Hard Pressed

Prayer

There are mornings when I wake up feeling empty.  I do my Bible reading.  I work on my memory verses.  Usually by then, I have an idea of what I need to be writing about.  Some days, nothing comes bubbling up.  I am hard pressed for an idea.

Once in a while I toy with the idea of not writing.  Yet, in good conscious before God, I can't do that.  That is when I turn to my archives.  I read through them until something "clicks" and I know it is what is needed for today.  It is often what I need as well.

Today, I feel weak and uncertain.  I'm comparing myself with how I functioned a mere year ago.  I feel sad and discouraged.  

Finding this devotional changed how I am viewing myself.  I hope it can help you today as well.

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

One of the sayings I heard over and over as a child was “Nobody said it was going to be easy.”  Well, nobody told me life was going to be this hard, either!

Today I was able to make it to church.  Pretty much against my better judgment I decided to try to get there.  Yet almost as soon as I got there, I knew it was a bad idea.  By the time the service was over, I was in a lot of pain.

My neurologist told me that trying to get my muscles working again is going to be a challenge.  Not the words I want to hear! It’s challenging enough the way it is. 

A good friend of mine had shared the above verse with me a few days ago.  It never ceases to amaze me how I hear the right verses at the right time. 

As I lie on the couch, padded with ice packs, the words to this verse come flowing back.  Hard pressed is not such a far-fetched way to describe the pains I feel.  Yet I am promised I will not be crushed.  Perplexed?  You betcha.  I wonder why this is happening to me.  Yet, God says not to be in despair.  I even feel ‘persecuted’ by these current challenges.  But I am not abandoned.  I may be struck down, but I will not be destroyed.

The strength in these words is amazing.  The strength it takes to deal with chronic illness is immense.

So, today, my ‘Encouraging Word’ for each one of you who are dealing with the effects of chronic illness, is “Wow.”  

“Wow, look at how strong you are – you’ve made it this far.”

“Wow, look at how brave you are – feeling weak, but searching out encouragement.”

“Wow, look at how faithful you are – still looking to Him.”  (How do I know that?  Because you are reading this.)

My beloved readers you are stronger than you think you are, braver than you feel you are, and more faithful than you realize.  You may not think it, feel it, or realize it.  But God made each and every one of you a special treasure.

Each one of you is an inspiration.  You are living examples of being  “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  

Each one of you is a gift to the world – an example of keeping on when keeping on feels impossible.

And why is this at all possible?  

Because the God of the universe holds you lovingly in His hand.

Wow.

Father God, Help us to never, ever forget where our strength, our endurance, and our joy comes from.  Help us to give thanks and praise You for all You do in our lives as we keep on keeping on.  Amen and amen.

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