Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Encouragement, Endurance, Patience

Gloomy, bummed out, despairing, moody, sad, melancholy. Not very encouraging words, are they? Well no, of course they're not and they're not supposed to be. These are a small collection of words that can often quite accurately describe the feelings we all have from time to time.

There are a million and one reasons we all get like this at times, and tomorrow there will be a million and two reasons. It seems like every day, the world we live in just feels a little more dismal, a little more hopeless, a little more senseless and a little more depraved. All it really takes to see it, is a quick headline scan of the local paper or any online news site. I saw a t-shirt the other day that said "hey, where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?" Funny, but not funny at all, at the same time. Where the world and the morality of the world is headed, is grievous and depraved, and it just gets worse all the time.

Add to this, the variety of complex relationships we're all in (parent/child, spouses, friends, co-workers, etc.) that can at times be so stressful and demanding that sometimes you just feel a sort of sensory overload, and/or even feel like the biggest loser on the planet. Maybe you had a disagreement with your child or spouse, or maybe your best friend got upset with you for something, or maybe your boss is being a dictatorial tyrant. Maybe they all happen on the same day and then someone else comes along with an unkind, thoughtless word and makes you just feel about . <-- that small, and find the temptation to crawl under a rock, very alluring. For a lot of women anyway, those are the days where the tears flow at the drop of a hat, and it can be hard to stay focused on much of anything.

It's a safe bet to say, we've all been there (and will all be there again, since it is unavoidable in life to skip past the hard things). Someone reading this might even be there right now, and wondering when this season of despair will pass.

It no longer 'surprises' me when I'm going through something specific, and the Lord sends someone along to cross my path, that addresses the very thing I'm feeling, or dealing with. It could be something incredibly private that I haven't shared with anyone but the Lord in prayer, and the next day I might hear a radio program that addresses that very specific issue. While it no longer surprises me, it also doesn't go unnoticed. God is ever-faithful to meet the needs of His people, and He does it in lots of different ways. This very thing has happened several times now, over just the last few days. It's nothing short of incredible how God will even at times, send someone along that uses the very same words you just used in prayer, to address your situation (and they don't even know you have a situation). It's amazing to literally see the hand of God actively working in your life, for your good.

So, that was all just a really long intro to something that I believe will really bless you. My friend (and I'm honored to call him that) Dr. James White has posted several pastoral youtube videos in recent days, that I would like to share with you. Life and life events can be truly painful and difficult at times, but there is hope, and there is comfort.

Encouragement, Endurance, Patience (Part 1)
Just some thoughts about living faithfully as a Christian during difficult times. Continued in part 2.
Encouragement, Endurance, Patience (Part 2)

On Tragedy and the Comfort that Comes from God The tragedy in the life of Steven Curtis Chapman reminds us all of how precious life is, and that God has a purpose in suffering.

On Tragedy and the Comfort that Comes from God Part 2 Continuation of part 1

I hope that you will not only watch those, but let the message minister to your heart and encourage you. (It sure did that for me.)

Great Christian t-shirts and gift ideas for the whole family