Don’t be discouraged
I’ll be honest with you- things haven’t been so good between me and God lately. He’s seemed pretty absent, so I haven’t really bothered with Him either. That might seem a pretty bleak tale, but I promise there’s a much happier ending. Let me tell you why…
First off, I know I’m not alone in this, no matter how few Christians would confess to going through a period of God seeming ‘hidden’. I find the beginning of Psalm 13 particularly encouraging:
How long, LORD? Will you forget me for ever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me? (Psalm 13:1-2, NIV)
It’s not just me, and it’s not just you- we all go through periods when God seems absent to us. What personal experiences do you have of God feeling hidden?
Secondly, I know that God’s hands have been at work in my life before- when I was homesick during my first year of University and I looked to God for comfort; when people responded with immense generosity as I fundraised for a trip; when I was offered my dream job!
Despite all of the times God has shown up in our lives, we still become so easily discouraged. I feel a bit like the Israelites who, after being freed from slavery and the awful regime of the Pharaoh, stand in the desert and doubt that God will provide them with food. Yet what does God do? He shows up, saying ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you.’ (Exodus 16:4). When we look back at what God has evidently done in our lives, we should be encouraged! Looking back, what has God done in your life that you are thankful for?
Finally, like the Psalmist, I am going to choose to be expectant of what God can and will do. Psalm 13 ends with:
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise,
for he has been good to me. (Psalm 13:5-6, NIV)
God has been good to me- sometimes it’s useful to look back and be thankful, to help us look forward and be expectant.
Will you, too, choose to be expectant of what God will do in your life?