The devotional below is one that my mom sent to me from the website http://www.girlfriendsingod.com/. I wish that the words below fully reflected how my heart felt right at this moment….but in truth I am struggling. Without getting into all the “discouragements” we are facing right now I want to instead remind myself (and you) that even when we are in the valley, God is with us. I am praying the prayer below for my family today and I hope that this is an encouragement to you too.
Friend to Friend
It was advertised that the devil was putting his tools up for sale. When the day of the sale came, each tool was priced and laid out for public inspection. And what a collection it was. Hatred, envy, jealousy, deceit, pride, and lying ... the inventory was treacherous. Off to one side was a harmless-looking tool priced higher than all the rest, even though it was obviously more worn than any other tool the devil owned. "What's the name of this tool?" asked one of the customers. "That," the devil replied, "is discouragement." The customer asked, "But why have you priced it so high?" The devil smiled and explained, "Because discouragement is more useful to me than all the others. I can pry open and get inside a man's heart with that tool when I can't get near him with any other. It's badly worn because I use it on almost everyone, since so few people know it belongs to me."
The valleys in life are lined with disappointment and discouragement. Some people seem to thrive on adversity, emerging from their valley with greater strength and deeper faith. Others stumble and fall, giving in to discouragement and dropping out of the race. The difference in outcome is determined by the way we choose to handle discouragement.
We must respond to each valley with trust and faith. The word "trust" means "to lie helpless, face down" and is the picture of a servant waiting for his master's command or a soldier yielding himself to a conquering general. "Heart" refers to "the center of one's being." In other words, to trust God completely means that from the very center of our being, from the very core of our existence, we trust Him, totally abandoning ourselves in childlike faith to Him and His plan. We come to God, holding nothing in our hands, with one word in our heart - "whatever!" Whatever You want me to do, Lord, I will do. Whatever You want me to say, Lord, I will say. Whatever You want me to think, Lord, I will think. Whatever path You have for me, Lord, I will walk."
If you are like me, you sometimes think you don't have enough faith. The amount of faith is not nearly as important as the right kind of faith - faith in God alone. Faith does not rest on what we have done, but on what Christ has already done on the cross and in our lives. Faith builds on the victories of yesterday to help us face the valleys of today and the storms of tomorrow. Faith does not bypass pain. It does, however, empower us to deal with pain. Faith steps up to the bat
and invites the opponent to throw his best pitch. Sometimes faith strengthens us, and other times, surprises us. Great faith is forged in the deepest valleys, beginning where our strength and power end.
I love the story of a missionary family, home on furlough and visiting friends. When it was time for dinner, the mother of the missionary children called her kids in. When her son burst through the door, she took one look at his hands and said, "Son, go wash those hands. They are dirty and covered in germs." With a scowl on his face, the little boy headed to the sink muttering, "Germs and Jesus! Germs and Jesus! That's all I hear about and I've never seen either one!" While we tend to say that seeing is believing, faith says that believing is seeing. Doubt creates mountains; faith moves them. Faith produces trust that shatters fear and leaves no room for discouragement.
Father, I am so discouraged. Life is just not turning out like I thought it would. I have had so many disappointments and it seems like I face one valley after another. I need You and the hope that only You can give. Help me to trust You will all of my heart - not just part of it. Teach me how to walk by faith and not by sight. Today, I come to You with a "yes" in my heart for whatever You have planned for my life.
In Jesus' name,