Faith, choice, encouragement

On the PF forum, a poster decried the lack of help she was seeking a year earlier. Though her post was sarcastic and biting, I tried to respond positively. You judge how well I did.

Aside from dividing the paragraphs up and removing the name, the text is the same as the post. Starts here:

I’m sorry you didn’t find the help you needed, when you needed it. I don’t know how people responded at the time, so I’ll not go into the merit of whether that response was appropriate or not.

Encouragement is an important part of Christian fellowship. Just today, I got a quote in my inbox where Swindoll wrote, “Encouragement is awesome. It (can) actually change the course of another person’s day, week, or life.”

I recognize how much I need to work on giving people more encouragement, and I’ve made an effort to speak a kind word and praise others for their good efforts as much as possible. Still, there’s always room for improvement.

It would appear that need is still in your heart, else you would not have come back to the PF forum. Unless your post was from bitterness and resentment and you just wanted to strike out. It could be taken that way, but I prefer to think better of your post.

You asked about the meaning of faith. Every day I face severe challenges to my work in the Lord. I wake up and have to decide if I will trust the Lord to take care of my needs and give me strength for the difficulties and continue to work in this heart of mine that prefers a different direction than what the Lord has shown me. I often feel like a stroke victim whose members won’t respond to commands from the brain. But I keep making the effort because I know it’s the Lord’s promise that will never fail and his strength that will not flag.

Faith implies faithfulness (in the NT, same word in the Greek), hanging in there in spite of worldly evidence to the contrary of what the Word says, evidence that things won’t work out for those who love God. I don’t see it happening now, but I keep going forward.

How easy it would be to give up! And many do. Which makes it that much more difficult, but the road must often be tread alone. And wondering if even God is on the road, but somewhere down the way I’ll discover that he was holding up the bridges as I passed over them, keeping the trolls and troglodytes at bay while I plied the dark, beating down the boulders ahead of me so I could make it through.

Regardless of what others do, I am responsible for my choices. Even when I feel alone, and were the world awash in perfidy, the choice is mine, and the decision remains my property, for good or ill, for faith or disbelief, for service or self-pity, for God or egotism. And as much as I might throw blame at others or accuse that I have been irredeemably damaged, down deep I know that no one but me controls my thoughts and my will. The exercise of free will is mine and even when I deliver it to another to think or feel or choose for me, that too was my choice.

May our God give you light for your dark moment, love for your neediness, joy for your sorrow.

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him” (Psalm 28:7).

J. Randal Matheny

Be pithy.

What do you think?