The pressure is on. We wonder if we're going to make it through the day, week, month or year. Our thoughts are consumed by anxiety, which paralyses us from making the next move. We are afraid, irritated, discouraged and weary. Instead of happy times, we feel like we're in a wilderness. How many of us have been there? How many of us are there right now? If you answered yes to any of these two questions, this word of encouragement might be for you.
This is a word that encouraged me during a difficult season of my life, and I want to share it with you. Bestselling and award winning author Dr. Velma Bagby wrote about her wilderness experiences in her book A Place Called Down - Why Christians Suffer. A down place brings suffering and difficulty akin to a dry and barren land or a place of lack, where we can feel alone and misunderstood. We are tested in our down places. The pressure of the test can feel overwhelming and unbearable at times.
But in her book, she shared two critical truths: (1) Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit was led into a down place to be tested (see Luke 4:1-2), not coerced or tricked, and (2) Jesus was set on doing His Father's will during His down place.
"Our Savior met His down place with commitment, dignity and honor, and a desire to do what the Father had destined for Him. He had us in mind the entire time, a people who would have remained lost if He did not complete His task. Wow! Please Lord, help us to have the same mind toward our down place, to focus on Your leading us there and not anyone who may push us in that direction."
What Do We Do?
I marveled at Jesus' approach to His down place - not only in the wilderness, but multiple down places throughout his life on earth. No matter what was happening, He trusted His Heavenly Father to lead Him and He remained committed to doing His Father's will. This is the example we are given to follow. This is what God is calling us to do.
A Final Word
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." Hebrews 12:1-3, NIV, emphasis added
Be encouraged my friends.
Project Manager and Managing Editor, VBD Magazine