Invisible but deadly

qpe5988qvom-quin-stevensonHe cradled his head in his rough, battle-scarred hands, breathing heavily. The accelerated pace of his heart drummed so loudly he could hear nothing else. Sweat beaded on his forehead as blood pounded in his temples. He inhaled deeply, attempting to calm himself. He was thankful to have found this temporary refuge, even if it was a grimy old bathroom. The grinding of the pneumatic impact wrench securing nuts on wheels sounded eerily similar to the battle zone. Before he could acknowledge the trigger, he’d felt his body go into a tailspin. With herculean effort, he stood very slowly, making a deliberate B-line for this small sanctuary.

This was all so humiliating.

Stupid, stupid STUPID! Why did he have to be weak like this?!?

None of the guys from the hundred and first had this problem! They were still smoking and joking about the war like it was some video game. Only the weak ones contracted this illness.

His hair brushed back and forth over his hands as he shook his head, acknowledging the lie as it snaked its way through his thoughts. Hadn’t he just been to Jameson’s funeral? Continue reading

Coming glory (Day 6 of the #encourage marathon)

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For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

~ ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It’s Day 6 of our 26-day #Encourage Marathon! (You can read yesterday’s post here.)

Here are the previous 5 days we’ve covered so far:

Not Destroyed – Day 1

Do not lose heart – Day 2

More than Conquerors – Day 3

Joy will come – Day 4

Renewed Strength – Day 5

Someone out there is on their knees, worn out with suffering. It might even be you.

Grief.

Loss.

Betrayal.

Rejection.

Humiliation.

Abuse.

Persecution.

Death.

Sickness.

Starvation.

Tyranny.

War.

Have you experienced any of the above? Welcome to the world of harsh reality. Sometimes it feels as though we were born to experience trouble (hence the pursuit of excessive pleasure). The race is long. That finish line is barely a dot on the horizon (if we can see it at all!).

If you ask a mother about childbirth, they will tell you that it felt as though the excruciating pain of labor would never end. And yet, when they look back, the exhaustive labor seems like a little thing compared with the great joy of nestling their precious newborn. Joy, awe, and delight outshine the pain, making it a mere memory.

Like a woman in labor, so is our labor of life. As Paul says in our verse today, this suffering does not compare with what waits for us. When we finally see Jesus—the one whom we love and who has loved us from the beginning—all this will be overshadowed by the light of His presence.

I often think of it in the way Gandalf described it to Pippin in The Lord of the Rings:

PIPPIN: I didn’t think it would end this way.

GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No, no it isn’t.

I think of Jesus in all his glory like that swift sunrise, and heaven that far green country, teeming with beauty. I am looking forward to seeing it. If I can just remember that, it’ll make all of this more bearable.

Something better and far more glorious is waiting for us, we just have to keep running.


I hope you’ll continue to join me on FacebookTwitter and here at Elihu’s Corner for this marathon. Share this verse on your Twitter feed or Facebook page (#encourage). Take time today to copy down this verse for yourself. Send an email or text to someone you know who would benefit from this encouragement.

[If you click on the link in the above passage, it will take you to BibleGateway.com. From here, you can click a share link which allows you to share directly to Twitter, Facebook or send an email.]

If you missed the original post listing all 26 passages, click here to download the PDF list.

Overcome or Overcomer?

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“Its only Monday, and the world is already falling apart.”

She raked slender fingers through her long hair, willing the movement to ease her tensed nerves. Her heart seemed to gravitate towards the floor. Why couldn’t something go right for a change? No matter what she did, it all seemed to unravel in the end.

As the minutes ticked by, the room grew darker until she realized her own hands were barely visible. The encroaching darkness brought relief, but only for a moment. Tomorrow she would have to face the catastrophe reverberating from today’s events.

Seized with sorrow, she sank to her knees and wept.

Plagued with doubt. Overwhelmingly defeated. Dogged by despair.

She lifted her hands to pray, her words only audible to the One who could hear the desperate cry flowing from a burdened heart.

“Why, Lord?” she gasped through tears, “Why?”

As the tears rolled down, words crept into her mind—words she had read several days ago: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”

Words from the Bible. Words that Paul—who suffered multiple losses and countless disappointments—had written to fellow Christians. Words she needed at this dark hour. Peace and comfort soothed her aching heart like a warm compress. Though the pain lingered and the problems persisted, relief came. God had not abandoned her. He was present with her in the gathering gloom.

These moments of doubt, defeat, and despair visit every person at some time in their lives. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, where you live, or how righteous you are. For many, the three D’s lead to the destruction of faith and/or life.

You may think the righteous of times past never struggled with the three D’s, but they did:

Moses

“I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” (Numbers‬ ‭11:14-15‬)

David

“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭13:1-2‬)

Elijah

“I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings‬ ‭19:10‬)

Jeremiah

“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.”
‭‭(Lamentations‬ ‭3:17-20‬)

Jesus’ disciples

But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened…” (Luke 24.21)

These examples merely scratch the surface. All who have served God faithfully have been tested and tried in this way. What we see in the scriptures is the enduring mercy of the Lord. He does not abandon us in the pit of despair, but always shines through in the darkness to those who cry out to Him in Faith.

He replaces doubt with trust, despair with hope, and defeat with victory. We are more than conquerors through Christ.

If we read further through each of the above passages, we see the dispelling of the three D’s:

Moses

[God speaking to Moses] “And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” ‭(Numbers‬ ‭11:17‬)

David

“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” ‭‭(Psalms‬ ‭13:5-6‬)

Elijah

[God speaking to Elijah] “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings‬ ‭19:18‬)

Jeremiah

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations‬ ‭3:21-24‬)

Jesus’ disciples

“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road…” (Luke 24.32-35)

The afflictions of doubt, defeat, and despair are ones we all must endure. What defines us in these moments is not our own strength, but upon whom we lean for strength. When we reach out to God, He will not push us away.

When there is doubt, he will bring certainty.

When we feel despair, he will supply hope.

When we suffer defeat, he will transform it to victory.

As you read the word each day, make note of how God demonstrated his steadfast love toward those who served Him in times past. To download a free PDF worksheet to use for your own encouragement, click here.

So we do not lose heart. 

Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

~ 2 Corinthians 4.16-18

Don’t forget to download this free printable for your personal study!