Friends, I am feeling discouraged. I am trying to write this thing called book, with what does not appear to be tremendous success. Getting feedback of average is making me feel average. It is making me feel as if I am a failure for God. It is making me feel as if my purpose, my calling, is now null and void.
Ever been there?
Ever thought you were doing okay only to greet
discouragement face-to-face through
circumstances, opinions or sudden obstacles?
Discouragement can be the detour to defeat if you’re not careful.
It happens when we let our progress become our identity. When feedback is what feeds us. When we see our reflection as a byproduct of work.
God is maker.
He is refiner.
The commander of hows, whens and whys.
Helper every time.
Rescuer to the drowning.
Hope to the inquirers.
The power to the least of these.
The strength in weakness.
Many times, what he is doing – in us –
is far more important than what we hope he does – through us.
For accolades, awards and acceptance speeches will fade, but adoration will last forever.
The world will wane and purity will reign.
What are we seeking? What are we believing in?
Take a look at the Israelites. For seven years, they got off track (which is also means they did “evil in the eyes of the Lord”), and landed in the hands of the Midianites (Judges 6:1). The Midianites were killers by nature; they killed the land, they killed the animals and they simply sucked out the the air of hope around the Israelites (Judges 6:4-5).
At this point, the Israelites could have said, “Let’s forget God, he has forgotten us.”
They could have said, “We have lost his love; he is not for us anymore.”
But instead, after 7 years, they said, “Lord, will you help us (Judges 6:6)?”
Deliverance appeared in the form of a prophet, but also as an angel to Gideon, saying, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” Judges 6:12
This line, this word from the angel, is what dead-stops my heart. It is what calls me to attention. It declares both power of God and his intent.
The defeated one is declared the mighty one.
The unsure one is made the warrior one.
We are the present day Israelites – wandering, waiting and wading the world – calling out “Lord, save us.”
I imagine, God looks at us, much in the same way and says, “Child, you have the riches of my everything. You have the fullness of the kingdom. Everything is at your disposal. Be mighty in me. Be warrior for my cause. Don’t let doubt make you think you’re being held for ransom. Keep your eyes on me and go where I go.”
These words. The power.
I am mighty warrior. You are mighty warrior.
Being mighty in God’s ways; it changes things. It brings new charge.
We have an opportunity when we drive down the detour of discouragement – we can see truth for truth. It often looks like a red and white sign that says, “WRONG WAY”. The only thing to do at that point is to turn around, call out to God saying, “Lord, save me” and to get on the right road again.
Then our drive becomes his drive. Lowly. Gentle. Humble.
His passion is our passion. Giving. Gracious. Generous.
Our great love makes his love shine more. Bright. Brilliant. Reliant.
It becomes less about us, but then, somehow, he gives everything to us. Daddy. Loving. Caring.
We try less, but God gives so much more.
We become more than we dream,
even though he is far more than our best dream can conceive.
That is called faith.
We become warriors, who march over our worrier.
We become mighty, serviced beyond marginal.
We become listeners, who don’t have to be controllers.
We become waiters, who trust in his perfect plan.
We become believers, rather than achievers.
We become lowly, seeing past pride.
We become passionate, delighting in the Kings will.
We become determined, keeping our eyes on our own Promised Land.
We know we are his, and already, we have all we need.