Pastors have written to me expressing their concern for parishioners who are giving up. “Good, honest Christians are so overwhelmed by guilt and condemnation that it causes despair. When they can’t live up to their own expectations, when they fall back into sin, they decide to give up.”Growing numbers of Christians are at the breaking point. Few Christians would even dare to entertain thoughts of quitting on their love for Jesus, but in despair they consider giving up on themselves.Some ministers today preach only a positive message. To hear them tell it, every Christian is getting instant answers to prayer and receiving miracles; everybody is feeling good, living well; and the whole world is bright and rosy. I like to hear that kind of preaching because I really desire all those good and healthy things for God’s people. But that is not the way things are for a great number of very honest, sincere Christians.No wonder our young people give up in defeat. They can’t live up to the image created by the religion of a carefree, rich, successful, always positive-thinking Christian. Their world is not that ideal; they live with heartbreak, hour-by-hour crises, and family problems.Paul talked about trouble: “We were pressed out of [burdened beyond] measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life” (2 Corinthians 1:8).Positive thinking will not make these problems go away, and “confessing” that these problems do not exist does not change a thing. What is the cure? Here are two absolutes that have brought me great comfort and help:God loves me. He is a loving Father wanting only to lift us out of our weakness.It is my faith that pleases Him most. He wants me to trust Him.“I will love thee, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:1-3).
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
Love that encouragement. I read this this week, too: Lamentations 3 English Standard Version (ESV)3 I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath;2 he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light;3 surely against me he turns his hand again and again the whole day long.4 He has made my flesh and my skin waste away; he has broken my bones;5 he has besieged and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation;6 he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago.7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape; he has made my chains heavy;8 though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer;9 he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones; he has made my paths crooked.10 He is a bear lying in wait for me, a lion in hiding;11 he turned aside my steps and tore me to pieces; he has made me desolate;12 he bent his bow and set me as a target for his arrow.13 He drove into my kidneys the arrows of his quiver;14 I have become the laughingstock of all peoples, the object of their taunts all day long.15 He has filled me with bitterness; he has sated me with wormwood.16 He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes;17 my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness[a] is;18 so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.”19 Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall!20 My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[b] his mercies never come to an end;23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.”25 The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.26 It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.27 It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth.28 Let him sit alone in silence when it is laid on him;29 let him put his mouth in the dust— there may yet be hope;30 let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.31 For the Lord will not cast off forever,32 but, though he cause grief, he will have compassion according to the abundance of his steadfast love;33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men....
Thank you Greg for posting this.