There are times in our lives where everything feels out of control. It is discouraging when it seems as though prayers go unanswered and those constant prayers become a nuisance even to yourself. It is easy for us, in our society and culture, to continue to look to ourselves or to others for encouragement. Society tells us that we are enough. That if our prayers aren't being answered immediately then there must be something wrong with our faith in God. It tells us that we have to help ourselves and to be all we can be by following 'these' steps. It tells us that we are 'self-made' and can turn a failure into a success. We are made to feel inadequate and are sometimes shamed for feeling down in the dumps.
I've been there.
There have been many times in my own life where I have felt like I have been asking God for the same thing over and over again. I bombarded Him with prayers, petitions and outright begging too. I felt pathetic when I resorted to begging. It didn't stop me, however, and when the answer was a definitive NO, I didn't take it to well...I mean who does? My life felt so completely out of control I didn't know what was up and what was down. I unfortunately spiraled out of control when it came to my relationship with God. I couldn't handle that loss of control. I am a planner. I like to have things a certain way. I like to be organized. I like to have my life in an order that I have decreed.
I never thought in a million years that the LORD would tell me NO.
We've grown up in a yes culture. We have everything at the touch of a button. Can I have a new pair of shoes? Yes, and we will deliver them to your door. Can I have a pizza? Yes, and we will deliver it to you hot and ready. Can I have someone else do my grocery shopping for me? Yes, and we will bring it out to your car and even load it for you. Can I have a burger? Yes, and you can have it anyway you want it. We like things done our way and there is nothing more thrilling than getting things exactly the way we want it.
We've all been there.
So what do we do when everything is upside down in our world? What do we do when life is out of control, laundry is chaos, kids are loud and obnoxious and you feel as though you could scream? What do you do when you want to move on to a new chapter in your life and the LORD doesn't seem to be answering your prayers in a time frame that YOU have given Him? What do you do when a job you want seems unattainable? What do you do when your finances are slowly draining away and you have no clue where the provision will come from? What do you do when your children seem to be taking a path you didn't raise them to take? Your house won't sell, your car breaks down, you realize your friends are fair weather friends, and everyone else around you seems to have the perfect life, spouse and kids?
Life is tough, but God is already there.
His Word encourages us. His Word is Truth. We find abundant Life in Jesus the living Word. He walked among us. He lived in a culture that would make us cringe today. He didn't have a home to call His own (Matthew 8:20). He didn't have His own transportation (Luke 19:30). He was taken out of His realm of comfort and tested beyond what we could endure (Matthew 4:1-11). The leaders of religion were literally after His life (John 11:45-57). His friend betrayed Him (Luke 22:48). His biggest supporter denied Him 3 times and ran away (Luke 22: 54-62). He was tortured beyond comprehension and finally gave His life up (Matthew 27:26-50). He was resurrected and defeated death (Luke 24) and in that we find our encouragement.
Our problems are fleeting in the face of God.
Those times in my life when things seemed out of control, they weren't, because God had His Hand on it. When I felt like His answer was No, it wasn't, its just that He had something better for me. When I felt like His timing was slow, it wasn't, I am just impatient. I found my encouragement in the life of Jesus. I found encouragement in the life of David (a man after God's own heart). I found my encouragement in the life of Job, the life of Moses, the life of Noah, the life of Abraham, and in the life of the Living Word. God's Word isn't some old ancient book that we can't relate to. The story of the skirmishes, battles, wars, betrayals, losing children, losing homes, living in temptation, and living in a culture that counteracts God's commandments. It is the story of human nature and all the depravity that can happen when you are not well connected to God. When I am feeling down and out of sorts I go to the Word. I go to Psalms and read about the goodness of God. I read there about His protection from the enemy. I read about His mercy and Gracious nature. His forgiving heart and His love for His children. What more could we ask for? His Truth should encourage us and give us a sense of rightness in this world.
Go where God has already been in scripture, and see that He is walking with you through your turmoil and discouragement.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
**So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. **