Encouragement for Every Season

Psalm 139:1-12

One of the most distressing emotions is the bleak sense of isolation caused by a difficult situation or experience. This is especially true when a loved one has died or you find yourself in the middle of a severe trial that can’t be solved quickly. Though the planet keeps on spinning, your world seems to have stopped and you begin to wonder, “Lord, where are You?”

In Psalm 139, David reminds us that we do not journey through this life alone. Our loving heavenly Father is and has been with each believer every single day. He’s more than a traveling companion—He keeps His mighty hand on us and surrounds us with protective love (Psalm 139:5). Nothing comes our way without His knowledge. And He gives His children the grace not only to endure but also to grow more like Jesus through the experience.

God promises to be with you in all seasons of life, whether joyful or sorrowful (Heb. 13:5). No matter how dark, depressing, or hopeless the situation may seem, your faithful Father is with you because His love never fails (Rom. 8:31-39). Furthermore, He knows every facet of your situation and is working it out for both your good and His glory (Rom. 8:28). Besides having the power to meet any need, He also has surpassing comfort for every hurt (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Dark valleys may blind us at the moment, but to our Shepherd, the night is as bright as the day. We can trust Him to bring us out of the shadows and into His light. In the meantime, we must cling to the truth of His Word, which assures us of His lovingkindness and compassion.



God’s Faithfulness

1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

Ever since the heavenly Father created time, everything has been in flux—everything, that is, except God Himself. The environment changes with the seasons, and in a similar way, our life also goes through seasons. Some are filled with joy, while others are characterized by difficulty. But the Lord is faithful, and we can always take comfort in knowing this.

Faithfulness is one of God’s unchanging attributes. It means that He always does exactly what He says He will do and acts in accordance with His nature. He can never deny Himself, so when He promises to “sanctify you entirely” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), you can count on Him to make you more like Christ—even using the painful seasons of life to do so.

God’s unchanging nature and faithfulness are the foundation of our hope. Because He won’t change His mind about our salvation, we have the assurance of eternal security. Since He is the sovereign Ruler of the universe, we never have to fear that our world is out of His control. His plans were formed long ago with perfect faithfulness (Isa. 25:1), and no one can frustrate them or turn back His hand (Isa. 14:27).

Because God is faithful, we can have peace of mind in any circumstance—even in the face of death. Although we will change with time and the seasons of life will come and go, our faithful God is always the same. Since we belong to Him through Christ, He will never forget, neglect, or abandon us. He has promised to preserve us “complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and He will do it.



When We Feel Helpless

Psalm 119:145-160

We love movies that capture our attention with tales of people who are trapped, helpless, and frantically looking for a way of escape. However, this is not something we want in real life. Yet when it happens, we immediately start looking for the way out and beg God for rescue through physical healing, changed circumstances, or additional provision.

Have you ever considered that spiritual rescue is even more important than physical deliverance? Although Jesus has freed us from the penalty and power of sin, there are times when we feel helpless in the face of sinful habits, emotions, rash words, and ungodly thoughts. That’s when we need to follow the example of the psalmist and cry out to God for spiritual rescue.

Admit your helplessness to God. In yourself, you have no power to overcome sin. But God’s Spirit within you is almighty.

Confess any sins, fears, unbelief, or self-reliance. Surrender all further attempts to change by self-effort, and make no provision for sinful desires.

Turn your gaze toward God. Think about who He is, what He desires, and what He has promised.

Fill your mind and heart with God’s Word. Meditate on it. Ask Him for wisdom and strength to follow Him with reliance on and submission to His Spirit.

Trust God, and wait upon Him to change you from the inside out. Although salvation occurs in a moment, sanctification is a lifelong process.

A time will eventually come when the helpless feeling departs and is replaced by the joy of obedience. When that happens, give God the glory.



Wounds and Scars

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Scripture is a verse containing much emotion: “From the city men groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out” (Job 24:12).

The scene is a busy metropolis. Speed. Movement. Noise. Rows of buildings. All that is obvious, easily seen and heard by the city dweller.

But there is more. Behind and beneath the loud splash of human activity there are invisible aches. Job calls them “groans.” That’s a good word. The Hebrew term enlarges it as it suggests that this groan comes from one who has been wounded. Perhaps that’s the reason Job adds the next line in poetic form, “the souls of the wounded cry out.” In that line, “wounded” comes from a term that means “pierced.” But he is not referring to a physical stabbing, for it is “the soul” that is crying out.

