Today was a typical Sunday, yet it wasn’t. We went to church, ate lunch at our favorite Little Rock restaurant, listened to the kids tell us all they were looking forward to in their upcoming week with school and friends, and activities.
It all seemed so normal, yet it wasn’t. Because every minute of this day, looming large in my mind, was the fact that tomorrow I would be undergoing my first chemo treatment for a very aggressive cancer that is trying to take me away from these precious Sundays.
Today was tough. I kept soaking in every normal second, knowing that the clock would continue ticking, and rather than winding down this weekend by checking backpacks and making Monday lunches and snuggling with my two favorite kids, I would instead be in the car. Again. Making the 7.5 hour trek to Houston. Again.
And this time when I get to Houston, seven very potent drugs will be injected into my body over a five hour period of time; a body who seldom has any more than an occasional Advil, and it’s mission will be to destroy the abnormal cells that are trying to destroy me, but in the process, will also destroy all the good cells that keep the rest of me healthy.
I was discouraged today.
But I kept reminding myself how blessed I was. I have an amazingly supportive family, a loving husband, a praying church, dozens of helpful friends, a top-notch medical team overseeing my treatment.
What was wrong with me?
And you know what? That’s okay. It happens. Even in the midst of God’s blessings, sometimes we get tired.
My little sister, Gena, sent me a timely email about her pastor’s recent message on Zerubbabel. Not a Biblical character I’ve ever thought about much, He’s not as interesting as Noah, David, or Moses. But Z knows a little about discouragement and the book of Haggai gives us the remedy for those days when, despite the blessings of God that are evident in our life, we still feel a little down.
In Haggai 2:21-23 God had spoken to Zerubbabel and called him to an opportunity. But here, at the end of the book, Zerubbabel was almost overwhelmed with hopelessness. He was discouraged. He was tired. He was just in a mood. As my teenage daughter and her friends would say, “Z was all up in his feelings.”
God knows our limits. He knows what we can handle. And when we can’t handle anymore, He gives us what we need; encouragement.
Zerubbabel got encouragement from the same place we get it; from the word of the Lord. Six times in those four verses God told Zerubbabel, “I will…”. God is in control. God has the final word.
Romans 10:17 tells us faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of God. Many times in the last two weeks I have been told that I seem to have a lot of faith. I guess maybe I do, but here’s why; you can’t have faith and fear at the same time. Fear isn’t going to heal me, so I choose faith.
Even so, sometimes discouragement sets in. It doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. It doesn’t mean I am less spiritual. It doesn’t mean God left me for a second to go give peace to someone else who needed it more. It just means I’m human.
He knew we would get this way sometimes. That’s why He left us His word. The remedy for discouragement is the word of the Lord. God uses His word to remind us that He is the one who give us strength, that He is sovereign, that He loves us, that He is our healer, that He is our provider.
It doesn’t matter what circumstance life has thrown at you that caused you to become discouraged, the remedy is the same; you can be encouraged by the word of the Lord.
You may not be battling an aggressive disease that is trying to take your life, but your need for encouragement is just as real as mine. You may have a family or relational conflict, a seemingly impossible to fix financial situation, a physical or mental burden that is making daily life difficult, or another trial that zaps your joy. The remedy for discouragement is the word of the Lord.
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
God is bigger than your discouragement. God is bigger than the issue that caused your discouragement.
Fill your mind with the word of the Lord. Read God’s word and commit it to memory. Listen to worship music and praise Him even when you don’t feel like it. Sometimes God uses His people to help you along and encourage you, and sometimes you’ve just got to do it yourself.
In I Samuel 30:6 David was bummed because the people wanted to kill him, but “David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”
Pull out your Bible, find a good worship album on iTunes — or on a CD if you’re old school — and you will find the remedy for your discouragement.
This song, rearranged from the old hymn, It is Well With My Soul, by Bethel Music, has helped calm my fears for tomorrow and brought me encouragement today.
Through it all, through it all
My eyes are on You
Through it all, through it all
It is well
Far be it from me to not believe
Even when my eyes can’t see
And this mountain that’s in front of me
Will be thrown into the midst of the sea
So let go my soul and trust in Him
The waves and the wind still know His name
It is well with my soul
I’m going to get through this.
The waves and the wind still know His name.