Staying Encouraged During Discouraging Times
As we continue to receive daily updates from national and state governmental officials, there is an obvious attempt to frame the narrative to minimize panic. Yet, the very content of the messaging is often dismal. With the leaders of New York and Louisiana expressing a dire need for relief to their systems and with the nation’s top infectious disease expert predicting an exorbitant number of expected loss of human life before this crisis is over; it’s quite difficult to see the light when the news is often dark.
Saints, I want to remind you that the information that we receive from these reports is shared that we may not be un-informed. The purpose of the copious amounts of detail is not necessarily to instill fear but to urge everyone to use sound judgement in actions concerning our behavior. As believers, we have a mandate to seek Godly wisdom in all things. Wisdom and knowledge are not meant to harm us but rather to save our lives. For the Word of God clearly states that it is when we are without wisdom and knowledge that we perish. (Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.)
Therefore, the question remains - with all the information that has been shared, how do we balance the reality of uncertainty with the hope for the future? We do so by putting our trust in the one who knows our future. Jeremiah 29:11 states, “I know the plans I have for you…plans to give you HOPE and a FUTURE. (paraphrased)” Our hope is not in the data or the statistics or the information. Remember, knowledge has a purpose; that we might be informed and might move in wisdom. But our hope remains in the Lord. Isaiah 40: 31 states: “Those who hope (trust) in the Lord will renew their (or gain new) strength.” This text encourages us that as we continually place our hope in the Lord, as we continue to trust God and operate in wisdom, He will continually give us new (fresh) strength.
The remaining words in this text gives a description of the degree of strength that we can trust God for - A strength that causes us to “run and not grow weary, walk and not faint”. This is the strength that will allow us to keep pressing forward with hope rather than feeling the paralyzing pause of discouragement.
Encouragement does not stem from a good report verses a bad report. Encouragement comes from trusting that regardless of the report, God still loves us and He will strengthen us when our hope is in Him.
Encouragement is not predicated on the uncertainty of the future or the reality of the statistics, but encouragement is based on the certainty of the sustaining power and sovereignty of God even in the midst of crisis.
Staying encouraged during discouraging times may not always be easy, quite frankly, it sounds a little cliché. But I believe and I declare that if we simply allow the reports / information to serve its purpose and if we will choose to keep our hope in God, then He will give us peace (and encouragement) that surpasses our understanding – even in discouraging times.