Why is it that discouragement and loneliness seem to invariably go together? There is not a person living on this planet who has not experienced discouragement, but somehow when it hits you personally it feels like you are totally alone. My purpose in writing this is to offer some words of hope and direction to those of you who are feeling alone in your struggle with discouragement, fear, uncertainty or (you name it). To begin, here is my little “woe is me” story that has been developing recently:
A few months ago I found out that there is actually a reason why I have had numerous lung infections throughout my lifetime– a weird lung. (That’s not the medical name of course but I’m trying to keep this short for all our sakes. Besides, would “pulmonary sequestration” really tell you anything?!!) I talked to several doctors, read as much as I could to find out about it online and prayed. Medical protocol recommends removing it because of the pneumonia susceptibility as well as a concern that it could turn into some sort of cancer. It wasn’t an easy decision, but with the hope of not having to do battle with pneumonia anymore, I finally consented and had the surgery done five and a half weeks ago.
My recovery was slow but God surrounded me with family and friends who were incredibly supportive. I am grateful to report that the surgical site has healed nicely and I continue to count my blessings each day except for one thing . . . I have pneumonia! Apparently I have had it since my surgery, but thinking that the symptoms were tied to having half of my lung removed I just kept plugging away at what I could do and rested in between. To be honest, I was feeling guilty for even feeling discouraged because I know so many people who have far greater problems than I do. Finally, to cap it all off, this morning when I woke up still coughing and feeling lousy I got pretty snippy with my husband who has been wonderfully kind and caring through this whole process. Boy did I feel low!
After apologizing to my husband for my bad attitude I felt better. Then it seemed like out of nowhere, the words from Psalm 46 came to my mind, reminding me to trust God more (and my feelings less) with challenges large and small. I love Psalm 46 because it acknowledges the very real dangers we face living on this earth, while establishing that God is both Sovereign (Ruler over all) and Good:God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the City of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The Lord Almighty is with us” the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the Lord, the desolations He has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire. “Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.
What I believe God reminded me of in my discouragement is that storms come and go in life, but no matter what we may face, God calls us to trust Him as our sure shelter. This call is repeated by Jesus in Matthew 11 as He called on those who are discouraged.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Verses 28-30)
Facing discouragement and loneliness? The invitation couldn’t be clearer: “Come” . . . “be still and know”. . . and “find rest for your souls.”
All to His Glory!