By Joan Clayton: PNT Religion Columnist
Do you ever get discouraged? It’s hard not to be in today’s world of conflict and bad news. Discouragement is a chief weapon of the enemy — leading to apathy, insensitivity, bitterness and resentment.
An unknown author has said, “When you are in a hole, stop digging.” To me, that means I must be in the “secret place” so I can “abide under the shadow of the Almighty” (Psalm 91).
Another anonymous author has stated, “Faith is an abiding rest in God that nothing, not even the soul’s shortcomings, can disturb.”
I like to read about David in the Old Testament. Pursued by insurmountable odds, he persisted in his faith, taking courage in meeting life’s challenges because he knew his God. David was surrounded by foes on every side. His very own men even wanted to kill him, “But David encouraged himself in the Lord his God” (1 Samuel 30:6).
We do have problems in life’s journey but they are just a reminder that God is faithful. When I look back over my life. I cannot help but sing praises. He never once left me. I stand on one of my many favorite scriptures: “ I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13 NCV).
Looking on the bright side and finding the good dispels discouragement. The one who gets up after being knocked down is the real winner. Take away someone’s hope and you have taken away the reason to live. Even in the most dire circumstance, there’s hope. “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
I thrill to stories of faith such as Joseph’s statement to his brothers, “But as for you ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Genesis 50:20).
I admire Esther’s faith when she agreed to put her life on the line for her people when she said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16). These great heroes all encouraged themselves in the Lord. You and I can too. Remember all the hard places the Lord has brought you through. He will do it again. The future of the child of God is always “the best is yet to be.”
Face each trial with hope and faith in your heart. The worst problem in life bows its knee at the foot of the cross. Everyone has two choices. One leads to life. Choose that one.
Be a carrier of the “Good News.” If there is no conflict, there is no conqueror.
I love the encouragement in Hebrews 12:1: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” (NIV)
I can almost hear these heavenly cheerleaders shouting as we run toward the finish line. They seem to be saying: “Go! Go! Go! Give it all you’ve got. Heaven is worth it all!
We win! I’ve read the last page of the book. Why? Because Jesus is our all in all.
He is rest for the restless, victory for the defeated, peace for the fearful, refuge for the lonely, triumph for the tried, overcomer for the challenged, conqueror for the lowly, strength for the weak, restoration for the lost, encouragement for the fainthearted, mercy for the merciless, grace for the sinner, forgiveness for the offender, life for the lifeless, love for the unloved, righteousness for the unrighteous, health for the unhealthy and honor for the humble. He is victor over death, delight for despair, gladness for sadness, wholeness for brokenness, stability for chaos, righteousness for the unrighteous , deliverance for depression, courage for conflict, bravery for cowardice and comfort for confusion.
Face life with faith in your heart.