We all experience exhausting seasons that are overwhelming, challenging, and discouraging, but boy oh boy, 2020 has been a year like few others I’ve experienced in my 52 years! How about you?
The year kicked off with Australian bushfires that burned nearly 46 million acres, and has included a worldwide pandemic, toilet paper shortages, riots across the nation, a derecho that pummeled Iowa and the Midwest, not to mention political unrest, a contentious presidential election, and wildfires burning across the west coast … to name just a few. Thankfully, the threat of murder hornets that arrived in Washington state earlier in the year seems to have fizzled. Whew!
School closures, mask mandates, devastation to the economy, restrictions on businesses, and obstacles to churches being able to open continue having an impact on families and communities.
In countless interactions—in person and online—it’s obvious people are weary. Discouragement, frustration, fear, anger, and worry are pervasive. It’s easy to lose heart in such trying times. While chatting online with a friend this week, fatigue and weariness were evident. I was honored to be able to encourage and pray for her.
Aren’t you thankful for friendships where you can share openly without judgment, to have a safe space to process things together, and to pray for one another? I know I sure am!
Don’t Lose Heart
The phrase “Don’t lose heart” came to mind as I chatted with this sweet friend today. To lose heart means to become discouraged; to stop believing that you can succeed. On the flip side, to take heart means to be encouraged and to feel optimistic.
Something has been stirring in my spirit over the past few weeks. I feel inexplicably excited, expectant, and invigorated in spite of all of the chaos and difficulty that surrounds us. Here is a portion of what poured out today as I chatted with my friend online. I pray it is an encouragement to you, and you find strength, vitality, and JOY as you lean into God!
A Word of Encouragement
These difficult, painful, confusing days are a good opportunity to remind ourselves what we know to be true about God and His promises. Time spent in the Word is invaluable. We may not be able to change the madness around us, but we can take action that will calm to the storm inside of us and bring peace to our troubled hearts and minds. The key is to put our trust in God and keep our eyes fixed on Him.
You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. – Isaiah 26:3
The battle belongs to the Lord. He is faithful, reliable, and constant. He never wavers, falters, or fails. We do our part—whatever He has called each of us to do. He brings the increase. He brings the victory. He IS our victory. As believers, we are not fighting for victory, we are fighting from a place of victory. We are the righteousness of God, seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. The enemy is already defeated.
I believe we are seeing a growing remnant of faithful believers rise up with a courageous zeal for the Lord, igniting a fire of faith that will sweep our nation and the world. Take heart, friends! The Lord is at work.
I’ve discovered an incomprehensible place of rest by understanding that whatever chaos and evil we see around us, we have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony. We are overcomers, and we can rejoice—even now!
As we fix our eyes on Jesus, we find rest and peace. We find joy! It doesn’t mean things are all sunshine and rainbows, perfect, or easy. Life can be hard and we do experience pain. In this life, we will have tribulation. But, as we lift our eyes, focusing on Him and His great love for us, the turbulence around us becomes less noisy, less consequential. The distractions of the enemy become a minor nuisance in light of eternity and the hope we have in Jesus.
A Prayer from Ephesians
I am praying for you, friends. You are deeply loved by the Creator of the universe! He has called you and equipped you for this time in history. I pray for rest to your weary heart and mind, peace to flood your soul, and abundant joy.
This prayer from Ephesians 1:17-19 is a favorite of mine. I encourage you to memorize it and remind yourself often of God’s great love for you and the hope we have because of Him.
Father, I ask that you would give to me the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You; that the eyes of my understanding would be enlightened; that I might know what is the hope of your calling; what are the riches of your inheritance in the saints; and what is the exceeding greatness of Your power toward me who believes.
Whatever you’re facing today, I pray that you find courage and strength as you take heart. I pray that you find comfort and peace in the presence of our faithful Savior.
What gives you hope in difficult seasons?
Do you have a favorite Bible verse or passage that comforts and encourages you?