EVER had a conversation with a person trying to encourage you and left more discouraged than ever? I’ve been on both sides of that kind of interaction.
It’s infuriating on the one hand, and it’s a discouragement that our positive words would have negative effect on the other. But at least when you’re the one trying to encourage you’re not living the ‘hell’ the other person is. I write this from the perspective of having fallen short in the helping.
A two-worded question emanates from our mouths when we consider the little benefit we’ve received from walking faithfully through the desert season: how long? We’re not alone. The psalmists ask that question a dozen times.
How long do we continue a path that feels at times to make no sense, but we know God chose it for us? How long do we wait for the promised land to come into view? How long before we finally rest from the turmoil of continually travelling a well-worn path to nowhere? How long until this circuitous route straightens from frustration into progress?
The flesh is weak, but in the Spirit we are able. There are always at least two ways of looking at things.
The way of the flesh is to see things simplistically, dreamily, yet with a dash of over-realism. We want what we’ve always wanted, and we want it now. Yesterday would have been good. But in the Spirit, we continue to trust when in the flesh we are ready to bail out.
Trusting holds the burden at bay simply by acting faithfully as led. The burden is still there, and we know it, and it pains us. The ‘how long’ question continues to linger, and we continue to move forward only when we hold our hope aloft at the same time as bearing our ongoing disappointment honestly.
What can be done? Keep trusting. Keep stepping forward in faith. Look forward as much as possible.
The irony of faith is it is proven in the ground of trial when we feel weakest.