By Ricky Chelette, Executive Director
If you live in Texas, you come to expect hot summers. We are amid yet another summer of 100-degree temperatures and no rain in sight. In this kind of heat, people grow weary quickly. It seems hard to breathe, difficult to stay hydrated, and impossible to maintain any significant energy level for more than a few minutes. The heat is like a blanket of discouragement whose power and presence seems relentless.
Similarly, we often find spiritual fidelity in the secular world equally draining. At every turn, Christians face a myriad of attacks. TV ads, news feeds, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Snap Chat—to name only a few—seem determined to persuade the Christ-follower that our ways are archaic, bigoted, and narrow-minded. We quickly discover we are known more for what we are against rather than what we are for. In our attempts to stand for Jesus in our culture, we often find we are standing alone. It is easy to get discouraged in our spiritual journey. The narrative of our world can be like a wet blanket on the fires of our spiritual passion.
David understood the feelings of isolation that often come with following God and going against the crowd. Faced with opposition from his people, as well as the culture in which he lived, David, like us, became discouraged.
How is a God-fearer to survive in a land filled with spiritual critics, outright unbelievers, and militant foes actively seeking to silence the truth of God’s Word?
David had one strategy – he reminded himself of who God is, who he was, and the promises of God for him. As David correctly aligned his life with a proper understanding of God and himself, he was able to see past the momentary difficulty to the eternal glory God would provide for him. In Psalm 3:3-4, we read,
But You, O Lord, are a shield about me,
My glory, and the One who lifts my head.
I was crying to the Lord with my voice,
And He answered me from His holy mountain.
Though we are thousands of years removed from David’s Psalm 3, opposition to the truth of God is still strong. When you leave your house each day, you will enter a world that is against the things you believe, the way you choose to live, and the positions you take on moral issues. Often, you will be called upon to stand up for the truth. In those moments you will feel as though you are utterly alone, but you are not. God is with you.
As Christians, we are never alone. God has promised that when we trust in Him, He fills us with His Spirit who empowers us. He promises that He will be with us and will never leave us or forsake us.
He promises, as He did with David, that he will “be a shield about [you].” Nothing can touch you that has not passed through the protective hands of the Father. He will protect us and keep us from the lies of the evil one if we are trusting in Him.
He promises that in those moments when we grow weary and feel as though we can go no further, He will be “the One who lifts [our] head.” Though the darkness seems to steal away victory, and our zeal may falter, He will bring renewal and lift our attention from the present trouble to the glory of His presence seen fully in His face.
He promises that He will be a good father, the kind who listens attentively to his children’s cries and answers them. He is alert, aware, and active even in those moments when we cannot always see immediate evidence of His work. He is faithful.
As I watch the news, read the reports of the cultural pundits, or even overhear the chatter of well-intentioned church-goers on their way in and out of worship, it can be easy to get discouraged. Christians seem afraid to speak out and are doubtful of the goodness of God or His ability to make a difference in our world gone adrift. We can all get discouraged, but we must be like David and cry out to God. He is faithful. He will listen. And He will lift our eyes from the present discouragement and focus our attention on the One who He sent to bring liberty to the captives, sight to the blind, and salvation to all who would call upon His Name – Jesus the Christ. He is the lifter of our heads. Be not discouraged. He has overcome the World.