You may be “groaning” because you have been misunderstood or treated unfairly. The wound is deep because the blow came from one whom you trusted and respected. It’s possible that hurt was brought on by someone’s stabbing remark. People are saying things that simply are not true, but to step in and set the record straight would be unwise or inappropriate. So you stay quiet . . . and bleed. Perhaps a comment was made only in passing, but it pierced you deeply.

Others of you are living with the memories of past sins or failures. Although you have confessed and forsaken those ugly, bitter days, the wound stays red and tender. You wonder if it will ever heal. Although it is unknown to others, you live in the fear of being found out . . . and rejected.

Tucked away in a quiet corner of every life are wounds and scars. If they were not there, we would need no Physician. Nor would we need one another.

Hast thou no wound? . . .
No wound, no scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And, pierced are the feet that follow Me;
But thine are whole: can he have followed far
Who has no wound nor scar? (Amy Carmichael)

Only the Great Physician can turn our ugly wound into a scar of beauty.



Solving Problems Through Prayer

2 Chronicles 20:1-32

Problems are an inevitable part of life whether a person is saved or not. The difference is that once a man or woman becomes a believer, the Father strengthens His child to face every difficulty.

Our omniscient and omnipotent God is greater than any problem. He knows our future circumstances and equips our heart and mind to withstand the coming trial. The moment we encounter a problem, we can turn to His omnipotence. He promised to meet believers’ needs and, therefore, is under His own divine obligation to give guidance and direction. Our first response should always be to call out “Father!” and pray. Immediately, two things take place: The problem’s growth is stunted, and God’s child is reminded of the unique position given those who trust in the sovereign Lord.

God always provides when we face problems. However, that doesn’t mean we should be sitting back and waiting for Him to work out the details. His provision may require an act of faith from us in order to reach a resolution. Experience and Scripture tell us that His solutions are always best, but human strength may falter when we hear what He asks of us in response to our prayers. Thankfully, He also offers the courage to act at the right moment.

Long before a crisis arises or a solution is needed, a wise believer will be seeking God in prayer. In trouble-free times, we can build a foundation of trust and communion with Him that can withstand any hardship. Problems are unavoidable, but as we seek our Father in prayer, He is faithful to deal with our difficulties.



Our Ultimate Hooray

What gives a widow courage as she stands beside a fresh grave? What is the ultimate hope of the handicapped, the abused, the burn victim? What is the final answer to pain, mourning, senility, insanity, terminal diseases, sudden calamities, and fatal accidents?

The answer to each of these questions is the same: the hope of bodily resurrection.

We draw strength from this single truth almost every day of our lives—more than we realize. It becomes the mental glue that holds our otherwise shattered thoughts together. Impossible though it may be for us to understand the details of how God is going to pull it off, we hang our hopes on fragile, threadlike thoughts that say, “Someday, He will make it right,” and “Thank God, all this will change,” and “When we’re with Him, we shall be like Him.”

More than a few times a year I look into red, swollen eyes and remind the despairing and the grieving that “there’s a land that is fairer than day” where, as John promised in the Revelation, “He shall wipe away every tear . . . there shall no longer be any death . . . any mourning or crying or pain . . . there shall no longer be any curse . . . any night . . . because the Lord God shall illumine them; and they shall reign forever and ever” (21:4; 22:3, 5). Hooray for such wondrous hope!

Just imagine . . . those who are physically disabled today will one day leap in ecstatic joy. Those who spend their lives absorbed in total darkness will see every color in the spectrum of light. In fact, the very first face they will see will be the One who gives them sight!

There’s nothing like the hope of resurrection to lift the agonizing spirits of the heavyhearted. But how can we know for sure, some may ask. What gives us such assurance, such unshakable confidence? Those questions have the same answer: the fact of Christ’s resurrection.

Because He has been raised, we too shall rise! No wonder we get so excited every Easter! No wonder we hold nothing back as we smile and sing and celebrate His miraculous resurrection from the grave!

Jesus Himself promised: “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies” (John 11:25).

Easter is a double-barreled celebration: His triumphant hurrah over agony and our ultimate hooray of ecstasy.



Going Home

Revelation 21:1-21

The longer we live as Christians, the more we should feel like strangers in this world. Something within us recognizes that we’re outsiders here, and we yearn for that day when Jesus opens the door of heaven and welcomes us home. Although everything that God has prepared for us is beyond our comprehension, John helps us catch a glimpse by describing the contrast between what we know in this world and what it will be like in heaven.

