September 3, 2009

I confess that recently I’ve been having some trouble writing, it doesn’t seem to come from my heart and I struggle to finish an article without picking it to pieces and changing it over and over. It seems like when I took a step of faith to put the blog together in book form to have it published, that discouragement came in and took over almost grinding me to a complete halt in all my writing efforts which is one of the things that I am passionate about.

As I read Mark chapter 3, I was puzzled as to what the Lord was trying to say to me so I went about some daily chores to let the word sink in and give it time as I was meditating on it. I decided to listen to the radio and a pastor was speaking about discouragement and it made me think about the issues I’ve been having with writing. This pastor spoke about how discouragement came to the people who were trying to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem in Nehemiah.

They were trying to do something for God and faced opposition, frustration, exhaustion and discouragement. Then it hit me, here was Jesus in Mark 3 trying to be about the work that the Father had given him to do and he faces stubborn hearts which made him angry and deeply distressed him. (Mark 3:5) and the Pharisees wanted to kill him (Mark 3:6). Through all of this Jesus responded by heading for the lake to find renewing for himself and the disciples. I think he recognized that it was time to withdraw and regroup.

The enemy was working hard against his efforts, he sent demons and scores of diseased people to crowd around Jesus trying to wear him down and stress him out and what does he do but go to the mountains to continue the work the Father had called him to (Mark 3:13). The enemy is relentless crowding them again and again even so much that the word says at one point they couldn’t even eat (Mark 3:20).

When the enemy sees that this plan of action isn’t ruffling Jesus at all he sends in the big guns. His own family thinks he’s nuts and comes to collect him. What does Jesus do? He doesn’t even acknowledge the enemy’s attempts but keeps plugging away (Mark 3:21, 31-34). Satan is like a fly that buzzes constantly through the people around Jesus trying to bring him down and discourage him. He is provoking Jesus and even goes so far as to incite the teachers of the Law against him to say he has demons!

I envision him calm and cool as a cucumber as he looks at his accusers and asserts his authority warning them that they are about to cross the unforgiveable line. I can just imagine the look on his face and the faces of his accusers as he exposes their foolishness to the people (Mark 3:23-30). Jesus doesn’t let the enemy hold him back and neither should I! With his help, I can do whatever he asks of me in any situation and so can you!

What have I learned about watching Jesus deal with opposition, frustration, exhaustion and discouragement? I should withdraw to a peaceful place in God until I have gained strength, keep plugging away at what God has given me to do, and don’t even acknowledge the attempts made by the enemy to discourage me. I should also stand on the firm foundation of who I am in Christ.

This is a tall order but nothing is impossible with God at my side or at your side! With God’s help all things are possible! I am greatly encouraged today and I will persevere in God as Jesus did. Again I am reminded of Danni’s words as she lay in her hospital bed unable to get up… “Trust God and never give up!”

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