When faced with doubt, there’s an app for that. The Lord is with us.
James D. Roecker
Conversations are a part of life. Conversations might be good, great, awkward, terrible, emotional, or routine. We have had them with our inner circle of friends and family, with the people who live in our neighborhood, or with those who live down the hall in the college dorm.
As we think about all those conversations, would we say the majority of our comments could be considered encouragement or criticism? The natural tendency is to remember all the times we have been critical in conversation. The positive and encouraging conversations we have had with people are forgotten. The devil is quick to remind us how terrible we have been to family members, friends, and people we just met at the gas station. His next step is to get us thinking that God will never show us any kindness because of how deep into sin we have gotten ourselves. We doubt God could ever forgive us. All of a sudden the certainty of salvation we have through faith in Jesus and what he has accomplished on the cross is an uncertain thing in our minds.
Satan’s assaults against us cannot stand because of Christ’s conquering victory over the evil one, sin, and death. We have the certainty of a new life of faith through the waters of our baptism. We are encouraged and strengthened by the Word of our God. The psalmist writes, “You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry” (Psalm 10:17). The Lord encourages us by promising to hear us when we call to him in prayer. The Lord encourages us by promising eternal peace in heaven.
But we are not in heaven yet. We have life ahead, and we don’t know what the future may hold. It is frustrating at times not knowing the future—what might come next in life, good or bad. As the troubles and struggles roll in, we might ask ourselves: “Do I have what it takes?”
There may be collegians who struggle with school, who are unsure of their currently declared major. Similar questions arise: “Do I have what it takes to complete a degree in fisheries and water resources, health promotion/wellness, or dietetics?” Lack of focus and motivation could be the culprit behind such feelings. Uncertainty could come because of tough courses or challenging professors. Doubting one’s abilities may stem from trying to balance school, work, and social time. Thinking about the future, about what it means to be an adult with a full-time job after college, can bring some hesitation. The worst critic is most often inside. We question if we have what it takes to get through life on our own.
But encouragement comes from God and his Word: “ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11).
We receive all the encouragement we will ever need from our perfect Lord who reigns over all things for our good. He is with us every step of this life, encouraging us as we live in view of our heavenly home.
James Roecker, pastor at Divine Word, Plover, Wisconsin, does campus ministry work at UW-Stevens Point, Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
This is the final article in a six-part series on life apps the Bible has given Christians.
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Author: James D. Roecker
Volume 104, Number 3
Issue: March 2017
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