Some time ago while reading my Bible, it struck me that this is exactly what we each need to be doing to stay on top: reading our Bibles every single day, even when we don’t feel like it.
Naturally speaking, we all have reasons why we could be giving up. Every day we meet things that could take us down. I know a lot of people who deal with adversity by doing drugs, alcohol, hurting themselves, and other behaviors that lead to hard consequences. Often they think that an intense relationship will satisfy the emptiness. But no matter how good that relationship may be, it isn’t going to fill the need that only Christ can fill.
My daughter and I were talking about this, and it seems we know so many people who are unhappy and wander off in different directions in hopes of “fixing” the emptiness in their lives. When people experience some type of trauma, they often turn to one of these choices as a way to cover up the pain that may be left as a result, especially if it’s something over which they had no control. If people refuse to let go of their “right” to hold onto the pain as a way to “punish” someone responsible for that pain, they end up suffering even more. Until they let go of it by forgiveness and full surrender to Jesus as the Healer, they find themselves among the ranks of the “walking wounded.” When they do let go and come to Jesus, He applies the “Oil and the Wine” which bring true healing, with liberty and joy and peace.
I think we may have a tendency to hold back from reaching out to others, sometimes, because we haven’t gone through the same door they’ve gone through. We do know the truth, however, and regardless if people have gone through the drug door, the loss of virginity door, the criminal door, the eating disorder door, the loss of a loved one door, an illness, whatever it may be—we can still stand in the doorway to joy, peace, and liberty, beckoning others to join us. We can, and should, be bold in sharing our faith and not hold back because we feel “inadequate.” We have a responsibility to help others find their way to Jesus, because He is the only way to true happiness and liberty.
When we go through something hard (and eventually we all experience loss and suffering), we have the opportunity to show Christ at work. How we choose to deal with it can be a testimony to others. Joni Erickson Tada is a well-known example—someone who has found this saving victory, despite her own unchanging circumstances as a paraplegic. Even though my trials don’t compare to hers (or perhaps even to yours), the suffering we each have can help us find the same miracle that Joni has found, by putting our trust in Jesus and feeding on His Word.
And yes, I do believe that that is the key—to read the Bible daily and to “force ourselves” to praise God, even when we don’t feel like it. That’s a way not only to ride on top of the waves, but to be used as an effective tool or weapon in the battle against evil.
I’ve noticed over and over in my own life that when I’ve continued to do this, the natural feelings have given way to something supernatural. There’s joy and peace instead of despair and anger. I’ve been able to see things from a different perspective and my feelings have followed the steps I’ve taken, even when they seem forced. Sometimes it can feel mechanical to “sing above the battle strife,” yet it does work! Our lives can become so intertwined with the struggles that we forget to feed on the Source, and then we just get dragged down more and more.
I am certain that it’s just a matter of time before many of our prayers are answered. God hasn’t forgotten us, even though it may seem like it sometimes. He has a plan for each of us, and the enemy can be very convincing, naturally, to present circumstances in a hopeless and discouraging way. He wants us to give up and stop trusting God and he wants to separate us from the Source of life by distracting us from reading our Bibles or praising God.
I’ll be praying for each of us to be encouraged and that we’ll be able to continue feeding daily on the Word of God, praising Him even if it seems mechanical sometimes. Overcoming this way just works! It gets us back on top and brings the renewal that our body, mind, and spirit need in order to keep going.