“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him Who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:12-13 NIV
I struggled with this yesterday. I’m wasn’t feeling the contentment that I know comes from my LORD, and I admit to wallowing a bit in self-pity. A friend used to say to me “It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a minute, then get up and move on.” It took me a few minutes…..
As a representative of my LORD, feeling down and discouraged makes me feel like I’m failing Him. I think I should always be content, no matter what. Is that realistic? Any pastor or teacher, if they are being honest, will admit to struggles in this area. It’s simply human nature. The real question becomes, what do we do when it happens to us? Having a support system helps (I’m working on that!). Turning to GOD’s Word is a great way to find support, too. I’m not the first person to feel discouraged! Every great person in the Bible, starting with Adam, to Moses and the great kings David and Solomon, even Mary, mother of our LORD, and all of His disciples, dealt with discouragement and frustration in their lives! Why should we mere mortals be any different?
Listen to what JESUS tells His followers:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25, 34 NIV
Words to live by! He isn’t saying that we shouldn’t plan for our future, but that our planning shouldn’t consume our thoughts and our lives. Our lives should focus on Him, rather than on earthly things. When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, and Pharaoh’s army pursued them, it looked hopeless for the unarmed and baggage-laden Israelites. Surely they would be slaughtered as they ran from the Egyptians in fear! But the LORD spoke, and the impossible happened: the sea opened up in front of the Israelites, providing a dry path across the seabed.
“When Pharaoh’s horses, chariots and horsemen went into the sea, the LORD brought the waters of the sea back over them, but the Israelites walked through the sea on dry ground.” – Exodus 15:19 NIV
“LORD, if it’s You,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to You on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward JESUS. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “LORD, save me!” Immediately JESUS reached out His Hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:28-31 NIV
I hear JESUS saying this to me: “You of little faith,” He said, “why did you doubt?”
Good question! Do you find yourself doubting? Take these words then, and hold them close to your heart (as I do!).
“Who shall separate us from the Love of CHRIST? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For Your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who Loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the Love of GOD that is in CHRIST JESUS our LORD.” – Romans 8:35-39 NIV
Listen to “Wherever I Go” by Dan Bremnes.