Staying Warm: Encouragement for Overwhelmed Christians
“Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15
“Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” John 13:34
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests…be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” Ephesians 6:18
YES! All of this!
With all my heart, I want to do these things. I really do, but have you looked around lately? Watched the news? Scrolled through your social media feed for even five seconds?
There’s so much hurt right now, so much to be done, and so much to pray about. It’s overwhelming, and if your tendency—like mine—is not only to feel for, but with everyone, it’s enough to tempt you to despair, to just flip the little sign on the door of your heart over to ‘closed’ and lock up against the world so you’ll have something left for you and yours.
The Bible tells us that in the last days, the love of many will grow cold (Matthew 24:12), and I’ve got to be honest. I can see how that might happen, even in the warmest of hearts.
So, what do we do? How do we soldier-ambassadors for the Kingdom stay warm out there in the dark, in the cold?
We keep moving.
Relying on the Holy Spirit to guide and empower us (Philippians 2:13), we keep praying, we keep serving, and we keep giving out pieces of ourselves, trusting God to replace what our obedience costs us like he sustained the widow and her son when it seemed their reserves would run out (1 Kings 17:7-16).
He’ll do it. He is doing it, and if we allow ourselves look back for just a moment, we’ll see He’s also bringing results.
You’ve heard it a million times and have probably said it to others, but that’s because this profound truth bears repeating: God is busy, even now, working all things—the things we want and the things we don’t—together for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
God. Not us.
Oh, friends, there’s joy in that! There’s peace in that! There’s rest and release for our oh-so-weary hearts in that!
Serving God isn’t about praying harder—still not sure what that means—or burning yourself out or taking on burdens only He can bear. It’s about obedience, squashing superstition, ignoring expectation, and doing what God tells you to do as an individual. It’s about praying as you feel led, serving others as you feel led to serve, spending energy and emotion as the Holy Spirit stirs it within you, and leaving the rest up to Him. Anything more or less is rebellion.
Remember, God has set apart an entire people unto Himself (1 Peter 2:9-10). He has a whole Body to work with in the form of the Church, or those who have put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, made up of men and women of different ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds with different gifts, abilities, interests, and passions (1 Corinthians 12). It’s not only futile, but vanity to think that any one of us must, or even can fix things on our own.
Even if we could, even if we did, who would get the glory then? People who don’t deserve it. That’s who.
Nope. It’s about Him. All of this is about Him.
Listen, life here on earth, with all its hurt and heartache, is only a breath, no matter how distant the horizon may seem (Psalm 144:4)), and when it’s over, we get to spend forever—FOREVER—in the presence of our good, good Father, basking in His light and love (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Until then, we have one job to do, and it’s not to fix, convince, impress, or manipulate anyone or anything. It’s to keep our collective spotlight bright through individual submission and obedience to the Holy Spirit in all circumstances and train that spotlight on God (Jude 1:24-25), the One in Whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28), the Author and Finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), the One Who has overcome the world (John 16:33).
The morning’s coming, sibs (Psalm 30:5)! Keep moving! By God’s power within us and for His glory, let’s stay and keep each other warm.