In the Meantime, [Don’t] Give Up

When life gets tough, and despair seeps deeply into our bones, giving up seems only natural.  Yet, God offers us so much more.

The last month has been difficult.  Discouragement.  Weariness.  Grief.  I’d lost a friend and felt helpless to minister to the family. My son seemed to be falling apart at the seams and I’d so hoped we were past all this. Discouragement hounded my thoughts and spirit until I felt like I was beginning….to………d r o w n.

Through the course of the last two weeks, knowing I couldn’t rise above the crashing waves alone, God sent life preservers in the form of thoughts, scripture, sermons, and people.

Below are some of those precious life preservers I’ve held onto:

My choice is to believe God's word or my feelings. God says he is with me and won't let go. His love is too great to allow anything to crush me victoriously! Click To Tweet

“…Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.” Romans 8:38-39 (MSG)

I'm not fighting a battle of emotions alone; I'm fighting an enemy who cunningly knows how to use my emotions and circumstances for his purposes! I must fight rather than give in. Click To Tweet

This is not a wrestling match against a human opponent. We are wrestling with rulers, authorities, the powers who govern this world of darkness, and spiritual forces that control evil in the heavenly world. 13 For this reason, take up all the armor that God supplies. Then you will be able to take a stand during these evil days. Once you have overcome all obstacles, you will be able to stand your ground. Ephesians 6:12-13 (GW) 

“So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” James 4:8 (NLT)

My inclination is to doubt God and give in. But I must choose instead to worship, even if tentatively. Click To Tweet

I found as I made worship a focus, despair began to crumble in the presence of the proclamation of truth.  

“…3-4 for you are holy.  The praises of our fathers surrounded your throne; they trusted you and you delivered them. You heard their cries for help and saved them; they were never disappointed when they sought your aid.” Psalm 22:3-5 (TLB)

Finally, last week’s sermon entitled “In the Meantime” struck at the core of my heart, infusing me with strength, becoming the final blow to despair.  The passage’s main scriptures were I Corinthians 13:12 (NLT) and Mark 6:45-53 (NKJV).  Below are the main points from the sermon notes.

Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land. Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by. And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, “Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid.” Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. (A portion of the Mark passage)

  1. Just because God is silent, doesn’t mean God is absent. (Isaiah 55:8-9, NLT)
  2. Just because it doesn’t go according to your plan, doesn’t mean it isn’t according to God’s purpose. (Joshua 14:6-12, NLT and Proverbs 19:21, NLT)
  3. STAY IN THE BOAT (Romans 8:28, NIV)

Between the time the disciples strained at the oars in fear of their lives, and the time Jesus entered the boat and calmed the storm must have felt something like I have the last 3-4 weeks.

Yet the storm, and their feelings of fear weren’t the total reality. The unseen truth at the moment was:  “Even though it seemed the storm held sway over their lives, Jesus was master over the storm.  His power over the storm and their lives was a reality before they experienced it.  The storm was subject to Jesus whether or not he calmed it.

Our fear is, “Will he choose to calm the storm, or will he let me drown?”

Yet the truth, even in the midst of the storm, is:

The storm will never be master over me, no matter how much it rages.  Jesus is Master and it must bow at his feet. Even if I drown.  

Because, if I drown, Jesus has the power to either revive me or take me home. Either way, Jesus, rather than the storm has the greater power, and he is the one who chooses the outcome.  The storm is never the deciding factor when Jesus is in the equation.

With Jesus, the storm never wins.

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. I will be vacationing and attending a writer’s intensive in a couple of weeks, but will be preparing next week.  Because of this, I may not be able to post.  I will miss you, but am excited about the possibilities coming from this training!  God Bless!

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[Don’t] Assume the Worst!

I tend to be an optimist, until difficulty, discouragement, or grief strike.

When struggles strike hard, it’s too easy for me to assume wrongly, as I did a couple of weeks ago with the “odd” scene before me on the beach. Grief, disappointment, or discouragement bombard, and I view God, as I did the knee bent teen resting on her mamma, with distrust. God must not care.  This has gone on so long, it’s obvious he isn’t going to deal “rightly” with this situation.  He doesn’t care how hard this is for me.  He must be too busy.

Even if these aren’t my conscious thoughts, they’re certainly how I react.

Yet, the Bible says otherwise.

God cares deeply. So much so, he enacted desperate measures, at great cost to himself, on our behalf.  His willingness to leave perfection and suffer for us effects us even now, in this current struggle.

The servant [Jesus] grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
    a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
    nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
    a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
    We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
    our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
    that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
    that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
    Through his bruises we get healed.
We’re all like sheep who’ve wandered off and gotten lost.
    We’ve all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we’ve done wrong,
    on him, on him. Isaiah 53:5-6 (MSG)

For those who choose to follow Jesus, his Spirit is already at work within our struggle, for our good – this very moment.  We don’t need to wait until tomorrow to trust he’s working.

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Romans 8:26-28 (MSG)

He is acquainted with every difficulty we face, because he willingly chose to share in our experiences (without sinning), so he could compassionately rescue and care for us in this present difficulty.

14-15 Since the children are made of flesh and blood, it’s logical that the Savior took on flesh and blood in order to rescue them by his death. By embracing death, taking it into himself, he destroyed the Devil’s hold on death and freed all who cower through life, scared to death of death.

16-18 It’s obvious, of course, that he didn’t go to all this trouble for angels. It was for people like us, children of Abraham. That’s why he had to enter into every detail of human life. Then, when he came before God as high priest to get rid of the people’s sins, he would have already experienced it all himself—all the pain, all the testing—and would be able to help where help was needed.  Hebrews 2:14-18 (MSG)

God is never too busy to hear our urgent requests, when we cry out to him for help rather than turning to our own strength and abilities.

Lord, hear my prayer!
    Listen to my plea!
Don’t turn away from me
    in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
    and answer me quickly when I call to you.
For my days disappear like smoke,
    and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
My heart is sick, withered like grass,
    and I have lost my appetite.
Because of my groaning,
    I am reduced to skin and bones.
I am like an owl in the desert,
    like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
I lie awake,
    lonely as a solitary bird on the roof….

17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
    He will not reject their pleas.

18 Let this be recorded for future generations,
    so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.
19 Tell them the Lord looked down
    from his heavenly sanctuary.
He looked down to earth from heaven
20     to hear the groans of the prisoners,
    to release those condemned to die. Psalm 102:1-7,17-20 (NLT)

Lord, all too often when experiencing difficulty, disappointment, or grief I wrongly assume you’re Not for me. Not big enough. Not with me. Resulting in seeing neither you nor the situation clearly. Forgive me. Help me more clearly see…  Your intentions.  Your powerfully extravagant love.  Your heart toward me.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Later this week (truly) I will continue with this new series looking at how we can find strength and courage “In the Struggle”.  I intended to run this with last week’s post, and was unable to, due to time constraints.  I’m sorry. Forgive me, please.  Thank you. 🙂

With love and prayers,

Robin <3

p.s. If you currently struggle, I would very gladly pray.  Share, confidentially, below.