heart, souls and strength. Tommy