March 25, 2011
“Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.”
2 Corinthians 4:1 (NIV)
In the mid 90’s I chose 2 Corinthians 4:1as my life verse. At the time, God was teaching me a big lesson about truly appreciating where He had me in life. As a mom of several small children I could often be found complaining about the mess, the noise, the lack of “me” time. I thought often about running away, pointing my car at the horizon and driving until the road ran out.
God began showing me that being a mom was about having a ministry to these little people He had given me. When I found this verse, I felt that it summed up in one line all that I needed to remember: It’s only through His mercy that I have these children and—while I am in the midst of my ministry—I should not lose heart, as I was apt to do. I clung to this verse as a spiritual life rope.
Fast forward to the other day as I was doing my Bible study. My circumstances have changed, as circumstances do. I am no longer that young frantic mother. This time I was struggling with something else as I flipped past 2 Corinthians 4:1. My eyes fell to the notation I’d made years ago: “MY LIFE VERSE” it said in all caps. I re-read the familiar verse, but this time I applied my current situation to it.
Years later, I am just as quick to lose heart. I have a ministry that looks different from the one I had then. This one involves new challenges, new feelings of inadequacy. Yet I was reminded again that it is only through His mercy that I have this ministry. And in the midst of this ministry—even as I struggle with challenges and inadequacies—I should not lose heart.
What can we do when we are losing heart in the midst of the ministry God has given us, whatever it might be? I went to scripture and found some answers to this question:
Luke 18:1 tells us we should always pray and not give up.
2 Corinthians 4:16 tells us we should remember that we are being renewed inwardly day by day.
Galatians 6:9 tells us that we should focus on the harvest that will come if we do not give up.
Ephesians 3:12-13 tells us that we should find comfort in the amazing ability we have to approach God with freedom and confidence.
2 Thessalonians 3:13 tells us that we should just keep doing what is right.
And finally Hebrews 12:3 tells us that we should think about Jesus and what He endured on our behalf. Nothing we are going through will compare with that.
These verses help me to keep things in perspective when I lose heart and I hope they will help you, too. Whether you are a single woman caring for an elderly parent, a mom of young children, a professional in a tough job, a wife in a struggling marriage, or a woman chasing after her dreams, it’s easy to lost heart from time to time. It’s not whether we will, it’s what we’ll do about it when we do. Armed with these verses we can remember that God in His mercy gave us a ministry, and we can live out our callings without losing heart if we will only keep turning to Him.
Dear Lord, I know I am where You want me, that You gave me this ministry. And I know that You do not want me to lose heart but to persevere. Help me to remember to focus on You when I want to run away - to find my strength in You. Thank You for Your mercy. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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Look up the verses mentioned in today’s devotion and jot them down in your journal or on index cards. Go back to them when you feel like you are losing heart.
Have I recognized the ministry God has given me as a ministry?
Psalm 18:45, “They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strongholds.” (NIV)
I Samuel 17:32, “David said to Saul, ‘Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him.’” (NIV)
© 2011 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Friday, 25 March 2011.