The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
(John 10:10 NIV)
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure how to start off this post. It’s going to be a bit more personal than my previous ones, but I do hope and pray that sharing my experience will bless and encourage whoever is reading in some way.
So, today I started my summer internship, and well, it was hard. I was able to spend the first few hours of the day meeting other interns, which was definitely my favorite part of the day. I met undergrad and grad students, and I always find it fascinating to learn about other people, especially their goals and dreams. At this point, I was convinced I was going to love this place.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love it now. I really appreciate the fact that I am here and what my assignment is. My co-workers are very kind, hardworking, and friendly. What shocked me was my workload, however. I expected to have assignments, deadlines and projects, but I just wasn’t expecting to get so much work so soon. I felt I entered this internship fairly, with an open mind, but now I was thinking, “God why did you bring me here? I can’t handle this.” The last thing I needed was stress in the summer.
Let me now trace back to a blog post I wrote a couple weeks ago called “The Power of Encouragement.” One of the points I expressed was that I’ve seen God use other believers in my life to encourage me in different ways that I knew had to be from Him–often times, He uses these people to meet me right where I am.
Over the weekend, preparing for the internship, I naturally felt nervous, yet I was able to see how God provided for me while I was stuck in this emotion. A ministry leader I hadn’t spoken to or seen in years messaged me just to say that he’s been keeping my brothers and I in prayer during the past few years. A friend from a past retreat also reached out over the weekend to share a scripture that was on her heart and just to say she’s praying for me. Words cannot express how much I needed their encouragement. I wouldn’t have even thought that these two would have reached out to me. Nevertheless, I think this is a great example of how obeying God’s direction and acting on the commands that He places on your heart can greatly minister to others and ultimately reflect His awesome love.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. (2 Cor 1:3-4 NIV)
Looking back to this moment after a long day gave me encouragement.
But then I started thinking, what if this never even happened? What do we do when we don’t clearly see encouragement in our lives? How do we gain hope when there seems to be none or nobody in sight? Although God is always present, sometimes it’s hard to be reminded of His goodness and comfort. It’s easy to feel distant from Him.
In those times, I think it’s important to remember and understand one, simple fact:
God is a good God. No matter what is happening in life, God is a good God. This is a fact that never changes.
We have access to a good God as believers. But Satan can catch us in a snare–that is, a trap–of disappointment and discouragement. It is essential that we understand that this is not of God. Negative thoughts, fears, and insecurities are not of God. It’s not enough to even acknowledge that these are attacks from the enemy–we must reject these emotions in the name of Jesus. There is power in that name.
We may be asked to do big tasks on this earth–ones we feel completely unqualified for. Yet God has equipped us to do all things that come in our path. He’s equipped us with the grace to get through the day before it has even started.
This is what encourages me. I don’t know what tomorrow holds, but God hasn’t given me life to worry about it. He’s given me rest to rejoice in it.
Now it’s hard for me to obey. It’s hard for me to accept this truth I cannot always see, but faith itself is the hope in things that are not seen (Hebrews 11:1). So I’m taking a stand to hold onto the Lord’s promises, remembering that He has provided for me before (even this past weekend!)
In all of this, I realize how essential it is to submit my way to the Lord. My way–my mind, my actions–and He will bring it to pass. I have a long summer ahead, but I’ve already been thanking Him for all the breakthroughs, strengths, and lessons that will come to pass. I realize how much my life is not about me at all. I’ve been so worried about my performance that I became caught in the enemy’s trap of despair. But when I realize that there’s a reason God has placed me in this particular experience, my performance is no longer this heavy thing looming above my head–rather it’s my performance for God that counts. I don’t know why He brought me here, but I trust that if I submit my ways to Him in all things, He will bring this to pass and in some way, me being here will glorify Him.
My experiences all come down to a choice: falling into the enemy’s trap–where my fears and my doubts reside–or serving God–my Rock, my Redeemer–instead.
I thought I’d end this post with a song I feel fits the topic. Listen and read the lyrics–I feel it has some serious, thought-provoking ideas to take away.
Jaeson Ma | Glory