A Note from Chris- November 16, 2023

“I’m just so discouraged.”
That was the sentence that opened the conversation with my pastor friend. Things were going ok at his church. His family was good. His health was fine. But to him, it felt like all the efforts for the gospel were falling short. He went on to summarize for me the things that really were weighing him down. He said things like:
Take a look at the world; it’s falling apart. The hate is so prevalent everywhere. The war in Israel just puts a spotlight on the brokenness that is this world.
Take a look at our nation; we are more divided than ever, facing mounting problems and concerns. Wokeness is running wild, and human decency seems to be fading.
Take a look around; depression, divorce, addiction, self-harm, pain, abandonment....the list goes on. People are really hurting. It is overwhelming, and seems like we are losing ground, not taking new ground.
Take a look at home; everything is more expensive. It’s harder than ever to raise kids. Just look at all the negative influences they have these days. Marriage is stressful, too.
Take a look at me; I used to be so happy, but now I pretty often feel overwhelmed and not good enough. I used to be optimistic, but after all of this, I don’t know if I’m really that hopeful anymore.
Can you relate at all? If we aren’t careful, we can easily start thinking that these and many other factors are THE factors. But friends, they are not. These are what the apostle Paul refers to as “light and momentary troubles.” He said our problems:
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (2 Corinthians 4:17)
It doesn’t mean our troubles aren’t bad or hard; quite the contrary. The very definition of a trouble is that it drags us down, causes us pain, or hurts us deeply means that in view of eternity, they really don’t hold much weight. Against the power of Jesus, they cannot stand tall and last long. Paul understood troubles more than most. And yet, he said they are “achieving for us an eternal glory.” There is something much, much bigger happening than the things that tend to weigh us down each day.
If we aren’t careful to keep everything in light of eternity, it will be easy to let it really get to us and stall us in our tracks. Even many of the things we do that are good can become wearisome. Who isn’t tired of parenting over and over and over again on the same things? Who doesn’t grow tired of trying to make more progress at work that constantly stalls out or have a conversation with a One about Jesus that goes nowhere? The natural flow of life can be discouraging and draining. That is why Paul said elsewhere:
Galatians 6:9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
That isn’t a pep talk like, “Just keep swimming!” No, it’s a life mission sort of statement. The harvest is coming, and the blessing will be there. Don’t let the burdens and frustrations knock you off course or cause you to grow tired of all that is good. Stay on track, and later see the blessing of God.

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