As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:13-14 NIV).
Friend to Friend
Some of my sweetest childhood memories are found in my grandmother’s garden. She’d send me out with a basket and scissors to gather all the flowers I wanted. I’d breathe in the scent of dozens of hyacinths blooming at my feet. Together we’d pick carrots and home-grown corn for the best summer meals I’ve ever tasted.
At my house, I gathered shiny red berries from our strawberry patch. I learned to ride a two-wheeler by the lush bed of daffodils lining our sidewalk. Gardens meant family. Deliciousness. Beauty. Growing up. Gardens held love.
I wanted to create those same moments for my own family. For years I weeded and watered too many plantings to count. Yet my flowers failed to flourish. Potted vegetables yielded just a few bites of produce all season. When a fresh bloom raised my hopes, it vanished overnight in a hungry deer’s belly. I’ve downgraded my gardening efforts to weed control and a few pots of hardy annuals that even I can’t kill!
Perhaps you, too, know the struggle of working hard with nothing to show for it. You follow a stringent budget, but medical bills put you back in debt. After weeks of salads and workouts, the scale won’t budge. Counseling brings no lasting change to your marriage. Despite faithful love and guidance, your prodigal makes self-destructive choices. You feel deeply discouraged and ready to quit.
When we feel tempted to give up on ourselves, our goals, or the people in our life, God’s Word shows us we’re not alone.
- Hannah despaired when year after year, she suffered the pain of infertility and abuse from her husband’s other wife who “provoked her till she wept and would not eat” (1 Samuel 1:7).
- Moses grew frustrated as a leader when his people rebelled instead of trusting God for their needs. He prayed, “What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? …I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me” (Numbers 11:11,14).
- After calling down a miraculous display of God’s power—and the death threats that followed—Elijah sat down and “prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors’” (1 Kings 19:4).
- Hagar submitted to Abram and Sarai’s faithless plan to bear them a child. In the resulting family turmoil, she was sent into the desert with too little water to survive. God found her sobbing and waiting for her son to die (Genesis 21:16).
- Mark chapter 5 describes a woman “who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years.” A string of doctors took all she had, but “instead of getting better she grew worse.”
Throughout the Bible we see men and women who reached their breaking point. In our own struggles, how do we carry on? What will sustain our faith when no relief is in sight?
We first reject the lie that “God helps those who help themselves.” Instead, we put our trust in a merciful God who assures us,
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust (Psalm 103:13-14).
God knows our limits. He’s fully aware of our fatigue and our pain. He sees past the brave face we wear to pretend we’re okay. God wants us to approach him with humble hearts that are “poor in spirit” and fully dependent on Him. (Matthew 5:3)
Next, we embrace our weakness as a gateway to God’s mighty action in our lives. It’s in our lack that we meet the Provider.
Sickness invites God’s comfort and healing. In our sin and shame, we find redemption through Christ.
When abandoned and alone, we’re embraced by the Father who loves us from “everlasting to everlasting.” (Psalm 103:17)
Confusion is met with perfect wisdom.
When enemies attack, our Deliverer saves.
At the moment we admit we have nothing left, we can find everything in Jesus.
Today, let’s set aside our attempts to be tough and self-sufficient. To pursue lesser loves that cannot satisfy. To shine up our image instead of letting God wash us clean. Let’s discover the grace that is more than enough for all we need.
Dear Lord, despite every effort, I’m stuck in my tracks. I’m exhausted and desperate for help. Step into my struggle today. Provide for my needs and protect me from harm. Display Your power in my life. Make Your name great as You do more than I could ask or imagine.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Where do you need breakthrough in your life today?
How is God calling you to trust and depend on Him in that situation?
More from the Girlfriends
Joanna is passionate to help you meet God intimately in prayer. Her latest book, 101 Prayers for Women, holds “Spirit-filled prayers to bless and encourage your heart.” This lovely hardcover book holds scriptures and prayers to put words to the hurts and fears, hopes and joys of your life and the women you love.
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