How to get overwhelmed and discouraged

housebuildThe phone call delivered some disturbing news, a situation over which I have little control, yet for which I am held responsible. In that moment, I sinned!  Angry words spilled over from my frustration. Like an animal that was cornered, I snarled and snapped.  As I settled into a sullen mood, the Spirit of God ministered grace and conviction. “Jerry, why won’t  you trust Me? Why won’t you accept my invitation to present your need to Me and seek My wisdom?”   “Yes, Lord,” I prayed, “I’ve done it again.” And then I took the situation to Him in prayer.  A subtle conceit can find us, no matter what kind of service we perform, the very moment we begin to feel even a little bit competent.  We think that we can handle it, that we can produce results, and – then turn life upside down. Instead of serving God, we think that God should serve us.

Ben Patterson, sharing authentically and transparently about his journey of faith and ministry, tells about a time when his conceit was revealed to him.

  • “For 6 weeks I was totally out of commission. During that time I crossed a frontier in my prayer life… toward the end of my convalescence, I had a conversation with the Lord that went something like this: ‘These times of prayer have been sweet. I’ve actually had time to pray for every single person in this congregation, every day. It’s too bad I won’t have time to do this when I get back to work.’ The Lord’s reply was quick and blunt. ‘Stupid, you have the same 24 hours when you’re well as when you are sick. The trouble with you, Ben, is that when you’re well, you think you’re in charge; when you’re sick you know you’re not.’ ”

If we forget to serve with submission to the will of our Father, we risk becoming burnt out, ill-tempered, and ineffective. We might blame God for asking too much of us, but He never does.  In truth, He has every resource we need for every day, strength to match each challenge. He will not ask too much of me, but so often I fail to ask enough of Him!  Where pride rules ugly things happen.

In Psalm 127:1-2 teaches us about trust. The passage calls us to complete dependence with the reminder of the limits of our skill and effort.
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;
Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, o eat the bread of sorrows;
For so He gives His beloved sleep
. ( NKJV)

Whatever callings and gifts we may have, they are of little use and less effect apart from the grace and power of God!  

 God called Moses, a failed prince and fugitive murderer, while he was living in exile, tending a flock of sheep. The LORD told him to go back to Egypt and to prepare the people to return to the Promised Land. It was a tough assignment!  How would he inspire a people enslaved by a powerful nation to leave behind the lives they had formed for centuries in the land of Egypt? Creating a new vision for a nation is a daunting challenge!  How would he get the Pharaoh to let the people go? There was no earthly reason for the king to release his work force! Moses focuses on himself at first, seeing only his inadequacy. Then hands himself the Lord, asking a question that intrigues me: “Who should I tell these people has sent me? What’s your Name?” The LORD reveals His majesty saying, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ (Exodus 3:14, NKJV) The Self-Existent One, The One Without First Cause, commissioned Moses.

We are in the service of the great ‘I AM.’ We must not forget that. Oh, yes, He asks much of us; our very lives! He requires that we use the gifts He’s given to us diligently, and that we press on to do His work and His will. BUT, He doesn’t not leave us without resources, orphaned, or desperate. Jesus promised to be with us, by the Spirit, “day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20, The Message)

Are you snarling, snapping, complaining, and whining about life? Are you, in fact, telling God that He is asking too much of you?  Let’s repent, turning our eyes from ourselves to Him.

Here is a word from the Word. Live the promise.  “Three different times I begged the Lord to take it (Paul’s weakness) away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-10, NLT)

____________

CAST MY CARES

When fear feels bigger than my faith
And struggles steal my breath away
When my back’s pressed up against the wall
With the weight of my worries stacked up tall
You’re strong enough to hold it all

 I will cast my cares on You
You’re the anchor of my hope
The only one who’s in control
I will cast my cares on You
I’ll trade the troubles of this world
For Your peace inside my soul

 This war’s not what I would’ve chosen
But You see the future no one knows yet
And there’s still good when I can’t
See the working of Your hands
You’re holding it all

 I will cast my cares on You
You’re the anchor of my hope
The only one who’s in control
I will cast my cares on You
I’ll trade the troubles of this world
For Your peace inside my soul

 I’m finding there’s freedom
When I lay it all on Your shoulders

 Cast my cares
I will
Cast my cares
I will
Cast my cares on You

Publishing: © 2014 Universal Music – Brentwood Benson Publishing (ASCAP) / Songs Of Emack (ASCAP).

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