We are never promised “easy” as believers, but we are told that in this life we will have trouble. While most people prefer not to put their weaknesses and struggles out there for all to read about, I know that God has called me to share honestly with you about my own challenges as an encouragement to others. The Lord knows I have plenty to share.
We need more transparency in our relationships. When we can share the less desirable parts of ourselves, I believe others can be encouraged and strengthened to know they are not alone . . . to know they’re not weird. We all struggle and face difficulties. It’s not something we have to hide. We desperately need vulnerability in our relationships as we seek to be more like Jesus in how we relate to one another. Now, I’m not talking about wallowing in our sorrows. It’s okay to be sorrowful for a time. We need to grieve and express our feelings, but let that complaint turn into lament. Then allow your lament to turn into a song of praise, even when things are dark and complicated. (I must also say that it’s important to use discernment in who you tell what. Earnestly pray . . . seeking those whom The Lord would have you to trust and confide in.) Please hear my heart . . . this blog is not about me . . . I only desire to write worthy words for His glory.
I actually sat down today to share with you about my struggle with weakness. That was the plan. Then I got an email from someone who always has a good God story. Yes, I have this amazing anonymous friend who reads this blog and writes to me. The only thing I really know (other than her love for the Lord) is that we have met, but I have no idea who she is.
In her email she shared how even she was feeling a little down lately. So maybe there are others out there reading this who are currently walking in some sort of darkness. It can feel lonely. It’s good when we can connect and draw encouragement from one another. This friend definitely strengthens my resolve and courage. She shared how God was working in a situation in her life and it all started with her listening to His voice and doing something that seemed really odd.
This story reminded me that even when things feel dark for us, God is working. He will shine His light on our darkness if we continue to abide in Him and do what He says, even when it makes no sense from a human perspective. It also reminded me of a truth shared with me when I was in college. When you feel down and discouraged, endeavor to take your eyes off yourself. You will feel better if you get up and go do something for someone else.
Can Someone Turn On The Lights?
Even when I don't see it, You're working
(Even when I don't feel it, You're working) yeah
You never stop, You never stop working
(You never stop, You never stop working) you're the way maker, yeah
Way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper
Light in the darkness, my God
That is who You are, eh, yeah ( Way Maker, Leeland)
When things seem darkest, He is still working . . . even if it looks as if all is lost. We hear this kind of thing often. He is working even when we don’t see it. But do we believe it’s true? It’s so easy to look at what we can see with our human eyes and grow weary and discouraged by how things appear. Even more so when no change comes . . . when we see no improvement in our circumstances. Things only seem to get harder, not better. How do we keep on going?
Life can really beat us up and cause us to lose heart. There are times my heart feels so weak that I can barely imagine how I can continue on and actually make a difference anywhere. I can struggle at times to just take the next step! Then I am reminded that feelings are not TRUTH. Lamentations 3:21-26 shines light on our situation and reminds us that if Jesus Christ is the Lord of our lives, we are not without hope.
21Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: 22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. 24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” 25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; 26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
Just Say The Name
When darkness sets in and we focus on the storms of life that continually rage, it can weigh our hearts down. I know how it feels to be weary. Just recently, I was on the bottom shelf (a saying I got from my precious 80 year old next door neighbor). Praying felt hard. Focus escaped me. At times I could only say “JESUS.” Thankfully, the Holy Spirit can turn those grunts and moans into words and communicate with God on our behalf. Because on some hard days the only prayer I have is JESUS! By the goodness of God, that prayer alone is powerful. Just saying the name of Jesus is powerful when we call out knowing that apart from Him we have no HOPE.
Can You Turn Down The Radio, Because I Can’t See
You, Lord, are my lamp; the Lord turns my darkness into light. 2 Samuel 22:29
God brings light into our darkness. Sometimes the darkness last for longer than we would like and we can’t understand what’s going on. At times God will give us glimpses of how He’s moving. He allows us to see His hand moving and working in our own circumstances or in the lives of those we are praying for. Oh my, what grace He gives . . . what kindness He shows . . . when He allows us to see with our human eyes that He IS at work. However, it takes understanding with our hearts to grasp these glimpses with our eyes. It’s about seeing with our spiritual eyes and listening with our spiritual ears. If we are not listening to the Holy Spirit we can miss these moments.
