When courage dies…

There is a huge difference in a bad hair day and a day that seems hopeless.  I read in Proverbs this verse ” A man’s courage can sustain his broken body, but when courage dies, what hope is left?” I have several friends asking this question of hope and feeling hopeless about a situation.  As humans when we face life challenges that seem too much to bear our mind and body responds in the familiar.  We cope with the skills we were taught and what we tried in the past.  We go back into the recesses of our brain unconsciously and year after year respond and act accordingly because it’s all we know.  We are creatures of habit.  Some habits are great, and other habits are actually working against us.

When the Israelites were travelling to the Promised Land they ran across a problem.  No food.  Imagine waking up with no food on the table, and no food for your children, and all your neighbors had the same problem.  You have no local food pantry, no relatives to call on, and no prospects of help but God.  So Moses cries out to God, and God feeds His people manna from heaven.

I didn’t sleep well last night, and prayed for many things, for many of my friends.  It was one of those prayers where I asked Jesus to please reveal Himself to us.  Jesus what is the answer? “I lie awake at night thinking of you – of how much you have helped me-and how I rejoice through the night beneath the protecting shadow of your wings.  I follow close behind you, protected by your strong right arm.”  Psalms 63: 6-8

This verse is from David, and he wrote this while running away from King Saul who wanted to kill him and living alone in a cave.  He was a wanted man, no friends, and I’m sure at one point he questioned why God anointed him the next King. ” Me a King?”   “I’m more like an outcast.”

How does that apply to us today?  You might not be living in a cave as a wanted person but Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a plan for your life.  “For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.”

What does manna, habits, and caves have to do with each other?

More recently I’ve been more alert to my study of God’s Word, prayer, and worship.  The contrast of not being in His Word daily versus my constant desire to be with Him has been a glaring example of how much it truly matters to feast on His manna daily.  When you’ve been a Christian for a long time we tend to rest on the knowledge of Him we’ve gained through the years, not because we are prideful, but perhaps because we’ve become complacent. “This is good enough”, we reason.  I can say that good enough has not been good enough for the daily happenings in my life. I’m starving and malnourished.  He had manna for me, and I chose not to eat of it.  The habit of searching God’s Word and walking with Him moment by moment in all things instead of worrying, over talking it, ignoring it, being angry has prayerfully moved me in another direction of hope.

I’m hungry and daily need His manna. 

God provides for us nonstop His presence and His Living Word.  I close my eyes and think of David, who God had plans for to be a King, and he found himself in a cave.  What cave are you in?  As Christians we are like David in that He has a plan for us and there is hope in our final outcome, but when we find ourselves in the cave of despair we must develop habits of being in God’s Word, worship, and prayer. 

We can learn a few things from David:

David lied awake at night remembering how God helped him.  Instead of worry, try counting the times He was faithful and brought your through.  Apply His faithfulness to your current situation and trust Him.  Rejoice in who He is, and claim protection in the shadow of His wings.  His strong right arm is holding you.

God never kicks us to the curb or abandons us, but we often run from Him, or ignore Him.  Most of the time we do not do this intentionally, but we are just feeling overwhelmed, busy, and unfocused on the things that truly matter – His Love for us. 

Are you broken? Wounded? Exhausted? Fed up? Feeling lonely? Has your courage died?  Come and drink of Jesus and eat of His manna – the Living Word daily and see how old habits will be changed and His peace will consume you.  Even when you are angry, Jesus will listen, and His Word will provide for you.  Don’t wait to come to Him when you feel better, come to the great physician today, and allow His love to wash over you.  It may not change your circumstances for the moment, but it will change you.  In changing you, God can work in all the things you face.  Perhaps He will teach you a new perspective, reveal a habit that needs to change, or His Word will give you courage to make life altering decisions for the better.

I have received a request from a reader for Bible studies to dig deeper in God’s Word.  Will you please send your favorite Bible studies – the title and information about the study through comments.  We can keep a list, and folks can read what others are studying.  If you want to remain private send to my email, and I will copy and paste for readers.  Remember you can get to comments by scrolling down from the post, and at the end hit the word “comment”.

5 comments

  1. Wonderful words today! So enriching! A ten week Bible study that I’ve been working on for 14 or so weeks(work at your own pace – lots of reading – you can watch videos when you finish a week) is Cookies on the Lower Shelf by Pam Gillaspie through Precept Ministries. I am working on Part 3 – a survey of the New Testament(no prerequisites) but parts 1 and 2 are surveys of the Old Testament. I am providing a link. It can be done as an individual or small group. http://store.precept.org/p-1629-cookies-on-the-lower-shelfpart-3-matthew-revelation.aspx The connections it has provided, the geography it has taught and the overall tone of the study have made the New Testament come alive!

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  2. I really needed to read this as I sat waiting at an appointment filled with anxiety. Anyone have any suggestions on overcoming fear and anxiety when faced with life’s trials, tribulations, and challenges?

    Thanks for the Bible Study suggestion Lucy.

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  3. Two suggestions come to mind Toni. The Beth Moore Bible study “Believing God” is powerful and you are given tools to not just ‘believe in God’ but to ‘believe God’ and what His Word says and apply it to your life!!! This study is at our local Lifeway bookstore and can also be ordered online from http://www.lifeway.com. I also just finished a wonderful book by Mark Batterson, the pastor of National Community Church in Washington DC, titled The Circlemaker. Not your typical book on prayer….excellent and refreshing….I promise it will build up your prayer life!! And that always helps with anxiety!! Hope these resources help!! Our God is faithful !!!!

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    • Melinda,
      I knew you would know! 🙂 Toni – Melinda is truly an expert on what study is good for what. Also, Melinda, could you share with readers IBC small groups for women coming up in the fall, how to join? That would be close for Toni! Toni be on the look out.
      Anna

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