(“On the day I called, you answered me;
my strength of soul you increased.”
Psalm 138:3, ESV)
For long stretches of time, life can roll along quite satisfactorily. The kids are healthy and doing well in school. Bills are paid on time. The house and cars are holding together with no major repairs required.
And then suddenly, we hit a stone wall. The promotion goes to someone else. The company requires a move across the country. An addiction is disclosed. A life-threatening prognosis is delivered.
Pow. We’re broadsided by disappointment, fear, and pain.
For a few moments we’re frozen in disbelief.
And that’s to be expected. These are normal reactions.
What we want to avoid is parking at the stone wall, allowing it to consume our thoughts and prohibit forward movement.
That’s much easier said than done, right? That wall of trouble looms over us–thick, tall, and menacing. It’s not like we want to meditate on it; the ugly thing demands attention.
But, oh, praise God, he can tear down walls! (Remember Jericho?)
(“Your ways, O God, are holy.
What god is so great as our God?
You are the God who performs miracles;
You display your power among the peoples.”
We can also defy the enemy who built the wall. Satan, the father of all strife (1 John 5:19), is the one with whom we must battle.
How? There are a number of worthy tactics, but let’s focus on three:
- Put on Christ and be strengthened (Romans 13:14). He is our:
- Protector against discouragement and hopelessness (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
- Loving Shepherd who cares for his sheep (John 10:14-15).
- Lord of peace (John 14:27).
- Man of sorrows, well-acquainted with grief himself, therefore understanding (Isaiah 53:3).
- Great Physician of souls as well as bodies (2 Corinthians 5:17; John 3:2).
- Wonderful, all-wise Counselor, ready to provide wisdom to all who ask (Isaiah 9:6; James 1:5).
- Sing or recite scripture and be revived (Psalm 119:25b).
Start writing down every verse that applies to your situation, and read through them frequently. Fellow blogger, Bev Rihtarchik (over at Walking Well with God) chooses one meaningful verse, and copies it on a slip of paper to carry in her pocket. When worry comes to call, out comes the verse—truth, in black and white. Now there’s a surefire way to boost our faith!
- Count your blessings and be encouraged.
Yes, it’s an old cliché, but naming God’s benefits is soothing balm to the soul.
Several years ago, I struggled through a particularly challenging year, giving me the opportunity to practice the disciplines of forgiveness, perseverance, renewing the mind, and more.
I continued to keep my blessings journal, more eager than ever to notice the evidence of God at work around me.
On December 31, I tallied the entries. Imagine my astonishment to count twenty more than any other year to that point, and I’d been keeping that journal over twenty-five years.
God had indeed been at work. but if I not been recording the evidence, I surely would have missed the generous extent of his blessing.
* * * * * * * * * *
Oh, how I praise you, Heavenly Father, that you are in control. I can move on from that stone wall–strengthened by you, led by you, and encouraged by you. Help me to see the unseen steps ahead as an adventure with you, and fill my heart with your hope. You are my Rock whose works are perfect; all your ways are just. You are a faithful God who does no wrong (Deuteronomy 32:4). I cannot praise you enough!
How do you fight the battle against discouragement, fear, and hurt? Please share with us in the comment section below!