There has been so much at stake recently and the enemy of our souls wants us defeated and ineffective. That is why the battle has been so tough. God’s glory will be revealed in the things we are praying for if we will pray and not give up. God is working. He really is doing great things and if we remain faithful and choose to worship when it’s darkest, we will see the goodness of God in the land of the living.
If Satan can get you distracted and keep you discouraged, you will be focusing more on yourself and less on the things God is calling you to do. The enemy of your soul wants you focused on your pain, inadequacy, fear, or desire to control. What we need to do is sit with Jesus and gaze upon His face. This strengthens our hearts as we are reminded who He is and what He can do. Truly, our times are in His hands (Psalm 31:15).
For we live by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
When Going In Circles Is What You Need To Do
This past weekend my husband preached probably the best message I have ever heard him preach. It was from Joshua chapter 6, the battle of Jericho. The whole thing looked hopeless and God chose the least qualified person(s) to lead the group to do something that made no sense. Does that ever look like circumstances in your own life? I can sure identify.
The purpose of all that did not make sense was that the victory would come only from God. This battle would not be won by human strategies.
Chuck’s message reminded us to circle our Jericho’s – keep our mouths shut – believe God – then do what He says. We can worship . . . trust God . . . then by surrendered obedience, watch as God works miracles in our lives and those we are praying for. He really does do great things when we pray with hearts expecting Him to do what only He can do. We may not see the answers right away. Sometimes we have to wait on the Lord and not give up.
This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15
There are some things that will only happen if we are faithful to pray. We need to ask God believing that He can and will do it. There are things that we know are His will and we can boldly approach Him in prayer knowing that we are asking for the very thing that will bring Him glory. Then there are things that we just desire in our hearts. How good God is to bless us with the desires of our hearts. When He doesn’t give us what we ask for, it’s often a mercy answer. He knows that the thing we are asking for will not be what is best for us. But then there are times He gives things we surely don’t deserve. He pours out His grace and blesses us because He loves us and it delights Him to bless His children. That is God’s heart.
Times of waiting are meant to grow and deepen us and we trust God to answer at just the right time, in the right way. Over and over I have seen His faithfulness. Yet, I still grow weary and get discouraged so easily when faced with trials and challenges. Chuck and I pray daily, “Lord, we believe. Help our unbelief.”
but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer. Psalm 66:19
This past weekend God allowed me to see His greater glory in a few things I have prayed about for years! Yes . . . years. A desire of my heart that is actually something God wants for us. Something I have desired for a long time, but mostly because of my slowness to surrender parts of my life and my tendency to cling to sinful patterns and selfishness, these things were delayed. But God’s timing is alway perfect. I had longed for it to be sooner, but I was not yet yielded in some areas of my spiritual life. God has been patient and kind to this slow to learn, stubborn woman. Yet as I look around and see all that He is doing with this thing I had prayed about for so long, I see that this is the RIGHT time for that desire of my heart to be met. It is for His greater glory!
Greater Glory Is Coming So Strap On Your Boots
So if you are under attack . . . if you are weary and tired . . . I want to encourage you to stand and keep praying. Keep asking God to do what only He can do. Keep expecting Him to work in those circumstances that look so hopeless and dark. So stand and believe! Circle your Jericho with a heart willing to do what He says while asking Him to bring down those walls in your own life. Take courage my friend. He uses the weakest vessels and works in the strangest of ways. But He is working. If you are praying with a believing heart, He is working. Don’t give up.
(Side note: I was writing a blog about weakness when I felt the need to sit and write what God was saying to me today. So Lord willing, I will have more to share with you about weakness and God’s strength. I’m thankful God used my anonymous friend to bring about this post today. So to my friend . . . THANK YOU!!!!💕)
Monica and Chuck