It is not difficult to understand the comparison between being discouraged, “weary and heavy-laden” (Matthew 11:28) with being exhausted and lost in the desert with little hope of survival. We also understand how one’s perspective can be so easily affected by our circumstances. For example, a sip of water means so much more to the one lost in the desert than it does for the one sitting comfortably in his favorite chair watching the ball game and feeling a little thirsty.
How encouraging it is to know that as broken and weighed down with despair as we can be, there is a Source of Living Water! Jesus said, “…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst…” (John 4:14). The grammar Jesus uses means a continuous drinking, not just one sip and “you’re good to go.”
Jesus is that Living Water, that One Who declares to us all things (John 4:25 26). I know that life is hard, sometimes; and sometimes, it’s really, really hard. However, if you keep close to the Source of life giving water for your soul, you will make it out of the desert!
Remember, God loves you and so do I.
Our purpose is to encourage the discouraged! Can there be anything more discouraging than to realize that with all the suffering in this life, there is no hope for what comes next?
Throughout Scripture we find examples of those who stand condemned before God. Even among God’s people, or those who thought they were God’s people, we find such examples (Matthew 7:21-23). Jeremiah warned God’s people, who were circumcised as newborns, to circumcise their hearts (Jeremiah 4:4), lest they be destroyed because while they were circumcised physically, they were not so spiritually (Jeremiah 9:25).
The apostle Paul gives us our word of encouragement today. He warned Christians not to allow themselves to be taken captive by something other than Christ (Colossians 2:8). In the next several verses the apostle continues a theme first introduced in chapter 1 concerning the preeminence of Christ. In his argument, he points out that Christians have been circumcised spiritually (Colossians 2:11), and that this happened when we were baptized, God doing the work of salvation here (Colossians 2:12).
So, with the encouragement that our eternal future can be secure, we can face whatever this life throws at us. Never forget, God loves you and so do I!
In 2 Corinthians 1:8 Paul said: For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life… Have you ever felt this kind of despair? The burdens may or may not be literally beyond your strength, or threaten your life, but the despair is as strong; it feels like it’s this bad.
Paul would go on to say that God delivered them from that peril, and He is One upon Whom we may hope. However, our word of encouragement today comes from another context.
The story of David and Goliath is well known and very popular. David confidently informed Goliath that he was going to kill him so that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel (1 Kings 17:46). He then says, “…and that all this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord’s…” (1 Kings 17:47).
Let God fight this battle. Let Him deliver you from this despair. He will, if you will be His, because He loves you, and so do I.