I want to share some reflections on encouragement. I want to do so because I have had a long season of discouragement. I was so low that the spiritual practices that had helped me no longer worked. Worship didn’t lift up my spirit. Fellowship made me feel more lonely. The scriptures no longer spoke.
I don’t think for a moment that I’m unique in my season of discouragement. Nearly everyone has gone through some dark valleys. There are so many things that can take us to such places. A betrayal. A medical challenge. A failed marriage. The pain of not having children, and sometimes the pain of having them. Disappointment in work. A moral lapse. An addiction that continues to defeat us.
Discouragement. It is to lose heart. And once we lose heart it’s hard to show up, get out of bed, keep trying.
I’m not exactly sure when I began to emerge from this season of discouragement. I do know that the journey out of it didn’t come all at once, nor did I go from “strength to strength.” But come it did. Bit by bit. And I began to feel the Lord’s hand on me once more.
As I began to “come back to myself,” the words of scripture began to speak again, and those words felt like water to a very thirsty pilgrim, like food to a starving man. The words of Ps. 119: 105 describe what began to happen: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
As you read through these pieces, I pray you will hear a word that will keep you from flagging, a word that will inspire you to remain steadfast, a word to rekindle your trust that even when the Lord feels very far away the Lord is still there.
I believe one reason the Lord has laid this endeavor on my heart is that sharing these words with you is part of the Lord’s way of continuing to bring me back into his light. I’m praying and hoping that these words may be a lifeline for someone out there.
I write not as one who has it all figured out, not as one who has not made some mistakes I regret, not from on high; but as one who has known that there is no darkness where the Lord Jesus will not bring light, and that there is no one so lost that Jesus cannot find and bring them home.