The Roots of Faith in the Middle of Discouragement

Have you ever had a week so discouraging, you text people to pray for you?

Me too.

In fact, last week was that week for me. Unexpected, the family we rent our small half-duplex to moved out. Our 10 year old daughter was hit in the temple with a softball before a game and doctors thought she had a fractured skull. A decision that would positively impact our family’s finances was put off again. I was discouraged.

So I sent the same text to four spiritual mentors in my life and asked them to pray. And their prayers and direction and wisdom shifted my heart. One of those instructions was to take a few minutes and read two Psalms aloud, with feeling. “Let er rip” was the exact instruction. I turned to Psalm 57 and gave it everything I had.

57 Be merciful to me, God. Be merciful to me because I come to you for protection.

I will come to you as a bird comes for protection under its mother’s wings until the trouble has passed.

2 I cry out to God Most High,
to the God who does everything for me.

3 He sends help from heaven and saves me. He punishes those who attack me. Selah God sends me his love and truth.

4 Enemies are like lions all around me. I must lie down among them.

Their teeth are like spears and arrows. Their tongues are as sharp as swords.

5 God is supreme over the skies. His greatness covers the earth.

6 They set a trap for me. I am very worried.

They dug a pit in my path.
But they fell into it themselves. Selah

7 My heart is right, God. My heart is right. I will sing and praise you.

8 Wake up, my soul. Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn.

9 Lord, I will praise you among the nations.
I will sing songs of praise about you to all the nations.

10 Your love is so great it reaches to the skies. Your truth reaches to the clouds.

11 God, you are supreme over the skies.
Let your glory be over all the earth. (ICB Translation)

I need to confess, my discouragement was rooted in finances – the lost rent (and impending mortgage payment), the cost of medical tests, the continued waiting for a decision that would impact our family. Maybe your discouragement is centered elsewhere, but what God spoke to me in these moments of affirming His word was: faith in Christ roots me in loving people and pulls out the roots of loving things.

When our heart is right, our faith is strong. Let me encourage those of you who are facing financial uncertainty or difficulty – I get it, I have not only been there – I am there right now. So let’s talk. Root yourself in God’s love and truth. These are profound gifts from God. Read two Psalms aloud, with feeling (maybe go to your car or your family or teammates might think you’ve lost it). Focus, really focus on giving thanks. In John 6:11, “Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.” Ann Voskamp talks about this moment in her book One Thousand Gifts: Gave thanks. I’d never considered those two words, the bridge words there in the middle, the crossing over that took the not enough and made it enough. Gave thanks. Eucharisteo. Jesus embraces his not enough…Gives thanks…And there is more than enough. More than enough! Eucharisteo always, always precedes the miracle. And who doesn’t need a miracle like that every day?

My prayer is that at all times, your faith will be rooted in love and truth.

 

Psalm 57

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