Life can be hard and, at times we can feel very alone. During these times we find ourselves in need of comfort and encouragement. We might go to friends, to relatives, even to people we barely know to find it. In our desperation for resolution to our stresses, we might even turn to things of destruction like drugs and alcohol, sex, gambling, or a myriad of other man-made devices that fail to meet our long-term needs.
It’s during these times when we most need encouragement that the devil whispers in our ears because he knows that at these times we are at our most vulnerable. He will twist the truth, highlight the mistakes and attempt to keep us discouraged with his lies. But take heart, he has no power past what we give him.
When the devil brings up your past, bring up his future. He has nothing to look forward to but everlasting torment whereas we have everything to look forward to, a future of love we could never fathom and peace we could never imagine full of God’s unending grace and mercy.
Because of God’s promise of forgiveness, we are encouraged to keep our eyes set like flint on what is to come, and we have no need to look back at what God has already pardoned. Our encouragement comes in the knowledge that God has already prepared a place for us and nothing the devil whispers in our ears can change that.
God encourages us by His Word as a reminder that nothing is so great that it can separate us from Him. He is the same God who reminded Joshua to, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9). He is the same God who reminds us that, “(We) can do all things through Him who strengthens (us)” (Philippians 4:13). He is the same God who David said of, “I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 28:7).
In those times when we need to be encouraged, it is good to remind ourselves that, “God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy 1:7). Through faith, the Spirit of God works in our hearts to help us overcome our momentary setbacks as he moves us toward better things. Of course, this takes surrender on our part which can be hard when we’re grasping for anything that will bring us relief.
When adversity is most ready to strike us, God is most ready to strengthen us. He waits for our invitation to come to our rescue (not that He is limited to our request or only acts when we call). Not wanting to force our alligence, He longs for a willing heart to come to Him in those times when we need His encouragement. He has given us His Word so that His Words of encouragement are available to us whenever we need them. He knows that in this broken world of sin we will need Him to help us endure and He promises you His constant guidance.
The song of ascents in Psalm 121 paints a beautiful picture of encouragement and hope saying:
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come?
2 My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.
In those times when you need encouragement, may you turn to the source of hope who promises to guide your path. When the devil tries to beat you down, don’t permit him to remind you of what God has already forgotten. Find your encouragement in the God of fulfilled promises and unending love and serve Him by encouraging others during their times of trial with the same message He gives you through His Spirit. All we need is Christ. It is He who has won for us the right to be encouraged for what is to come. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for all You have done to encourage us even when it seems the world is against us. Keep us steadfast in our faith that your forgiveness is eternal and your love for us is forever true. Amen.