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Encouragement for discouraging days

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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A cloudy day in Dallas taken from an office building (credit: Jim Denison)

Are you in need of an encouraging word today?  It’s a gray, cloudy day in Dallas.  Our oldest son is still recovering from the effects of radiation, with nearly two months to wait for the CAT scan that will tell us if all the cancer is gone.  I’ve been traveling a great deal lately and am a little tired.  You probably know the feeling.

Today’s essay by Oswald Chambers was just what I needed: “Faith is not a pathetic sentiment, but robust vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love.  You cannot see him just now, you cannot understand what he is doing, but you know him.  Shipwreck occurs where there is not that mental poise which comes from being established on the eternal truth that God is holy love.  Faith is the heroic effort of your life, you fling yourself in reckless confidence on God.”

Then I turned to Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling, where I was directed to Isaiah 41.  This remarkable text begins, “I am the Lord your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you'” (v. 13).  Keep reading: “‘Do not be afraid, O worm Jacob, O little Israel, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord” (v. 14).  How will he help them?  “See, I will make you into a threshing sledge, new and sharp, with many teeth” (v. 15a).  Such a sledge was a fearsome implement in the ancient Middle East, used for farming as well as for warfare (think Sherman tank).

What would God do with them once he transformed them?  “You will thresh the mountains and crush them, and reduce the hills to chaff.  You will winnow them, the wind will pick them up, and a gale will below them away.  But you will rejoice in the Lord and glory in the Holy One of Israel” (vs. 15b-16).

You may be a “worm” today, but you’ll be a tank in God’s hands one day and victory is assured.  In the meantime, keep remembering that your Father is “holy love.”  Fling yourself onto his omnipotence in “reckless confidence.”  And know that you can do everything through the One who gives you strength (Philippians 4:13).  This is the promise, and the invitation, of God.