Sometimes all it takes is one bad phone call with a creditor to make all of your dreams of success fly out the window. Especially if the person is rude, or abusive. (Are there any who aren’t?) Threats and bullying do not magically make money appear in your account. How in the world do these people sleep at night?
Many Americans are out of work; housing, utilities, gas and food take most of our money. Throw in some chronic health problems, or sudden illness or injury, and you have a mess.
It’s hard to remember that God is with us in our pain, not just on the other side of it. I have been reading the book of 2 Timothy; the letter Paul wrote to the young minister he had left in charge of the church in Ephesus. Paul wrote the letter while he was in prison, knowing death was in the near future, while Timothy was dealing with everything from fear of Nero to church gossip. Being young, not many thought he was capable of leadership. Although he had a strong background of faith, he needed Paul’s encouragement and affirmation that he was called and anointed for the work of shepherding the people.
Our emotions can be stirred up by hearing or reading motivational material. And it is good for us; it can give us a jump-start when we don’t have the energy to make necessary changes. Encouragement helps. A counseling session can be time well spent, if only for the emotional value of not feeling isolated. It’s when you go home and face the bills, the phone calls, the expenses and repairs that you don’t have the resources for, that all of your motivation erodes. Too much of it day after day, and you will end up in a hopeless cycle of despair. It’s hard to remember that God is our provider; our refuge and strength in times of trouble. Even knowing he has miraculously provided in the past doesn’t always make fear go away. It’s not as tangible as, say, an unexpected windfall that magically erases stacks of overdue bills. Hard, but not impossible to persevere and stay the course, no matter what happens. Laser-like focus is necessary just to keep going. Like Paul we should be able to say: “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7