Friday, July 26, 2013

A Word of Encouragement

We live in a world that can be pretty inhospitable at times. One of Jesus' least popular promises was that "in this world you will have trouble." Isn't that the truth? Some days can really wear on you.

I have been feeling tired and a little run down lately, as the pace has been hectic. This is, of course, largely self-inflicted as I tend to take on more than I can chew. Add to the physical wear and tear the emotional baggage we pick up along the way, the inevitable people problems and the occasional speeding ticket and we can start to feel like things are in a bit of a tailspin. What can we do when it begins to feel like the wheels are coming off?

One of the best pieces of advice I can give is this, when things aren't looking good to you, change your perspective. When life is dragging you down, look up. I have found this to be one of the most helpful things that I can do.

The Psalmist David, no stranger to difficult times, wrote in Psalm 121: "I lift up my eyes to the mountains — where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth." Have you ever stopped and thought about the God who is revealed in Scripture? As David states, God is the maker of heaven and earth. Genesis 1:1 simply begins with the four words "In the beginning, God..." It's a simple statement of fact, a declaration, if you like.

Before anything was, there was God, eternal, the uncreated Creator of all that we see.  David Coppedge writes that "astronomers estimate that there are as many galaxies outside the Milky Way as there are stars in it. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, taken in 2004, imaged 10,000 galaxies in a cone of space so slim you could cover it with a grain of sand held at arm's length. Integrated over the entire sky, that would mean there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the visible universe, many with more than 100 billion stars each. According to Psalm 147:4, God calls them all by name."

Yet this God, the God who also formulated the intricacies of human DNA, is concerned with you. He sees every sparrow that falls, and he sees everything we are going through as well. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." 

I find that it always helps, in the middle of whatever mess I have created or have had dropped in my life, to ask the very important question, where is God in all of this? If you don't see him in your picture, you need to invite him in. Jesus said in John 10:10 that "the thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

This doesn't necessarily mean that all of your problems may be solved - it may actually be quite the opposite. But what it will mean is that your main and foremost issue will be resolved - that of your relationship with the God who loves you. His answer to the pain and the suffering on this planet was to enter into our experience and suffer with us. He triumphed over death and the grave, defeating the adversary we couldn't handle on our own. He said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." 

What has God done for you? He has given you Himself. He has given you his presence. For those who trust in him, he has guaranteed their future. God loves you, yes you! Warts and all. He loves you in spite of your failings and even in spite of your outright disobedience. Some of you just need to sit back and let that soak in for a while. GOD LOVES YOU! Love him back. As Michael Green said, "Jesus did not come to make bad people good, but to make dead men live."

Related Articles:
Where Is God When You Need Him?
“Put God First” - The Principle of Priority
If God Is Good, How Could This Happen?
Book Review: "What Good Is God?"
Book Review: "The Me I Want To Be"

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