Saturday was April 7th, the day before Easter. Outside it was 34 degrees with snow falling heavily. It snowed like this much of the day! I kept thinking about Friday, the previous day. It was 79 degrees, and I mowed our grass. How did the weather move from warm to cold and snow so quickly?
Sometimes life is the same way. Things are great for a while and then the bottom falls out. For some reason, things start going wrong. It is easy to feel discouraged. That is life. Life can sometimes be overwhelming, discouraging, and frustrating. So often, things just don’t work out all that smoothly.
Life can be overwhelming. You find yourself dealing with several problems — big problems. It is like trying to swim against the current until finally you just can’t do it.
Life can be discouraging. You feel yourself losing courage and even hope. The days seems to be cloudy and overcast. You long for the days when the sun is shining and life is going well again.
Life can be frustrating. You try. You work hard. You give it your best shot. You keep running into roadblocks.
At different times, I have felt each one of these. I have felt so frustrated by roadblocks to progress. Sometimes that sense of frustration has been with others. At other times, I have felt very frustrated with myself. I also know what it feels like to be totally overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by work, by problems, and by trying to juggle it all. All of this can become very discouraging.
I have always enjoyed Psalm 73. The Psalmist describes his discouragement and his frustration. He was discouraged because it seemed that the wicked had it made. They do not seem to experience the struggles that are common to everyone else. They are prideful, evil, and apparently have plenty of money.
Then this writer remembers God. He remembers some reasons he has to be encouraged.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds (Psalm 73: 23-28).
In these few verses, I can see four reasons to be encouraged today:
1. God gives me security. ("…you hold me by my right hand.")
2. God gives me direction. ("You guide me with your counsel…")
3. God gives me destiny. ("…and afterward you will take me into glory.")
4. God gives me strength. ("…God is the strength of my heart…")
No, these are not a "fix." Knowing this does not necessarily remove obstacles or take away problems. Yet, knowing this reminds me that God is greater than my problems or my frustrations. I may be overwhelmed, but he is not overwhelmed. He can and will provide what I need. He is able to see beyond this moment in my life. His vision is way ahead of mine. Ultimately, I must trust him and relax in his provisions.