Encouragement on the Hardest Days

Encouragement on the Hardest Days

Originally published in Be Still Magazine, issue 10. You know that feeling when your heart literally hurts inside your chest? Life happens, and sometimes, it hurts. So you take deep breaths to try to release it, but no form of meditation or deep breathing exercise seems to release the grip that anxiety holds behind the breastbone. If you could reach deep inside and give the heart a tender massage it might respond and relax, but other than that, it just feels painful. What do we do in these seasons of struggle? Do we press on and hope for brighter days? Do we hold on until we can't hold any longer? Do we struggle through thinking like the little engine that could? I think I can. I think I can. My recent season of life has been filled with unexpected, heavy things like loss, and pain, and even suffering. I could give you a verse from the Bible and leave it there, trying to prove that God's Word is more powerful than all this stuff we face in life. But God's power is so much more powerful than a token verse. It's the road map for everyday life. Through the Bible, God is so much more than we can imagine. His Word is so powerful and so clear when it comes to suffering. When the Bible says, "Casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you" (I Peter 5:7), Peter is giving us the literal formula for success when it comes to suffering. Here is a quick look at the encouragement and instruction from the Bible when it comes to suffering. DG-instas-July03-3
  1. Get dressed in humility.

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you (1 Peter 5:5-6).

  1. Throw your burdens down like you mean it!

Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

  1. Get ready for the next attack from the enemy.

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8).

  1. Resist the devil and stand firm in your faith even through the suffering.

Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world (1 Peter 5:9).

DG-instas-July03-1 The result:

And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you (1 Peter 5:10).

The hope we gain from this passage is that suffering is for a season.

And the result is always the samerestoration, confirmation, strength, and stability. When we abide in Christ through the storm, we can be sure we will come out stronger from it. No matter how broken your heart feels or how high the mountain ahead seems, God tells us how to get through. So go ahead, humble yourself and let go of those heavy, heart-wrenching burdens. They were never meant for you to carry alone. Let Jesus do the heavy lifting and live in the assurance that this suffering will pass. What kind of suffering is this season bringing you right now? What kind of suffering has Jesus carried you through? Don't be silent. Tell someone so they know where to turn in their struggle. Can we really cast all our anxiety? Yes! And God's Word gives us the road map to breakthrough. DG-instas-July03-2
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