I got up early as usual, told myself God loves me and started my day. I wasn’t feeling top notch and didn’t know exactly what was bothering me: upcoming doctor appointment? No. Looking for a new work project? No. I went through a list of things that could possibly be bringing me down, but there was nothing specific. I just was feeling somewhat deflated, discouraged and sad.
Over the weekend I saw a snippet of the news announcing, “682,000 discouraged workers stopped looking in January.” That’s just what our adversary wants us to do to do—get so discouraged we just give up.
But it’s not going to work.
I started off by telling myself Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord hath made; I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I also told myself, “I’m going to have a great day.” I had to say it three times before I even partially believed it. I felt like just crawling back into bed, but instead I just started doing things. I went outside, swept the patio, did some paperwork for my taxes, cooked some vegetables for my best friend, and I started to feel better.
We all get disappointed and discouraged at times and sometimes want to indulge in a bit of self-pity over one thing or another. It’s just human nature. We get tired of always fighting and working and fighting and working and it just gets us down sometimes.
Jesus’ disciples had the same problem.
Jesus took them to the Mount of Olives just before his crucifixion. He told them to pray while he went off a little ways to pray by himself. But when he “rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow” (Luke 22:45).
That’s just how I felt. Midway through the day it was still heavy and I just didn’t want to do anything but take a long nap and escape the blues.
But Jesus “said unto them, Why sleep ye? Rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation” (vs.46). And isn’t that just so true? If we stay in our “poor me, I just want to sleep” state we’re much more likely to fall into deeper temptations that get harder and harder to escape. Satan is definitely looking for that. “Your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
A great example of someone who let the “poor me” temptation escalate into years of sorrow was the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda. He’d been coming down to the pool to get his healing for years on end. Jesus asked him, “Do you want to become well? Are you really in earnest about getting well?” (John 5:6). The man didn’t even just say yes. Instead he answered by blaming other people, saying it was their fault he wasn’t healed.
It’s easy to blame others for our lack of joy, health and happiness. But Jesus told the crippled man he had to take forward action himself. “Jesus saith unto him, Rise, take up thy bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked” (vs.8-9).
When there’s no one around to lift us up out of our slump, we have to do it ourselves with God’s word. And because God already knew we’d have some problems with this, He put lots of scriptures throughout the Bible to help us. I call them cures for the blues.
Hebrews 12:12 is a good one: “Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet.”
And 1 Timothy 1:6-7 says, “Stir up the gift of God, which is in thee. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
Isaiah 61:3 tells us the Lord gives us “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” But we’re the ones who have to put it on. When we’re feeling burdened, the last thing we want to do is get up, go to the closet and put on something bright and happy. But I’ll never forget the words of Rose Marie, a secretary I once met. I complimented her on how pretty she looked one day. She replied, “I always try to look my best when I feel my worst.” Great advice.
Nothing really spectacular happened during the day but I just kept moving and at the end of the day God gave me a great reward:
Jane and I were coming home from doing some errands and a young couple, Mayra and her husband (20 and 21 years old) were walking down the street. Several months ago it was raining and I gave Mayra a ride to her job over at Circus Circus. We had a great talk about Jesus and she told me her husband was starting to believe in Jesus too. She said they didn’t have a car anymore and were going to move across country to live with her dad and go to school.
And here they were today, walking down the street (God’s perfect timing) with two big suitcases, a guitar and their little dog in a pink carrying case. I waited for them to get to our driveway and asked, “Are you leaving now?” She answered, “Yes.”
“To the airport?” I asked. “How are you going to get there?” She looked at the ground and barely whispered, “We don’t know exactly.” Jane instantly spoke up, “We’ll give you a ride. Just wait a minute and we’ll be right back.”
We went inside, gathered some snacks into a bag and came back out. Mayra started to wipe the tears from her eyes, as she clutched the snack bag. I hugged her and told her we were happy to give them a ride. She said, “Nobody is this nice after only meeting someone one time.” They didn’t have a car so they were used to walking, but ten miles to the airport? That’s crazy!
We were so blessed to be able to help them start their new life. Then on the way home I got a text message thanking me for some help I gave another friend. God gave me a really spectacular and rewarding end to a day that started out sad and discouraging. I’m so thankful for His Word and His love.
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