Being Encouraged, While Discouraged

Being Encouraged, While Discouraged

Some may argue that its either one or the other… “you can’t be encouraged while discouraged!” Well, I disagree! You can be loosing weight, while being overweight. You can be building wealth by saving, while still being poor. You can be encouraged, while in the midst of discouraging circumstances!

For those who suffer from any type of physical adversity, it’s easy to become discouraged as the struggles of the day, turn into weeks, months and years. For others, their challenge may be in knowing, that there’s no present cure, no hope of ever being restored to perfect health… not until we’re called home to be with our LORD. In such circumstances, it’s possible to be encouraged, while in the midst of discouraging circumstances.

From a plethora of personal beliefs and many a misguided theological interpretations, there are those who will proclaim that,  “A persons physical adversities are a direct result of some hidden sin in their life.” Job knew all to well of this! For he, being a righteous man before God and in being tested, was mercilessly accused by his three friends. Make no mistake, physical afflictions of every type; all sickness and death are a result of sin. Adam’s sin! From the garden to the grave… Adam is responsible! We can’t undo the consequences from what transpired in the garden. However, we can find hope in knowing that not all of life’s illnesses, physical infirmities and struggles come to us as some sort of sadistic punishment from our loving and merciful Father. By no means! Oh, we mind discover ourselves to be in the midst of being disciplined or perhaps being significantly tested… but it always is permitted or caused by the love of the Father for our good and His glory!

What’s more, we can find the greatest of comfort and encouragement, knowing that Christ Jesus, our Advocate and High Priest, makes continual intercession on our behalf, as one, who knows firsthand the sufferings, pain and anguish in life. So much so, that his very soul was near the point of death. His sweat became like drops of blood and had God the Father not interceded by sending an angel to strengthen him, Christ would have died in Gethsemane.

So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. NLT

 How eloquent are the words of Dorothy L. Sayers for us to consider:

“For whatever reason God chose to make man as he is— limited and suffering and subject to sorrows and death—He had the honesty and the courage to take His own medicine. Whatever game He is playing with His creation, He has kept His own rules and played fair. He can exact nothing from man that He has not exacted from Himself. He has Himself gone through the whole of human experience, from the trivial irritations of family life and the cramping restrictions of hard work and lack of money to the worst horrors of pain and humiliation, defeat, despair and death.” [1]

Being encouraged, while discouraged… take heart my brothers and sisters. We’re not alone! God allows us to suffer and to become weak, in order for Him to be our strength. He permits us to be tested, in order to grow us to become spiritually mature. He might even allow us to be faced with enduring a permanent physical disability, in order that we will greater sympathize with others.

Hebrews 4:14-16 so clearly proclaims, that our Father in heaven, our Lord Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit can far more than empathize with us, they sympathize with us! God, in the Incarnation, in coming to earth, entered the world full of suffering and sickness, pain and persecution, not as a curious spectator, rather as a committed Savior.

Our Father in heaven, may we find encouragement in knowing that nothing escapes you. You know every aspect of our individual lives… right down to the number of hairs upon our head. The Satan seeks to destroy our faith, our trust in you, our hope in you and our love for you… May you O LORD, be our strength, our shield, our refuge and our hope! In the name of Christ Jesus, Amen!

[1] Dorothy L. Sayers, Creed or Chaos ? (New York, Harcourt Brace, 1949) p.4