I called a friend the other day, just to inquire about something. Nothing major. And yet, what I heard in her voice was discouragement. She sounded unhappy. And although we didn't address it, she remained in my thoughts. Later I prayed for her. And as I prayed, I couldn't help but think of all the others I know who also seem sad, or worried, or simply down and out. That is what inspired this post.
My heart is burdened for you tonight. I'm hurting for you.
Knowing that you are discouraged and weary concerns me, and I wish I could take the troubles away somehow. I truly wish that I could wash away the pain and throw away the struggles. The problem is that even if I could, the troubles will somehow always make their way back to you. To me.
In fact, Jesus said, "in this world, you will have troubles."
And the issue I'm addressing is not one about facing traumatic events or massive heartaches. The trouble I'm referring to comes to us on a daily basis in very subtle ways.
I think about my friends and the burdens they bear. I'll tell you about my friend Carla. She's not actually someone I know. It's just the name I'll use to represent someone in trouble tonight. She's got a smile on her face, as she makes her way through the doors of the workplace. But when she's home alone at night, all she can do is cry her cares into the pillow. The only calls she gets are reminders of the payments due... the rent is due, the electricity will be shut off in a day or two.
Then there's Sandra. She laughs and jokes, but making her drive home seems like punishment, as she has to face the unbearable silence of being alone. No one is home. No one calls. She's all alone.
Mary seems so bright and strong. Yet, nobody takes notice of what she's dealing with on the inside. Worries, anxieties. She rushes into her day, putting her best foot forward. But it isn't easy to raise a child on her own. Everything depends on her. She takes the morning train, with her young child in hand, trying to make it to the baby sitter's just in time; before she misses the bus that will lead her to another long day of work. Work that she's not even enjoying. There's no time to socialize, when at the end of the day, she makes her long way back to her child and home... hoping she's got the strength to do it all again the next day.
And then there's Marcy. She uses television and the Internet to numb the pain she feels on a daily basis. She feels lost and confused, and is not even sure why. The media fills her mind with all sorts of mixed messages. And yet, they all claim that Marcy's got to do better. She's got to change. She's not good enough as she is. And so the overwhelming feeling of knowing that "every one's watching", stops her dead in her tracks and keeps her from wanting to do anything at all. She's depressed.
Lastly, there's Miriam. Miriam is a mother of three. She is a stay at home mom. She cares for the home and does some things here and there to find some entertainment in life. However, Miriam feels tired and unappreciated. She complains to the walls of her dust-free house. No one else will listen. Or so it seems.
I know I said lastly, but I mustn't leave out Mike. Mike is the man who stands behind you in the checkout line. Mike seems so well put together. He seems strong and just right, as he carries the bags to the car. But Mike carries a secret that only he can hide. His wife's unaware, but he's lusting for another, and he continues to live a lie. Mike is soon to make a decision that will forever change his family's life.
These are names of people that are struggling to make it through this life.
The sad thing is that most of them, do not even realize they are in trouble. They just go through the motions of each day, coping, breathing this thing that we call life. All the while, they are being deceived by the one who's prime goal is to keep us from true joy and fulfillment in life.
And he does an excellent job at keeping us busy enough to notice his schemes. He keeps us so distracted by what seems like the "normality" of our lives, that we seldom stop to wonder, "how'd I get here?"
However, when we do stop to think about it. And when we do inquire. When we acknowledge that we are in trouble. When we call it for what it is...
Lastly, when we look to God for help, our enemy begins to loosen the bonds he's got us in.
You see, when we begin to focus and narrow our vision unto the One who's brought us here, we begin to find purpose and hope. When we take our eyes off of the self-absorbing, self-condemning "issues", when we let our burdens and cares down before a God who truly cares, when we surrender our troubles, our worries, and self-doubts. When we admit we've been wrong... it's an amazing thing that begins to take place. We begin to see God's love freeing us from what was indeed Satan's subtle deception ultimately leading us to death.
And we are no longer "in trouble", but we are conquerors instead. We are free to live and free to love others, who are in need as well.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
Discouragement brings us down. And it always seems to be just one step away. Yet, be reminded today of the One who's on your side. The One who will see you through, simply because He loves you.