The discouragement that settled in the pit of my stomach energized defeat and anxiety to chime in with their two cents.
“Why even try?”
“Just give up now.”
“It’ll take too much effort and there are too many people ahead of you for this to possibly succeed.”
Immediately, a song started playing in my mind. “Our God is greater. Our God is stronger. God, You are higher than any other.”
I knew He was speaking to me, so I asked, “What am I supposed to think of that email?”
He said, “Fear not!”
I was so jazzed that He jumped into my discouragement and kicked it to the curb.
Actually, He gave me an invitation to stand firm and not let circumstances in the natural dissuade me from the project He’s called me to. And standing firm in His kingdom, on His truth, allowed me to kick discouragement to the curb.
So I pulled up Chris Tomlin’s song, “Our God is Great,” and worshipped to it. As I started singing, God spoke (regarding the project), “Just do your best. It doesn’t have to be perfect.”
That made me cry at the wonder of His loving gentleness and encouragement. Perfectionism looks for opportunities to sink its claws into my confidence and slowly rip it to shreds.
I’m a bit like Peter. When I’m looking Jesus in the eye, I thrive on difficult situations. But, boy, when I take my eyes from His and look at the waves of the storm, I start to sink fast (Matt. 14:28-31).
In difficult circumstances, we can’t see the beauty that God is creating and working in us. I know when things get painful, all I want is relief.
But I’m beginning to understand that God promises to be with us in every struggle, even when we just want the magic fix. He has a far better desire, which is to make us more like Jesus.
Heat transforms. Pressure changes us. We get to decide what that change looks like.
Some people choose to be bitter. When God brings them to a crossroad, in that pause before they take the next step, they can either choose to hold tight to the offense and the right to be hurt or they can go through the process of giving each piece to Jesus and receiving His freedom in return.
Joseph didn’t know that being rejected and abandoned by his brothers would mold him to govern and save a nation (Gen. 37:17-28; Gen. 41:38-41).
Just as we don’t know how the pain and suffering we are experiencing can reap any benefit to our existence.
God desires us to look beyond our circumstances to Him. To listen to what He’s saying above the howling storm in our lives. To find that place of peace and hope that only He can give (John 14:27, Rom. 15:13).
Father, help me to see the storms through Your eyes. Keep me in the palm of Your hand where I find my safety
(Isaiah 49:16, Isaiah 41:10). Show me how to walk through the difficulties in this life holding tightly to Your hand. Teach me Your ways so that my soul may prosper and not grow weary (3 John 1:2). Thank you for Your constant presence in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.