The past couple weeks I have felt discouraged by my sin.  How is it that after over 25 years of learning from and growing in the Lord, I’m still struggling with impatience, anxiety, and selfishness?  I could blame it on the circumstances of COVID-19 or my weariness with social distancing.  But, I know those aren’t the problem, they are simply exposing what lies within. 

I’ve likened this struggle to a mountain climb.  I’m no longer at the base, nor am I close to reaching the top. I’m somewhere in the middle.  In my discouragement, I can look back and feel my progress is insignificant and my efforts worthless.  I can believe the mountain top is too far away and the journey too difficult.  Giving up or giving in can often seem like the best option.  But, the Lord has been kind to encourage me with His truth.   Though the distance traveled seems small, it is purposeful and worthwhile.  There have been many battles with impatience, anxiety, and selfishness conquered and many lessons learned to strengthen me for the next one. I still struggle with these things, but the number of times they come up and the length of each individual battle has decreased, thanks to the work of the Lord strengthening me on my climb.  He has given me increasing joy as I travel with Him to the place He is leading—a place of ultimate freedom from my sin.   "You, oh Lord, make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). 

The top of the mountain, that place of full freedom, still seems SO far, but He has promised I WILL make it there.  He has promised, if I call on Him, He will walk with me all the way (Joshua 1:9, Psalm 23:4, Deuteronomy 31:6, Matthew 28:20) , will catch me when I stumble along the path (Psalm 37:24, 2 Samuel 22:37, Isaiah 41:13, Psalm 145:14), and will carry me when I feel like I can’t walk anymore (Isaiah 40:11, Isaiah 63:9, Isaiah 46:4, Luke 4:11).  He has purchased that mountain top experience--my ultimate freedom from sin--and He promises joy as I am sanctified on the journey, even if that journey seems SLOW, and long and hard.  

In much the same way as the Lord encouraged the Israelites to remember all He’d done to bring them out of slavery in Egypt and to trust in Him and His promises for their future provision and joy, He is also encouraging me to look back on all He has conquered for me in my struggle with impatience, anxiety, and selfishness and to look ahead with hope and faithfulness to the mountain top He has promised to get me to.  If you’re feeling discouraged by a particular struggle, I pray you’re able to do the same and to experience joy, peace, and encouragement in the process.  By His power and grace, you have overcome and been given much! And by His strength and love, He WILL, if you call on Him, conquer that mountain and give you joy, peace, and freedom unmeasured (Romans 8:37, 1 John 5:4-5, 1 Corinthians 15:57). 

By Katie Miller

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