Facing Discouragement as a True Friend of God
I don’t have a normal life. In fact…my life is incredibly crazy. I don’t usually like to write much about myself, but here’s just a little peek into our lives, as just a little bit of background for what I’ve been thinking about today.
We travel a lot, because of my husband’s family being a musical group. We go anywhere and everywhere we’re invited. And that leads to some pretty…interesting…experiences. You probably wouldn’t believe the crazies we see. People think that traveling and sharing the gospel and playing music must be so glamorous and exciting. WELL…it’s exciting because we’re doing it for the Lord, and we get to see real and lasting fruit from our labors. But…it’s not glamorous. We chuckled today as we recounted some of the places we’ve stayed — from squishing nine people into one dilapidated motel room, to camping in tents next to alligator-infested waters, to…well…basically, if you can dream it up, it’s probably happened to us…and then some. 😉 We also find ourselves presenting our shows in many different places, to many different crowds. Sometimes we’ve had a jam-packed full theater with four hundred people all riveted throughout the show. Other times, we’ve had churches, partially filled, but with people who had tears streaming down their faces by the end of the night because the Lord had so touched their hearts. And other times…well…other times, it can be downright discouraging. Like last night. We had a miscommunication with a newspaper that was supposed to run our concert ad for two weeks in a row, and it only got run one week……the day of the show. We had eight people come. In a large auditorium. Eight people is not a lot. In fact, it’s downright awkward in many ways. But we thanked God for those eight people, and did a show for them anyway. But afterwards, several of our family were feeling pretty discouraged. It’s times like these when you’ve given all your own money and time and lots of effort and sacrifice for what you think the Lord wanted you to do…and held on in faith till the last moment…and then, things don’t go the way you thought they should, that the devil slinks in and begins to fill your mind with doubts. Suddenly, you wonder…did you really hear from God?? Do you do the wrong thing? Did you not have enough faith? Should you even be serving the Lord at all? Maybe there’s someone else who is better qualified…someone who could actually have the success you had hoped for…maybe…maybe…
But as I pondered the night, the only thing that came to my mind, again and again was a quiet whisper of, “But…the Kingdom of Heaven is made of such as these.”
I paused…and pondered. Yes. It’s true. The Kingdom of Heaven is made of men and women who have given everything they had for Jesus…and many of them never saw any fruit for it. The Kingdom of Heaven is made of those who have laid down their very lives for Jesus, and never lived to see the salvation of many hundreds which has come from their sacrifice. The Kingdom of Heaven is made of those who have had many disappointments and those who have looked like complete failures to those looking on, for the sake of Christ…..and yet…..He looks down with the greatest love, tears pooling in His eyes, His heart overflowing with gratitude that He has found true friends; those who are willing to suffer with Him for the sake of some that might be rescued. It is not an unusual thing for the children of God to encounter trials…but we must press forward, and not lose heart. Trust…and obey.
So, may you be encouraged. Whether you are in ministry, or whether you think God may be leading you in that direction, or whether you are simply trying to be faithful in reaching out to those God puts in your path — yes, there will be difficulties, hardships, disappointments, and much testing of our faith…but the Kingdom of Heaven is made of such as these. God’s heart is so gladdened to have true friends, who love Him more than the comforts and success and acclaim of the world. Friends who are willing to suffer with Him. And God doesn’t say that if we have difficulties or what seems like failures we HAVE failed. He just asks us to be obedient, to not lose heart, and to press forward in what He has called us to do. We can trust Him, and entrust the fruit to Him. He will bring forth a harvest for all that we entrust to His care…for any fruit that springs up can only come by Him and through Him anyway. If you’ve ever tried making something happen in your own strength, you can attest to what I’m saying. 😉
Feel free to share what God has been teaching you lately in the comments, and what He has encouraged you with in the midst of your own difficulties and disappointments.