If I could write anything to encourage you, what would it be?
I was thinking about that question this morning, because I have heard from so many of you who are going through or have gone through some really difficult things.
Just this past month, I’ve received weary emails and weepy phone calls from you because of the hardships of life:
Grief and Loss.
Sometimes, life is hard. Sometimes, the odds seem insurmountable.
As I was thinking of what I could write to encourage you, only one thing came to mind. Truth. God’s Truth. Because there is nothing I could say or offer that is more powerful than the life-giving words of God Himself. Words that speak to me in hard times. Words that lift me up. Words that I can count on because they come from a God who has never failed- and He never will.
Lately, I’ve been meditating on the version of the bible called “The Message”. It’s been so good for me to read God’s truth from a different lens and language. I decided to write out the following verses from the Message. I challenge you to go through them with your usual bible in hand, and meditate on the familiar, but also, soak in the relevance of modern day language. God is speaking to you. And He knows what you need to hear.
Hopefully, these words will be FOR YOU as much as they have been FOR ME.
Why are you down in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues?
Fix my eyes on God— soon I’ll be praising again. He puts a smile on my face. He’s my God.
God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, courageous in seastorm and earthquake, Before the rush and roar of oceans, the tremors that shift mountains.
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.
Is anyone crying for help? God is listening, ready to rescue you.
God, the one and only— I’ll wait as long as he says.
Everything I need comes from him, so why not?
He’s solid rock under my feet, breathing room for my soul,
An impregnable castle: I’m set for life.
2 Corinthians 12:9
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Why would you ever complain, O Jacob, or, whine, Israel, saying,
“God has lost track of me.He doesn’t care what happens to me”?
Don’t you know anything? Haven’t you been listening?
God doesn’t come and go. God lasts. He’s Creator of all you can see or imagine.
He doesn’t get tired out, doesn’t pause to catch his breath.
And he knows everything, inside and out.
He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts.
For even young people tire and drop out, young folk in their prime stumble and fall.
But those who wait upon God get fresh strength.
They spread their wings and soar like eagles,
They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church!
Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations!
Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.
Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!
“Don’t be afraid, I’ve redeemed you. I’ve called your name. You’re mine.
When you’re in over your head, I’ll be there with you. When you’re in rough waters, you will not go down. When you’re between a rock and a hard place,
it won’t be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That’s how much you mean to me!
That’s how much I love you!
I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.”
Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
1 Peter 5:7
So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.
And don’t for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you’ll get where you’re going; then you’ll succeed. Haven’t I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take.”
In this world you will have trouble, but remember, He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) May God fill you up with everything you need, today.
All my love, Deb
What is your favorite verse in hard times?
Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, speaker, and author of the book True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. You may also recognize her voice from her 100+ articles at Relevant Magazine or Crosswalk.com! She’s also the creator of this True Love Dates Blog! Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter!