The old joke goes like this: I was down in the dumps when a friend told me, “Cheer up things could be worse.” So I cheered up and sure enough, things got worse.
That old joke seems to be the pattern of my life lately. I've always been blessed with relatively good health, but of late I've had one thing after another to the degree that I haven’t had more than two or three “good” days in a row for the past month and a half. It seems that as I am beginning to regain my strength, something else, sets me back. My occupation for the next week or so will be going to doctors to seek answers as to what is or is not going on. While I have hope for a clean bill of health, there are still the fears that come from the uncertainty of it all. Add to this the stress that comes through ministry and just normal household life, I find myself as in a hole I cannot get out of.
Now some of you may be thinking that I really have nothing to complain about compared to what you are going through and you may be right. But my problems are mine and the discouragement I feel is mine as well. Comparing my situation to one that is worse does not make things seem better. Well wishers give advice that I just need to “suck it up, and keep going.” In addition as a Christian who is a pastor, I’m not supposed to feel as I do, but I do.
So far it probably seems I have been ranting or at least complaining, but God has been teaching me a lesson he has been teaching me for years—one lesson with several refresher courses, and that is that it is not until I am at the end of my rope that I finally turn things over to Him.
I received two verses today that reminded me of God’s faithfulness. The first is Isaiah 26:6: “Thou wilt keep Him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee, because He trusts in Thee.” The second is Isaiah 40:31: They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.” These words are sweet to this one who is wearied both physically and mentally. But how do I trust when all seems to be going wrong and there are no guarantees that things will get better? I then remember that even faith is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). I find myself praying the prayer of the father of the demon possessed son: “I believe, help Thou my unbelief."
I read today in a sermon by a respected Bible teacher how that the Christian life is a matter of believing God’s promises and walking in them. This particular preacher makes a list of these promises to be in store when going through difficult times. I plan to do the same, but not just for future events but for the present hole I am in, a hole I cannot get out of on my own. O Lord help me keep my mind stayed on Thee.