“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!”- Proverbs 15:23
One of my favorite moments each Sunday morning takes place following our service. I have discovered a great opportunity and joy in connecting with people before we head off to our various activities and destinations. Receiving updates on how life is going for someone, hearing what the Spirit highlighted to their hearing from the morning message and pausing to stand together in prayer for a specific issue, brings a wealth of riches that cannot be valued. On one particular Sunday with one particular person this blessing time reached even greater dimensions than I thought possible!
A young man stopped to ask for prayer as he had been battling some “anxiety” in this season. His heart cry moved me deeply, as the war on anxiety is something I have wrestled through (as I am sure many of us have) over the years. I have often shared with those dealing with this formidable enemy how Psalm 94:19 became my best friend through life’s many worries and weights, “In the multitude of anxieties within me, Your comforts, Lord, delight my soul.” As I prayed earnestly for my brother and friend, I declared something I had never processed before which not only helped me greatly, but I believe will deliver hope to you. At some point in the prayer I boldly professed, “Lord, help my friend to not only be engaged in the moments of battle when anxiety hits hardest, but to know that there is a future hope and victory for His life to believe for.” In all my thoughts, prayers, and conversations on the issue of “anxiety” I had always focused on addressing the anxiety as it hits and never applied the bigger picture of God’s grander plan down the road. What enlightened and strengthened me even as I uttered those words in prayer is that we are not just FACING MOMENTS, but we are MOVING THROUGH SEASONS.
As I look at my own life, considering both the current place and the coming promise, I have spoken to many people who are going through a “season” of change, of challenge, of discouragement, of lack, of chaos, or of the unknown. Over the last few Sundays, during my favorite time of the day (greeting and meeting people following service), I have listened to people processing present struggles, deficits, and realities: A mother with young kids wondering if she can ever get time to breathe and rest; A person who started a job feeling a bit inadequate in their new surroundings; A couple waiting for escrow to close on the house they bought so they can begin the remodeling; A person whose been battling flu-like symptoms for a few weeks, doing whatever is needed to get better; A family who has dealt with wave after wave of trial, holding firm to God’s grace to see them through the storm.
Despite each reality being different in need and scope, each one needed a similar encouragement to the truth I prayed for my brother: That this is just “a season” and that God will lead them through open doors into rest, deliverance, and promise! As the wisest person in the history of humanity, King Solomon, once spoke through the utterance of the Holy Spirit in Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
Be encouraged this day, in this very hour, in your moment of need (even if we are not face to face and it is not following a Sunday service) that the same God who brought Joseph from prison to power in Egypt; who brought Moses from herding sheep to leading Israel; who brought Ruth from regular widow to a redeemed woman of honor; and who brought the disciples from a place of deep sorrow (in Jesus’ death) to undeniable joy (in Jesus’ resurrection); will bring you out of this season of loss, pain, bewilderment, unfulfillment, unemployment, relational strife, illness/disease, and poverty. Be blessed to know He is present in your need, as Psalms 46:1 states, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” And be encouraged by the truth that He is perfect at all times and in all seasons, as Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”