Of course, the best place for the follower of Christ to receive encouragement is from the Word of God. We know that God's Word is always true based primarily on the evidence of the vast number of prophecies which have been fulfilled from it. The best prophecies fulfilled in Scripture are the ones that point to our Savior, Jesus Christ. The prophecies of Christ's coming began at the time of the Fall in the Garden of Eden. The last Old Testament prophecies of Christ were heard 400 years before His birth. John the Baptist broke that silence with his arrival on the scene. Isaiah prophesied about Christ about 700 years before His birth. Look at this one from Isaiah 35:3-10:
3 Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble. 4 Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you." 5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped. 6 Then the lame will leap like a deer, And the tongue of the mute will shout for joy... 8 A highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean will not travel on it, But it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. 9 No lion will be there, Nor will any vicious beast go up on it; These will not be found there. But the redeemed will walk there, 10 And the ransomed of the LORD will return And come with joyful shouting to Zion, With everlasting joy upon their heads. They will find gladness and joy, And sorrow and sighing will flee away.Christ accurately fulfilled this prophecy either directly or through His followers. The proof of this is found in the following passages:
Matthew 11:5: "...the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM."
Luke 7:22: "And He answered and said to them, "Go and report to John what you have seen and heard: the BLIND RECEIVE SIGHT, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the POOR HAVE THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THEM."
Acts 3:8: "With a leap he stood upright and began to walk; and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God."
Because Christ accurately fulfilled this and many other prophecies, He proved that God's Word is once again and always true. Therefore, as is said in the Isaiah passage above, the exhausted, the feeble and the anxious can "take courage" and "fear not" because God has provided the salvation which will ultimately redeem the faithful from the troubles and terrors of this life.
We are in an interlude between the beginning of salvation and the completion of it. Our purpose during this interlude is to display our confidence in the promises of God so that others will understand their need for His salvation and hopefully surrender to His kingship and receive the hope and salvation available to them.
If we followers of Christ will keep our eyes on the prize which waits at the end of the race (Philippians 3:12-14) and recognize its immense value, then we will be able to endure the temporary troubles (2 Corintians 4:17).
So...hang on tight and know that God is hanging on to you and cannot lose His grip (1 Corinthians 15:58). If you are feeling exhausted, weak or anxious then spend time praying and reading Scripture. Remember that prayer includes listening for the voice of God. Scripture helps you remember the character of God and His faithfulness.
What's bothering you today? Where do you feel hopeless? With what weaknesses are you struggling? What is making you anxious? Have you spent time in prayer? Have you shared your burdens with a confidant who will pray with and for you? Don't struggle alone. Message me if you need to. I will pray for you.
For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet