We wanted to share with you some recent words from one of our Cru national directors, Mark Gauthier. We hope this encourages you to find your strength in the Lord as you begin your summer!
The past several weeks have been filled with hard news. Starting with the bombs that shocked everyone at the Boston Marathon and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, then the earthquakes in Iran and China and now flooding and snow in the Midwest.
News like this gets added to the reality that friends and coworkers are enduring challenging and painful circumstances. And of course, sometimes my own reality feels pretty difficult too.
These past few weeks have served as a vivid reminder of the evil, pain, and suffering that exists continuously in this world, along with a clear sense that we all are very vulnerable. I have been reminded again of the challenge of living on this side of heaven and the ever-present need to experience hope.
For me, there are moments - and sometimes seasons - where feelings of being overwhelmed and anxious lead to a great sense of dread. Sometimes I even feel it physically, it starts in my chest and moves up into my throat. This vague ominous feeling can cause me to turn inward, my hope waning and my perspective skewed
In these circumstances I find myself crying out to God and pleading with Him to release me of the vulnerability I feel. I just want “it” whatever the “it” is to stop, to end. Sometimes it does and sometimes it continues on. But regardless, the vulnerability clearly reminds me that I really can’t make it on my own, that only God is the anchor for my soul and the source of strength to take another step of faith. So in these moments it is God and His presence with me that keeps me going.
God has made that promise to all of us. When you come to the end of yourself... When you come to the end of what we can understand about this world... He is right there. He is the Light that darkness did not (and will not!) overcome.
In 1 Samuel 30:1-5, David and his men return to Ziklag to find their women and children have been captured. His own men turn on him and threaten to stone him. David’s response is outstanding. He could have hidden, shrinking away in fear. Or he could have attempted to carry on under his own power. But the Bible tells us that Davidstrengthened himself in the Lord. David chose to lean into the Lord for His sustenance in his great need. I love this – this is my great need and challenge always, and especially when I am faced with overwhelming odds, circumstances, discouragement, and pain.
This missionary life means you and I are always out there on the edge. We live by faith in God's provision. We deal with the hard stuff in our own lives and in the lives of the people we coach and disciple. And on top of this is the daily drumbeat of heartbreaking news from across the country and around the world. I need to be strengthened in the Lord and I would imagine you do, too.
This is my prayer for all of us – that we would find ourselves going to God the source of life and finding our strength in Him.
What does it look like to strengthen yourself in the Lord? For me, it is talking with Him, listening to Him through His Word. It is sharing my realities honestly with friends and involving them in my journey. And reflecting on my life through journaling. It means opening my ears, mind, and heart to pay close attention to what the Lord is saying to me. It means applying the Spirit–filled life in this context and depending on Him to give me what I need to take the next step of faith.
The past weeks have been a constant reminder that God is my refuge and that He alone can change my life, provide for me, and be my ultimate hope in a world filled with hard and painful news. I pray that you too would find this same reality. Let me know how you find hope in the midst of challenging times.
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