For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
If you actually look at what’s going on in the world, it’s hard to feel encouraged. Given the standards of the United States of America and what it costs to live here, we’re in economic turmoil. We have a crisis going on. And in so many other places in the world, things are a lot worse. At least here in the US you can go to a drinking fountain and get fresh water. And just drink. If you needed to, you could probably go into some restaurant bathroom and take toilet water in a cup and drink it. It would still be good. It would take care of you. It wouldn’t give you a disease.
It’s so discouraging to realize that there are so many people in the world that can’t even get good drinking water. You know? I definitely see that there are real issues with poverty in America. I definitely see that, and I want to help.I don’t forget that I was born here for a reason. But at the same time, I see a lot of suffering everywhere. So sometimes, it’s hard for me to feel encouraged.
It’s not like the scriptures aren’t encouraging. The Bible is full of encouragement! It’s just that sometimes it’s so hard to agree with them. I mean, I’m encouraged by who I am. I’m encouraged in who my family is. My family is healthy, my son is awesome, my two boys are going to be great, and God has taken care of us. I don’t have a hard time sleeping at night, wondering who’s going to pay the bills. I don’t have that issue. So I’m encouraged that way.
But I also have a heart for the people. I don’t want to be self-absorbed in just me and my family.
Christians are lovers of humanity. That’s who we are supposed to be. We’re supposed to help one another. We’re even supposed to love our enemies! But it’s really hard sometimes to love your enemies, when you see what they are doing to people around the world. So how do we help and love one another, even our enemies, and how do we do it well? How do we do it without judgment or condemnation?
Sometimes I think, “God, that’s impossible for me. For You it’s possible, but for me it’s not.” And yet He reminds me. He tells me, “You know, with Me all things are possible. So if you have Me in your life, yeah. You can do it. For someone who is not a believer in Me, or who is not led by my Spirit, it’s impossible to love their enemies. But for you? You are to show that it is possible. You are to show that your joy does not come from what you can see, but from what you cannot see.”
My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:2-3)
Be encouraged. People everywhere in the faith are going through these same things. And you need to be encouraged that God is at work. When you start looking at the world through scripture, through the eyes of Jesus, you feel the joy of what you cannot see. And you will be encouraged.