50 But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished! (Luke 12)
Have you, dear reader been hard pressed from every direction till you are asking, “what is this all about?”? You pray and ask God to reduce the heat and instead of becoming less it seems to increase? That is the place I have found myself in the last couple of months. This last week, I found some encouragement from some two different bloggers I follow, not in the words they wrote, but rather in what they communicated about their lives in the posts.
1. Pray for Me.
The first blogger is a dear saint who teaches through his site in a very Christ centered way. I have benefited immensely from what he writes there, but in this particular case, he was asking that his site followers pray for him and went ahead to share what he was going through. The first thing that went through my mind when I read that request was how real and authentic this brother was. It felt like I could relate with what he was going through and he could relate to what I he was going through. He had over 100 attempts at tackling his mountain and it had not budged. Wow, I thought that mine were many, but I was not sure I had reached that number!!
2. I have a minor depression
The second blogger is also another wonderful brother who has an obvious gift in encouraging the brethren in this journey of faith. His post this time came in the form of confession admitting that he has a form of depression which at first felt strange. It is only after I read through the post and the comments of other readers that I realized the issue is more prevalent among believers than I thought. I personally have not experienced depression, but then that also is not verifiable since I have not gone for a test like the brother had done. Who knows, maybe some of the emotional downs I have experienced could have been depression? I think how this post encouraged me was in seeing such a gifted brother admit his human weaknesses, something we see less and less in the superstar culture which has infiltrated the Christian community.
“ 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2Cor 12)
In addition to these two cases I highlight above, I have been reminded of the great apostle to the gentiles, Paul, formerly Saul. He shares of how he had a thorn in the flesh, something that he desired so much that it be taken away from Him and he so much pleaded with God that it be removed but it wasn’t. Instead, the LORD answered him by making him know that His grace is sufficient. I can witness that there is a tendency to deepen our dependency on God in times of extreme difficulty; I think it is as we reach our end that we know God’s dealings with us. The assurance is however there, that regardless of the circumstances, God’s end view is always for our good, for , “..all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Rom 8:28)
“…resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” (1Peter 5:9)
In this era of internet, we have opportunities to interact with other brethren from corners of the world we may never get opportunity to step on physically. This is of tremendous advantage in the fact that we can share with each other what God is revealing in and through us, but we have to be careful not to share knowledge apart from experience. I have come to appreciate more and more that the life in the message of Christ is enjoyed experientially.
Whatever your current circumstance dear sister/brother, may the fact that your brethren are in the same boat be of encouragement to you and ultimately the fact that our Father,
“…can be trusted not to allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. On the contrary, along with the temptation he will also provide the way out, so that you will be able to endure.” (1Cor 10:13.)
Before I sign off, I should mention that the brother in the first instance later thanked his readers as he started getting answers to the prayers.