This week has been one of “those” weeks. You know the kind.
The kind where difficulties come rushing at you at an alarming rate. You barely get past one, breathe deeply , and then the next one comes. It seems to just keep happening like that. As your emotions respond to the trials, they grow more fragile by the moment. In no time, you are at odds with loved ones, and your relationships are suffering. You are struggling to keep it all together in your head. Your state of well being is teetering on the brink.
I know you’ve been there. We all have at some point. The situations we face that bring us to this point vary greatly, but one thing is certain for all of us; we need peace and strength.
Peace can feel impossible when we struggle. And strength? Strength can feel like something you used to have, but not today. Today you just feel weak. Weakened in your spirit by the hardships and weakened in your faith by the heaviness in your heart.
Scripture is full of passages that show us God’s heart toward us in difficulty. The Lord made sure that His word had many teachings about this exact thing. I think that’s because He knows how fragile we can be as humans. I know that for me, it’s easy to doubt that God is good when the situations in my life don’t feel good. That’s why the truth of scripture is so important, God’s word does not change. It does not fluctuate with the circumstances. My emotions sure do, but His word is sure. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Deuteronomy 31:7-8 is a clear representation of the heart of God. He says this, “Be strong and courageous…the LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
When I read this scripture I see several things. The Lord goes before me. Wherever I am headed, He is already there. That means that whatever situation I find myself in, it is no surprise to God. He’s there before I am. He’s surveying the land, so to speak. He knows what’s coming, and He is making a plan to help me through.
I also see here that the Lord is with me. He goes before me, but he is also with me. Only God can do that; be in more than one place at a time. He never leaves me. Never. This doesn’t mean that I don’t go through difficult things, but it does mean I don’t enter the darkness alone.
He also says here not to be afraid or discouraged. Oh boy, now things just got real.
When I face difficulty, I fight the urge to be afraid and discouraged. Those two emotions seem to be the primary stopping blocks in my faith. Fear of the outcome of my circumstance can paralyze me quickly. I stop moving forward. I get stuck. As if somehow, by operating in fear, I can stop the difficulty from being…difficult. My emotions lie to me and tell me that I need to control things somehow. That it’s up to me to fix whatever it is.
And lacking the ability to control or stop the struggle creates discouragement in my soul; the next battle.
If the enemy of our souls can keep us discouraged, he can keep our focus on ourselves and on our trials. When that happens, we struggle to trust God because we only see our own hurt. That’s our flesh being in charge.
Isn’t it good to realize that God’s word contains everything we need? The Lord knows that we possess human emotions and weaknesses. So He made sure that the pages of scripture, that we can hold in our hands and read and reread, contain all the assurances for this life and the life to come!
When I read scripture like Psalm 29:10 that says “The LORD rules over the floodwaters. The LORD reigns as king forever.”, I realize that His power is immense! If He can rule over the floodwaters (a completely uncontrollable force in human terms), then nothing is too hard for Him. And since He can do that, then I know that He does in fact reign over all things! So I try to believe Him when He says that I shouldn’t be afraid or discouraged.
But I really love the promise of Psalm 29:11, the very next verse. “The LORD gives his people strength. The LORD blesses them with peace.” Strength and peace. The two things that will carry me through any difficulty.
When my own strength evades me, I have the strength of the Lord to rely on. When I can’t quite grasp the peace that I’m missing, He holds it. He desires to give it to me, and to bless me with His peace.
What are you wrestling with today friend? I may not know what it is, but I bet you need peace and strength. Strength in the trial, and peace in the process. Strength to fight your fear, and peace to defeat your discouragement. He holds both of them in His loving hands, and they can be yours in faith. Just ask.
Lord Jesus, there are days. Days and weeks that feel longer than they really are because of all that is in them. Lord, in those times, remind me of your love for me. Show me that you are always with me, giving me strength and peace. Thank you for the truth of your word that reminds me that you are with me, and that you go before me. Help me to fully embrace the strength and peace you give today. In Jesus name, Amen.