Are you weary? Are your eyes tired from the tears you’ve been crying? Is your soul heavy with the weight of what you are walking through? Are you desperate for answers? Are you in need of reprieve from this season of life? Are you wanting the ache of your heart to fade away?

 

Are you hungry for something or someone that will at last satisfy and quench the thirsting of your soul? Are you desperate for rest?

 

The storms and valleys of life create a sense of desperation. A sense of longing for something more and complete than we have encountered on their earth in human relationships. This longing is our soul’s innate desire to search for and find God.

 

Today my eyes are weary. Today my soul longs for the comfort of my Lord and Savior. This coming Saturday Zach, my brother, would have turned forty one. Forty one. It’s a hard one as the reality sets in that it’s his second birthday in Heaven. It is a day we choose to celebrate his life, yet it is a season of mourning as well. 

 

Last night Marshall asked me to describe the difference between losing a grandparent and a sibling, as in recent years I have lost both. For me, when I lost Zach, it was like losing a part of my identity. Like losing a part of my history. It’s an ache in the deepest part of me that I hadn’t experienced prior.

 

He was and is my only sibling. And he carries with him the same memories, the same reality of our growing up. It is hard to explain in words, but the closest way I can describe it is an intense feeling of isolation and loneliness. I feel lonely even when surrounded by a room of people. 

 

And the thing is, it is not because of anything anyone has done or not done. It is just a reminder that my heart is in the process of being healed. And with that healing process comes some days that are just down right hard.

 

Yesterday was one of those days. As I talked with Marshall about my mood and behavior yesterday, I found myself questioning how God could choose to use me to do this work of bringing hope to people. How can He use me when I am so broken?

 

Why would He choose me? When I have such a rotten attitude, when I am sad and at times even angry.

 

Marshall reminded me, it’s simply because I am willing to be used. 

 

I am willing. I am willing to bring my mess and all to come before the throne of God morning by morning. I am willing to cry out to God from my loneliest place. I am willing to be broken with you, my readers and my Cup of Hope family. I am willing to be used. 

 

I am willing to admit that I can’t take another step without being strengthened by the power of Christ in me. And I don’t want to make a move that is not in line with what God desires for me.

 

There are many reasons we could feel lonely today. Quarantine, division over politics, weather, fear, pandemic. All of these things are reasons why we could feel weary, worn, burdened. 

 

But in the pain, heartache, desperation and loneliness God beckons us to His word to give us hope, peace and comfort. We can learn from the Apostle Paul’s life.

 

In his letter to the church of Philippi, Paul writes, “I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering.” Philippians 4:12

 

So, maybe you read this and are thinking, “great for you Paul but what’s the secret?” 

 

Lean in, and listen closely. 

 

The secret is divulged in Philippians 4:13 which says, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” 

 

What I believe that Paul is telling the church of Philippi and thus telling us as followers of Jesus Christ, is that living well with the weight of prosperity and living with the weight of poverty or suffering requires a strength that comes from God.

 

Strength to not just survive but to thrive in whatever circumstance we find ourselves comes from the hand of the Father given to the sons and daughters who seek Him, to those who turn their desperate eyes toward Jesus.

 

I can walk through and celebrate Zach’s birthday. With tears and with joy. But not without the strength of Christ. As I cry, remember and rejoice my rejoicing will produce praise to my God who carries me through.

 

The Amplified version of Philippians 4:13 provides even more detail for our deeper understanding of the lifestyle that Paul was demonstrating in how he lived. The amplified version says:

 

“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]”

 

Yes! Yes! And YES!!

 

We are sufficient to face our circumstance whether prosperity or poverty, whether healthy or sick and whether full or hungry.  God gives strength to fulfill His purposes with confident peace.

 

When we set our gaze on Jesus, when we turn our eyes toward Him, we operate out of His sufficiency. He is strong. He is able. He knows all, and sees all. With Christ’s strength we can walk through each and every obstacle or blessing from surrendered humility.

 

So today, I am turning my weary eyes once again to the Father, my source of strength. 

 

As I reflect on these verses and Paul’s reminder that the strength of Christ equips us, the song Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus by Helen Howarth Lemmel has been swirling in my mind. Just as the chorus of the song tells us, as we place our focus on Jesus the things of this earth will fade away – the pain, the hurt, the loneliness, riches, what’s missing and broken. 

 

The lyrics proclaim:

 

O soul, are you weary and troubled?

No light in the darkness you see?

There’s light for a look at the Savior

And life more abundant and free

Through death into life everlasting

He passed, and we follow Him there

O’er us sin no more hath dominion

For more than conqu’rors we are

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

Oh, His grace

His Word shall not fail you, He promised

Believe Him and all will be well

Then go to a world that is dying

His perfect salvation to tell

Oh, tell

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.

 

I encourage you to click on this link and listen to this song by Shane and Shane. https://youtu.be/P1qgyLTH6Xg

 

This is one of those songs that soothes my soul and refocuses my heart on heaven. 

 

The things of this earth will fade away. The hardship and difficulties. The blessings and prosperity. As weighty as these burdens may be, they are no match of the strength of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who took the sins of the world upon His shoulders.

 

If you are feeling weary and worn. If your heart is troubled, I pray that this old hymn will draw your heart to the humble place of the Child of the Most High King. In humility, grab hold of the strength that comes from being in relationship with Jesus Christ. 

 

I don’t pretend to be a scholar. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or to have it all figured out. But just as Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth” (Acts 3:6)

 

What I have I give to you. And what I have that is worth giving to you is a relationship with Jesus Christ, He is all I need. I place my eyes on Him. If you want to know more about Jesus, reach out to me, I would love to introduce Him to you. Or if you are looking for more resources for growing in your faith walk, go to my website, www.stephaniewinslow.com

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