I woke up last Monday feeling discouraged and drained. Another week was beginning, and I just wasn’t sure that I had enough energy to start it. As I thought about the week ahead, I felt irritated. The things that I do on a weekly basis suddenly seemed fruitless. I put hours into preparing material for my girl’s Bible study with little response from the girls. I work almost every day, so I have very little energy or willpower to get anything else done during the week. It seemed as if my life is just going in circles with no outcome, and I felt like a failure. Frustrated, I opened my journal and began to write out a prayer to God:
Monday, June 18, 2018
God, this morning I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m failing to communicate your truth in my girl’s group, on my blog, at work, and in life in general. How to I get through to people about your love for them? . . . I want to communicate well for your honor and glory, but nothing seems to work.
What else was there to say? I felt as if God called me to serve Him and then left me in the dust. Out of duty, I opened my Bible to read my daily chapter, ending up in Hebrews 11. I wanted answers, and there, right in the chapter that I happened to be on that day, the answers glared up at me from the page. God heard my prayer, as self-focused as it was, and willingly responded.
In the ESV Bible, Hebrews 11 is entitled “By Faith.” The chapter begins by explaining what faith is (v.1) and why it is important (v.6). It then goes on to give examples of people of faith, such as Abraham, Sarah, Moses, and Joseph. There were a few things that all of these people had in common: 1) they lived with an eternal focus (v.14), and 2) they continued to serve God even though they all died before they saw the fruits of their faith (v.13). Reading this chapter, I realized that I had been approaching ministry with the wrong attitude. Once again, I was trying to take the weight of serving God on my own shoulders. Of course I felt like a failure–I was failing to rely on the strength of God and I failed to focus on my eternal hope and reward. Serving God without remembering the reasons behind it will always leave us feeling discouraged and drained. We need to serve while looking to the reward, which will be in heaven.
My God is faithful and compassionate, always by my side even when I fail to acknowledge His presence. By simply opening His Word a few times this week, He encouraged me to “not become weary in doing good” (Gal. 6:9). He knows exactly what we are each struggling with and draws us to the perfect passage from His Word to hear from Him about our struggles. When you feel discouraged, ask God to encourage you, and open His Word to hear His answer. He will always come through.
“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should no be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:39-40, ESV).