23 Feb Be Encouraged
Watching the news and reading headlines can sometimes be a thing that is definitely not for the faint of heart!
While it brings many positives, living a 24 hour media news cycle can also create a number of negatives as well:
-always feeling like you’re out of the loop
-always feeling like tragedy and crisis are in front of you
-feeling powerless to help anyone and everyone
-feeling angry, but not knowing how to direct your anger or who to feel angry at
-most discouraging of all, feeling cynical and hopeless
And that one, right there, is the great temptation of our modern society: the temptation towards cynicism…and therefore retreat.
I remember learning afresh after the last presidential election, with all the swirling emotions rippling throughout all kind of people groups, realizing that at some point, no matter what is going on around me in society, and no matter how much my heart, for whatever headline or reason, is tempted to fall into discouragement or apathy, I still am a person capable of making a choice.
A choice to not despair, a choice to not quit, a choice to not give up, and a choice, through the opportunity given to me by God and others to lead in a a meaningful way, to try to make some difference in the world.
Perhaps what has helped me most of all when I am tempted to despair is the very real, and highest truth that the story of the Bible tells me: That there is God who has a plan, and that He can use my choices to make a difference in the world.
I think of characters and stories in the Bible, especially the story of Ruth and Naomi, who were seemingly insignificant people in a time when there was widespread suffering and a trend towards godlessness in their culture (the time of the Judges).
Though in reality they were small, their choices still mattered, even in their pain- far more than they could have known or foreseen —- and God did something amazing and far reaching with their choice to continue to love one another and press into the love of the One True God.
My prayer for us, as we continue in the Story of The Bible this Sunday, is that what you would hear would press you towards that: towards trusting God more deeply and loving your neighbor more courageously.
If the trap of pride is to overestimate ourselves, the trap of cynicism is to underestimate ourselves. Let’s be people who believe God really can do great things through us, no matter our time or place in history.
Be encouraged: you and I, our situations really do matter to God.
And for what it’s worth, they matter to me. 🙂