I am sat at our kitchen table having finished a cup of coffee.
It was early in the morning. I was thinking about my work and the day I anticipated. I wanted the day to matter and count in some way. Typically, the day seems to really count if I lived in the moment with a sense of my own identity and purpose in Jesus.
This is not as easy as it may sound. At least, I don’t find this easy! Yes it is true. Sometimes I get up in the morning and I sense the presence of God and I feel like I in rhythm, living the way I was meant to live. On many other occasions, I find life to be very hard.
Years ago, I was walking with a friend and his wife through the student center at Abilene Christian University. I think we were all there for a special event. What I do remember is that I was apparently discouraged with my work/ministry. The three of us were walking down the stairs to get a coke and visit. This couple was a few years older than me. They had served in a full-time ministry role much longer than me.
As we were walking down the steps to the lower level of the student center, my friend’s wife said to me,
”Jim, our work is far too important to allow it to be destroyed by another mortal.”
I have remembered this for many years. She saw that I was getting overly focused on a certain person’s destructive attitude and behavior. I was allowing this one person to discourage and distract me.
Such discouragements can happen to us all.
Discouragement can happen to you in your ministry or your family. Discouragement can take place at work. Discouragement can happen as you try to deal with life. Does this sound familiar? Or is this limited to just a few of us?
Sometimes, we allow discouraging situations to finally wear us out. Imagine being in a canoe with another person. You would like to go straight down the river. You use your oar in such a way as to cause the canoe to go straight. Your friend, however, seems to be interested in going from one side of the river to the other. You paddle and paddle and find yourself heading to the side of the river and finally hitting the bank. You get the canoe headed in the right direction again and a minute or two later, you are heading to the other side of the river toward the other bank. Eventually this kind of canoeing becomes very tiresome.
Life can be exhausting!
Perhaps I need to be reminded that the Lord is at my side and gives me strength. Perhaps I need to remember that the Lord does not leave his children to fend for themselves. Rather, he is with us.
At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
(II Timothy 4:16-18)
(Adapted from a previous post)