God will dwell among us. Throughout history, no human being could see God, but that barrier won’t remain, because sin will be eradicated in us. Since we will be completely righteous forever, we will no longer have to continually fight off unholy urges.

Sin’s consequences will pass away. All the suffering that has afflicted us will end. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, or pain. That is when we will discover firsthand the truth of Psalm 16:11: “In Your presence is fullness of joy; in Your right hand there are pleasures forever.”

Our new home will be glorious. Jesus assured His disciples He was going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). The location is the New Jerusalem, and since it’s a cube 1,500 miles on a side (Revelation 21:16), there’ll be plenty of room for every believer. That remarkable place radiates the brilliance of God’s glory like a large multi-faceted diamond—John compared its beauty to a bride who’s adorned for her husband on their wedding day.

Fix a mental image of John’s description in your mind. In those moments when this life disappoints you, remember that you’re not home yet.



Standing In The Storm

Psalm 62:1-8

“What am I going to do?” How many times have we all uttered this cry of despair? Sometimes the storms of life come without letup; they seem endless, successively crashing against us until we feel as though we can’t take any more. In those times of desperation, Psalm 62 offers three valuable lessons.

First, we must wait. It’s understandable that we want answers and relief immediately, but the Lord acts in His own perfect time, and He’s never late. Therefore, we must wait for Him to guide us to the next step—even when that means resisting our natural desire to react quickly and take control of circumstances.

Second, we must wait in silence. When we quiet our mind and tongue, we give God an opportunity to speak His words of hope and trust to our heart. Instead of letting anxiety and worry occupy our thoughts, we must focus on God’s promises from Scripture. Then He will give us patience, trust, courage, and the assurance that He cares and is in control.

Third, we must keep in mind the motivation for this waiting—God’s intervention. Our focus is to be on the Lord, not on our troubles, ourselves, or other people. We must learn to filter out whatever is pulling our attention away from trust in almighty God, who is working according to His will and timing.

When the storms of life batter you, make sure that your feet are planted on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. Do not despair, asking, What am I going to do? Rather, ask, What is God doing? And be assured—He is doing something.



Arise And Shine!

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.”

Isaiah 60:1

Today’s Scripture reads, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” These words have a special application for those who belong to Jesus. He has come into our lives, and He is our light and our glory. No matter how dark or perplexing our circumstances are, our lives are wrapped in the light and favor of God’s mighty Son.

For some of us who are older or struggle with disabilities, it can be hard to get moving in the morning. Yes, we rise. But do we shine? We may be grateful for a new day, but we may not be grateful for the stiff joints and pain. But here’s the truth: Whatever your situation today, the glory of the Lord is upon you, whether you feel it or not. His glory rises upon you with each new day. Repeat this verse out loud every morning: Arise! Shine!

Lord Jesus, my light truly has come, and You are that radiant, beautiful light. I invite You to illumine my conversations, my thoughts, my actions, and even the expression on my face. Your mercies toward me today are brand-new, and I receive them with open arms and a thankful heart.



How To Seek The Lord

Psalm 105:1-7

Although Scripture tells us to seek the Lord, many Christians struggle with this command. Some are so distracted by other interests and responsibilities that God is only a miniscule part of their goals and desires in life. When confronted with their responsibility to pursue Him, they often feel guilty but don’t know how to begin.

When desire for the Lord surpasses our eagerness for other pursuits, following through becomes more natural. But hunger for the Lord can be like an acquired taste. The more we pursue Him, the greater our hunger will be. However, if we ignore Him, what little appetite we have will diminish even further. Do you find that the latter describes your experience? If so, ask the heavenly Father to whet your appetite for Him—and follow through by making the effort to seek Him.

Begin with the Scriptures and prayer. Set aside time each day for meditating on God’s Word—listen for His voice, slowly digest what you read, talk to the Lord, ask Him questions, and apply what you learn to your life. Begin studying the Bible. Some of you may say, “I’ve never been into that.” My advice: Get into it! The deep things of God don’t just drop into our brains; they are placed there through diligent study.

Seeking anything requires time and effort. Will you invest your life in the pursuit of the Eternal One—the source of all contentment, joy, and hope? Or will you go after that which is fleeting? By neglecting the Lord, you cheat yourself of all the benefits He promises to those who diligently seek Him.