It is the current battle cry of many that “we are a mess.” This leads us to identify ourselves by our suffering, rather than seeing our suffering as something we experience, and something that God will be with us though. The victim mentality is not new, it has plagued mankind since the Fall, we see it in all its ugliness in the life of Lamech in Genesis 4; or in the battle cry of the author (not Solomon) of Ecclesiastes who asks us to join him in despair because life sucks. Peter wrote his epistles to remind them of truths already known, and refine their understanding–so here I offer a little reminder of some timeless unchanging truths.
Bear with me in this meandering ‘stream of consciousness’ post.
What if our battle cry were more hopeful, rooted in His Word, His love, His Truth, His strength, His continuous presence in our lives? What if our battle cry were found in 2 Corinthians 4? That we are afflicted, but not crushed; perplexed but not despairing; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed. Remember, this is said by Paul, who one chapter earlier describes a time when he despaired even of life. He knows the God of all comfort, and does not reject His comfort.
What if our battle cry helped us stop gazing at our despair, and shift our gaze upon the One who is Love, who Himself was a man of sorrows, and who knows our frame, knows our despair, and Who alone knows how to help? He will not extinguish the dimly burning wick.
If we are to rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep, then we must not attempt to live in a world of only weeping, only lament, only despair. There is a time for weeping, but also for healing and restoring and remembering and listening to Hope (see Ezekiel 37!).
Why so downcast oh my soul? Hope in God! Brothers, sisters, help me hope! Together, let us hope in God, let us encourage one another, and rejoice in all things–knowing that He is with us in these circumstances, He is still Sovereign, and will not let anyone trudge alone into despair, He will pull us up and remain ever present. He is Head of the Body, we are that Body, together. We, we together as the corporate Body, redeemed to enjoy stability of faith.
This world is fallen, but by faith we abide, we overcome, and we look for the city that is to come. We rejoice not because our days are hard, not because the world hates us, not because our bodies are failing, not because we are blind to what is currently happening all around us. And we are not rejoicing because we do not care. Rather, we care deeply–and we trust that He cares even more.
We rejoice in His unchanging goodness, we set our minds (and in these times must be more intentionally about doing so) on things of the Spirit, on things that are pure, beautiful, worthy of praise, honorable, etc; we let His peace rule in our hearts, we thereby remain sober in spirit, we pray, we sing, we rejoice, we await His return eagerly. We cry out with the Spirit “Abba! Father!” and “Come, Lord Jesus!”
He holds us, fills us, empowers us, refreshes us, and we are drawn into His glory, His fellowship, His stability, His good discipline. He has given us the Spirit, we will walk, together, in the Spirit. We are children of the Light, let us walk in the Light. “For God who said ‘Light shall shine in the darkness’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ!”
What does your discipline look like? How can you make a fresh start? A mustard seed of faith is enough, beloved. Look to Jesus, learn from Him, take His yoke and walk with Him. Do not neglect His Word while you seek to “hear from God” for He has spoken, and His Spirit will guide you into this truth–abide in His Word. And let us gather together under His Word.
photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash