Expectations and Discouragement

Our longtime friend George Verwer, founder and for years executive director of Operation Mobilization has often spoken about discouragement before large and small groups of missions teams, churches and at festivals and other events put on by Christians.

After spending most of his life leading a huge missions organization he has like many of us, experienced both the power of faithful sacrifice and compassion as well as the depths of degradation and sin among human beings.
He speaks of discouragement often, especially to those in ministry because it’s easy to land there when working with so many broken people, uncertainties with regard to finances, occasions of illness or unexpected tragedies such as road accidents or such things as divorce all the way to petty splits over how things are done or who gets to do them… all of these can weigh on a person. All of these difficulties can affect a family or a group in the negative.

The thing I find throughout my own Bible reading is that Israel seems to have faced such things nearly continually. In fact, not only in terms of enemies and various natural disasters that affected crop harvests, etc., but due to their own rebellion against God we find them more in exile than out of it… please consider too that the pain of exile was brought about by the Lord Himself.

Yet what always shouts loudest is that He remained (and remainS) faithful to His people. Day in and out, regardless of the stock market, wars and rumors of war, health or other issues Jesus is “the same yesterday, today and forever”. Whether it was a matter of their sin or their enemies, God remains faithful and as deliverer.

Thank God, in a world of change and sometimes massive change and upheaval God is the One constant love, faithful friend, provider and sustainer.

It’s so easy to think human beings will source us. It’s so obvious no human can take God’s place in our lives, but we often look to them to meet our needs when we need to be looking to Someone else.

All this comes to mind today as a friend faces cancer, another suffers the loss of a loved one, another the loss of their mother, others burdened by illness in the face of many mission opportunities, others who are estranged from family members due to sin and unforgiveness.

Working with messed up people will of course mess you up if you allow them to somehow take the place of Christ in your life. He is perfect they are not nor can they be. He is consistently righteous, none of us humans are! He is truly “able to do more than we can ever ask or think” and is “a strong tower” and “a very present help in trouble” where of course, people just aren’t that dependable for the most part.

In fact you can depend on the fact that people will not (can not, really) always have your best interests in mind, while Jesus always does. Grace!

So rather than be discouraged and having one’s expectations dashed by hurting and often rather self-centered people, I learned long ago to pray and quietly bring people before the Lord via prayer.

I also do my best to pray and repent where I must and ask God for His grace and strength to do His will in a world and among people who, flawed as I myself, can only carry on by such grace and strength.

As I type, the same old clothes are spinning in the washing machines (I call them “re-runs” cuz I see ’em every week:)), it’s partly cloudy and partly sunny in Chicago (nothing new…) and though it’s Spring, it got a bit cold again today (don’t like the weather… it’ll change).

Then I consider the huge number of faithful servants of God all over the world whom I’ve met and recognize are still standing above all the foolishness, pettiness, sin and temptation and general rebellion against God… and I marvel that by His grace and power any one of us can be, become and continue in that number.

It’s still all about loving obedience, not perfection. It’s still about faith, hope and love. There’s just no life in anything else.

Jesus said “In the world you SHALL (my accent via caps…) have tribulation. But be of good cheer. I have overcome the world”.

Been coughing all week… but slowly healing. Thankful I can get the laundry done 🙂 Thankful for God’s continual faithfulness!

Thanks for stopping by! -Glenn

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