Photo Credit: Sander van der Wel
Why do we sometimes struggle to feel God’s grace during the extremely difficult times in our lives? When we are exhausted and hurting, why is it so easy to believe that God must have somehow missed us while He was dishing out His phenomenal grace on others?
When the bills keep coming in and the money doesn’t, why does it seem like God has forgotten about us? When our health begins to fail, does God also? If someone we love begins to reject us, when our children are wayward, when there seems to be no answers to our problems, does this mean God is silent and doesn’t care?
Don’t the words courageous, overcomer, victorious, successful, confident and encourager stir up positive emotions within you? Now think about the words; struggling, discouraged, hurting, weak, and broken. Do you notice the different emotions you feel simply by thinking about these words? We naturally shrink away from these negative feelings, doing everything we can to avoid them. In fact, it’s been proven that negative thoughts and emotions affect us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Now let me ask you, when you think of the life of Jesus, do you think of positive words like: wealthy, respected, honored, and whole? Or do the words: suffering, homeless, condemned, misunderstood, broken and battered better describe the life of Jesus?
No one likes to be broken. Being Humpty Dumpty doesn’t appeal to any of us. And typically, we don’t like to see brokenness in others. When we can’t “fix” their problems, we tend to avoid them. But suffering, sin, and death will always be a part of this broken earth.
However, do you realize that God hasn’t forsaken you simply because life is tough? God’s grace hasn’t run out because your energy has. Many times, your prayers are being answered even when you feel like His silence is deafening. Remember God’s grace isn’t needed in the glorious times, but rather in the shattered moments.
It is in those times, that we need to worship Him in our brokenness, rather than questioning His goodness. We should be glorifying rather than griping. Praising instead complaining. Resting rather than striving. Listening rather than demanding. It is allowing God to exchange our messes for His message.
We see brokenness and suffering as something to be despised and avoided, even though the life of Jesus was filled with intense sorrow, excruciating pain, and horrible mistreatment.
Life’s circumstances and challenges may have you feeling exhausted, frustrated, and discouraged, but take heart, my friend. Your broken world is the canvas of God’s beautiful masterpiece. However, action on your part is required if you want this beauty to take place. It requires giving up the control of your life. And this includes being vulnerable enough to admit that you are struggling, needy, discouraged, or broken.
I believe this is the element of grace that is so often misunderstood. God’s grace isn’t there to “cover up” or excuse sin, but it is there to allow us to be real. Our honesty when we can’t make sense of our struggles is important to God. When we read the book of Psalms and hear the gut-wrenching cries of David’s heart, we can see his intense battles, yet he consistently comes back to rejoicing and worshiping in his storms. This is the same grace that is offered to each of us today. Don’t expect perfection from yourself and believe the lie that some people never struggle like you do. That’s simply not realistic. God’s grace IS there to help you live victoriously, but it’s also there when you’re struggling and discouraged.
“In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me.” (Psalms 71:1-2)
As Christians, we should view ourselves as struggling, imperfect, sin-prone individuals who are consciously aware of who we are, apart from the blood of Jesus who forgives, redeems and makes us His own.
Last week, our family was in the recording studio, doing the vocals for a new album. Many of the songs we’ve chosen have a theme of HOPE that we believe will encourage those who are discouraged or facing various battles in life. The following are lyrics to one of the songs that goes along with the message of feeling defeated and believing your prayers are not being answered. We pray that it will encourage you to not give up, keep the faith, and keep believing in the faithfulness of our gracious Father.
“Everybody falls sometimes
You gotta find the strength to rise
From the ashes
and make a new beginning
Anyone can feel the ache
You think it’s more than you can take
But you’re stronger
Stronger then you know
Don’t you give up now
The sun will soon be shining
You gotta face the clouds
To find the silver lining
I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn’t ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I’ve seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand-new
That’s what faith can do
It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard
Impossible is not a word
It’s just a reason
For someone not to try
Everybody’s scared to death
When they decide to take that step
Out on the water
But it’ll be alright.
Cause life is so much more
Than what your eyes are seeing
You will find your way
If you keep believing
~Cindy (For The Mullett Family)