Manifesting Jesus in My Struggles

I was looking through some old writings and I came across this, "I confess that today I am discouraged. There are some circumstances in life that have led me to being discouraged. I have spoken to the Lord numerous times in my somewhat overwhelming grief, crying out to Him. I need help to stay in the day as it is said. My mind keeps going to the future and the new problems that await me. I know God is sovereign and He is already aware of these things, and has the answers. But I don't know them yet, and I am struggling mightily.

I imagine that David had some conversations like this one, "I was awake at dawn, unhappily so, because I just want to sleep it all away. My fear is that I am just "done" and that is that. I am so so so very weary and....just want to be done with this all. I know all the stuff about thankfulness and I have much to be thankful for but at the moment it is all just blah blah blah in my ears. I am not there. I am struggling to maintain. I am in the valley of despair at the moment and I trust that I will climb to the valley of vision again- but not in this moment. Every fiber in my body aches with sorrow and despair. I, at the moment, just want to give up, surrender and let it all take me away."

Have you been there? If so, you are not alone in discouragement today. I know WE are not alone in struggling with discouragement as God has graciously given us many Psalms to read that record the discouragement of David and others.

One thing I have noticed about the Psalms, those that begin on a discouraging note don't stay there. There are a few exceptions, but by and large the Psalms that begin down in the dumps conclude with the Psalmist soaring over his troubles and rejoicing. In between the dumps and the soaring is a whole lot of truth. So following the pattern of the wise men of the Old Testament, you and I have to go back to the basics and preach truth to ourselves.

As out of control and discouraging as your life may appear, God is in complete control of the situation. The truth is that God is fully aware of your circumstances. Nothing that is happening is catching Him by surprise because He has the long view. He knows the end from the beginning (Isa. 46:10) and He says that what He intends will be accomplished as a result of this time.

There is no need to fret and be anxious about anything because God intends to use your trials for your good and the good of all those involved. That good may not be what you think it will be...but we can be sure it will be what He has determined it to be. The good that God promises to bring about is that you will be conformed to His image. You will learn more about Him and in some way you will be more like him, imagine that!

So what do you do in the meantime? You have to realize that sometimes there is nothing practical you can do about any of it, there's nothing for you to change. This can be most frustrating and add to the discouragement because most people are action oriented and long to fix things.

You must pray for the willingness to focus on Him instead of your circumstances. When you get your eyes off of the situation and begin to ask God to help you to glorify Him in the midst of the discouragement the clouds of gray will lift. Pray God will strengthen your heart with faith for continued testing that you might glorify Him as you go through your own valley of discouragement. 

There are times I am still tired and weary... but I am reminded of Paul's words:

...we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

Is the life of Jesus being manifested in you as you struggle? You and I can soar as David and Paul did in the midst of their trials. When David had no personal reason to praise God because his circumstances remained bleak he praised God for being GOD! He praised Him for being wonderful, gracious, kind, loving, merciful, patient, generous, worthy, mighty, glorious and every other attribute he could think of! Paul praised Him for Jesus Christ, salvation, redemption, forgiveness, justification, reconciliation, sanctification, and eternal glory with Him!

As you and I apply these same remedies to our lives we will experience the same shift in heart and mind that these two giants of the faith did. We will manifest Christ and live in the truth despite our circumstances. 

As I close today I have this urge to ask you if you feel better as though that is what it is all about, but it is not. It is about Him and our Holy Spirit given ability to praise Him in the midst of difficulties and trials, it is about bringing Him glory and honor in all things!