Honestly, I’ve felt tired. Tired of Covid-19, tired of the strife around our cities and around the globe. Tired of having to wear masks everywhere. Exhausted from having to keep a safe distance from people. Weary from political pundits, and the never-ending news cycle of doom.
Yet in a world of turmoil, disease and reality TV, I serve a God who reminds me often that He holds me in His capable hands. That His burden is easy, and the load He gives me to carry is light. Urges me to love my enemies as myself, and to act differently than the world. Implores me to forgive someone who doesn’t deserve it, even if that someone is me.
I am challenged to take my thoughts captive. When my mind wants to worry or fear, I remember God’s exhortation to me: “You’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies” (Philippians 4:8-9, MSG).
For me, sometimes turning off the news, listing out things I am grateful for, and taking the time to encourage someone else, is the very best medicine. When the Enemy of my soul wants me to feel sorry for myself, or act out in anger, the Lover of my soul reminds me He works everything out for my good. Even Covid-19. Even hardship and strife.
The cool thing is I see Him doing that work in my life. I am so aware that moments are all I have, precious moments that I don’t want to lose to depression, anger or rancor. I feel a much greater need to connect with God and to build into others, and I am so deeply grateful for those who take the time to build into me. He’s changing me through all of this, refining my self-definition and reminding me of my deep need for Him.
And He’s been so faithful! I’ve lost count of the times over these last several months where God's faithfulness has been evident. The occasions I received a note of encouragement on a day I really needed it. Having my husband, a friend, or even a stranger give me that perfect word I needed at exactly the right moment. Then there are the scriptures I’ve stumbled upon or rediscovered for just the right situation. It’s been the sense of peace enveloping and holding me close when I feel overwhelmed by the storm that is my life. He is ever-present, ever-loving, and ever-guiding me forward.
At the end of this age, which the Lord says shall certainly pass away, I want to be able to do just as the Apostle Paul called me to do. To present myself to God as one approved, a worker for the Lord who need not be ashamed, and who correctly handled the word of truth. One who didn’t get caught up in petty arguments, but was a gentle listener, helping people to feel encouraged and seen. I long to get out of my own way to become a beacon of His light to a dark and fallen world.
I’ll close with God’s words since He always says it best. “In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets—some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing” (2 Timothy 2:20-21, MSG).
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
There are many great scriptures that I have clung to through this difficult season. Deuteronomy 31:8 is one such scripture: “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.” How awesome is that?!
What are the scriptures to which you cling? Remember to keep them in front of you, reciting them often. Please post any in the comments here or on our Facebook page so others can be encouraged by them, too. Remember, God has you no matter how stormy your world feels right now.
Here is my challenge for you: Read Psalm 18 if you need a God-boost, or 2 Timothy 2:8-26 if you need a God-challenge. Better yet, read both! God is over all and through all and in all. Even in your circumstances; even in your pain. Cling to Him. “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life” (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG). Amen!
PRAYER Papa, thank You for Your patience with me. When I don’t understand, when I’ve lost my way, when my bitterness and fear get the best of me, You faithfully remain by my side. You encourage and lift me up out of the mud and mire. You are by my side even after I’ve left Yours. Praise you LORD! You alone are holy. You alone are worthy. Remind me of Your loving-kindness today, and fill me with the joy of Your salvation. Amen.
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