Are you facing discouragement?
I wanted to title this post “Jesus is not a pit-stop” because sometimes I try to make Him one.
I zip through life at breakneck speeds, burn out tires, blow out equipment, wreck out margins and then zip back to His presence expecting a quick fix-up and refuel so I can go out and run the track again.
This morning, I woke up and despair filled my soul.
The kind of discouragement that lays you out and you just want to pull the covers over your head and pretend the day doesn’t exist.
Thoughts of the unknown, the unaccomplished, the impossible bludgeoned my mind. Eventually I rolled down the covers and dragged myself to a seating position. Ambled to the kitchen and armed with a warm cup of water, began my prayer time.
Or more accurately, sat on my bed, eyes closed, willing for strength to talk to God. Later, as I listened to worship music, a subtle shift began to take place.
And God talked to me and reminded me He is not a pit stop: some place I run to refuel and then dash off to do stuff.
He is not where I go to for clean- up after being pushed around: He’s with me when I am feeling pushed around. He’s not where I go to have my heart mended; He’s also with me when I am wrestling with issues that break my heart.
One of the reasons I was wrestling with heavy discouragement was because I had forgotten God was in my hard moments.
I didn’t have to lay in bed, trying to “work myself up” to face the day: all I had to do was acknowledge His presence. Jesus is not just my Victor, He is also my burden-bearer.
When God spoke to me, His words were not a rebuke. They were a gentle invite. “I am here: I have not abandoned you. My plan is still intact: don’t fear the storms and the rage of the unknown. I am here.”
He took me John 15: 5, which talks about Jesus being the vine and the blessing of staying connected, and the outcome of disconnecting.
Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing
We are created to abide in Christ – to dwell in Him and conduct all our life and business inside Him. We are not meant to speed through the track of life alone; handling business and only going to God for the complex.
We are intended to do all of life – from the small to the great, the mundane to extraordinary, the unclear to the clear, the challenging to easy, the known to unknown – in God.
Discouragement – God-agenda vs. my-agenda
Sometimes back, author Sheila Gregoire wrote:
“the reason we spend time with God is not so that we will feel invigorated and ready to face the day and get through our agenda; the reason we spend time with God is so that He can set the agenda.”
Sometimes we get that: we believe God is with us, guiding us. But when life gets busy, the burdens get heavy, the future is unclear and the past not very encouraging, we war in our souls.
Is your soul weary today? Trying to balance everything, keep all the chips in their place? Is loving your overall-healthy-but-currently-disappointing husband too much an ask?
Are you frustrated by God’s seeming quietness and distance? Is discouragement fighting to take place on your table?
My husband told me yesterday “God is always good. When it looks like He is not, the problem is me, not Him.”
We can look at these words as a harsh rebuke, or we can see them as a gentle beckoning, an invite into God’s presence.
This morning, I was reminded that often times God does not supply answers to our questions, He simply provides Himself. And the more we encounter His presence, the more we understand that His presence, which includes His guidance into the next step (for example, you might need therapy,) is all we need.
I pray His word lifts your heart today; “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing ” John 15: 5