Monday, January 17, 2022

Don't Be Discouraged

The view from the other side of the Dam, the one opposite the shimmering lake, presents us with a very steep descent down to the road below. Signs warn pedestrians to keep off this nearly perpendicular hill. One can only imagine what it would be like to attempt to carefully walk down its face.

 In my mind's eye I can see myself carefully stepping over the warning curb and inching my way slowly and carefully down the hill only to find myself inexorably propelled, at an every increasing speed, toward certain calamity. Then I picture myself, with amazing physical prowess, plopping down on my butt and digging my heels into the hillside.

At this point I am confronted with two choices. I can either slide the rest of the way down on the seat of my pants, or begin the arduous climb back to the top of the Dam. Of course I realize, from my precarious position, that somewhere along the line I made a questionable (ok - stupid) decision. I have failed to be a law-abiding, conscientious adult. Will I give up in despair, slide down, slink away - or rise to the occasion and attempt the hard climb back up?

Reminds me a bit of life. It goes something like this. You make a decision you believe to be wise and good while at the same time difficult and challenging.You proceed to act on said decision only to fail in the most stupendous way. These decisions almost always have to do with spiritual things, although not necessarily, and when you fail you're prone to throw up your hands and say, "I can't do anything right, so what's the use of even trying. I'll just slide down on the seat of my pants and slink away.

I've learned, over the years, we have an enemy who takes great delight in watching our perceived, and very real, failures so that he can whisper words of discouragement into our hearts. Ruth Graham said, "Discouragement is the devil's calling card." Wise words from a very wise woman. We cannot let our failures keep us from doing the things we are called to do. They may be difficult things - things that will stretch us and test us - but we don't do them alone. 

I wonder if the Lord waits for us to make the choice to pick ourselves up and carry on so that He can grab ahold of our hands and pull us up.

"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10