God’s sufficiency is the constant rhythm beating in our lives as believers, yet for some reason we get so stuck in the muddled days that we can’t lift our gaze out of the mire to see the glory we were made for. We can’t fathom being in a better place than the stressed work environment stealing our joy, or the relationship devoid of reciprocated love, or life marred by our own sin. We all have the days where such circumstances leave us unable to walk to higher ground, stiff-legged by what’s surrounding us.
Why the Mire?
The quintessential question mankind has poked against God since the fall — why God? Why have you let this happen to me? Why the bad? Yet we can rest in the Seed of Jesse, long-awaited Messiah that was given to us — the God-Man Jesus Christ that has reconciled us to the Father for the praise of his glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6).
Our sufferings in this present time are building in us qualities that mirror God. We see a stair-step snowballing of our former ways in sin meeting their reversal. “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Romans 5:3-5).
Don’t skip that last sentence.
Hope will not put us to shame, and it is contingent upon the very love that God has poured into us. Such an incredible reality can do for us what nothing else can. Because God has done for us what no one else could.
This hope isn’t in any self-strength or plan devised by man. God has given us the greatest hope — Himself and the secure promise of the salvation he is working in us until He brings it to completion (Philippians 1:6).
We have words more fully revealed to us through God’s word. We have something we can stand on without our feet wobbling. The gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is the Gospel?
Does it seem elementary in the faith to ask such a question? I mean don’t we all know the answer? Yes, maybe, but it never gets old.
“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
God sent His Son into the world, His greatest treasure, to be looked upon by man and counted as nothing and equal to a criminal though He in fact is equal to God. Jesus walked upon the earth in perfect submission to the Father, tempted by Satan and found spotless. He declared his purpose from the beginning and even at his death, He echoed the plea repeatedly to the Father for the sins of evil men to be forgiven. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And on the cross beside two wretched men He died and absorbed all the sins we were unable to bear ourselves. Separated from the Father, we have the Judge pouring out the full condemnation due for us on the Spotless Lamb. And Jesus ran with that sin as the Old Testament scapegoat, removing it as far as the east is from the west for all who call upon the name of the Lord to be saved.
He died and didn’t stay dead.
God rolled away the stone. He sealed the death of the 2nd Person of the Trinity with the glorious, justifying resurrection to demonstrate the new life we now live to Christ and the eternal death of our former life in sin.
Don’t grow tired of the gospel. It is power for us and the morning dew on our hearts until the morning star rises in our hearts (2 Peter 1:19b) and our Savior comes for His people and restores this world to its rightful Owner.
Shaking Off the Discouragement
How-to’s are so sweet to our eyes and ears because it gives us exactly what we need to do to solve our problems, yet that’s not what I’m offering you. I have a Who-to if you will. The one I can direct your gaze to for the sure-fire nourishment your soul was made to find its fill in. Jesus. He is the deepest well, sweetest name, and exact imprint of God’s nature. Because of Jesus we have all we need. Prophet, Priest, King. The fulfiller of every office we are unable to hold. When we set our hearts on Him through the faith provided by God through regeneration, there’s nothing that can lure us enough away that we will be blinded again.
So as we trudge through the mire, the hard, emotionally, physically, spiritually draining days in this world, don’t lost heart. Our Overcomer isn’t some self-help guru that professes ease from trouble to all that rest in Him. He offers peace, for He has surely overcome the world, and He’s coming back again for those who were unwise in the world’s eyes, yet made wise through faith in Him.
Go back, over and over again, to the gospel. For it is power to us through the Holy Spirit’s working, interceding for us when even our flesh and heart is failing (Psalm 73:25-26).
It is enough.
By Melissa Dennis
Originally published in Be Still Magazine, Issue 4.