When You’re Down
Down. On the floor. On your face. Really sad. Ready to give up. Made a mess of things.
I want to speak to those kinds of “downs”, and I hope whichever down is the one you’re experiencing, you’ll find encouragement, hope and truth here. Let’s begin.
I know down well, and there are periods of my life that seem to consist in back to back mess ups. I can probably tell you what the ground smells and looks like because I’ve got my face in it quite a number of times. Maybe you do too.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NIV)
I don’t really believe in self-help. No “kick life in the butt” or “it’s all about you” for me. I am not my own, but rather I belong to Jesus Christ. So that’s the perspective I’m coming from.
Now, about messing up… The Bible is filled with many of those. Mess up after mess up by the best of people. But then comes the Lord Jesus, our rescuer. He’s the one who does the opposite of messing up and then says to us, “Cheer up. I have overcome the world.” Isn’t that the coolest thing? Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a guarantee of our total perfection here on earth. Rather, we are told to bear up under temptation, and through suffering. We are told to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus so we don’t miss the mark (we are prone to do that), we are told we can ask God for forgiveness in repentance (because it seems we are also prone to doing things that we need to turn away from). But this is not the end for us!
One day, we will be completely changed just like Jesus – in the twinkle of an eye as apostle Paul says. One day we would freely be in God’s presence, unhindered. That’s an amazing hope.
What do we do now, when our negative emotions threaten to drown us? What do we do when we are brought so low, there’s literally nowhere to go? What do we do when we feel like we’re so lost in sin, not even God could possibly forgive us or rescue us? What do we do when we’ve failed, again, and again? When we just want to say, “God, aren’t you tired of me? Kill me already!”
What do we do?
“In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”” (Hebrews 12:4-6 NIV)
We do not lose heart. We remember that we are loved. We remember that we belong to Him, and He’s not done with us. We remember that He says He will never leave us. We remember that we can cry to Him for help, knowing that He always answers and we have His help. We remember that this is not the end for us, and we have an enduring hope. We remember that Jesus Christ endured way worse than we did. We remember that He gives much grace to those in need. We remember that He does not change, even when we are fickle. We remember Him. And we thank Him because we believe.