Encouragement for Down Days
What is it about discouragement? It can seem to come on you for no apparent reason from no apparent direction and not want to let go. What can you do?
Think about this. Is life for you a grand adventure or just something to get through? For many people and even many Christians this seems to be a popular perspective. For example, I have a magnet on my refrigerator with a picture of a cute but sad-faced little pug-type dog with the caption, “Lord, help me get through this day.”
Well, no doubt it is a cute image and reflects a common sentiment. But is it possible that the Lord God of Israel, the King of the Universe, the Maker of Heaven and Earth might have something better in store for us than just help getting through the day? I am not saying we don’t need that sometimes, perhaps frequently many days. If I were, I would have destroyed that magnet. But there is more.
Coming to God as a Child
On discouraging days it might be helpful to ask God to help you adopt the mindset of a child. After all, did not Jesus say we should come to him as a child? What is the mindset of a child? Well, for one thing, children don’t usually wake up in the morning thinking about what problem they might have to steel themselves against later in the day.
Instead of worrying about the unseen, children delight in the wonder of the world around them. They enjoy life, they enjoy discovering new information, they delight in their friendships. They play, they run, they laugh, they shout. We are obviously referring to children who are secure here. We are not talking about abused children. So what kind of children are we, as people who have been made new by the Spirit of God?
We are “children of the light and children of day,” the word tells us in I Thessalonians 5:5. Those of us who have believed that the Lord Jesus Christ is our sacrifice for sin, our personal Lord and Savior and our soon-coming King have none of the reasons to fear that the unsaved have.
“Therefore, comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing,” Paul says in I Thessalonians 5:11.
Both Riches and Honor Come from HIM
The past few weeks have been trying for me, perhaps also for you. But the Lord has been faithful. He has provided. He has intervened in several ways. I don’t want to weary you with details. I just want to say that He has revealed to me over and over that He is Emmanuel, God with us and has been faithful to be with me throughout every moment in the midst of difficulties.
One of the many blessings for me when going through trying times is that the Lord will highlight specific verses for me. The other is that He will clarify certain topics in Scripture that are especially relevant to me personally. I will share these and then be done.
First, He gave me I Chronicles 29:12: “Both riches and honor come from You, and You reign over all” is the first part of that verse. It just exploded in my soul. So it’s not all my effort that brings about the meeting of my needs. It is GOD. And any riches or honor come from HIM, not from my striving. My job is to “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” (Matthew 6:33) Right? “And all these things shall be added.”
Rest in God and Have Faith
The next thing he showed me was that he wants faith. Last week I watched (not all but part of) “The Greatest Story Ever Told” (1965). In one part, Jesus healed a cripple, played by Sal Mineo. I think Jesus had asked him, “Who healed you?” I’m not sure if I am remembering this correctly, but I think Sal Mineo said, “You healed me,” and then Jesus said, “Your faith has made you whole.”
Now, theologians, please don’t get testy here. It kind of threw me too, but here’s the deal. Didn’t Jesus say also, “As your faith so be it unto you” and that if we had faith as a mustard see we could move mountains? Come on, now. If we are his children, we should be having faith not running scared. That’s all I’m saying.
And finally, the other day I learned that the name Noah means “rest, repose, consolation.” and then I learned that the ark had no interior controls. It was totally operated by God. My pastor even told me the Bible says, “God shut the door.” And, indeed, in Genesis 7:16 the word says, “And the LORD shut him in.”
So, in conclusion, Christian, you are in the ark! The ark is Jesus. You are safe. His promises are yours and He is simply working in you those attributes of sonship that He desires for you to have.
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling: for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12,13)