Don't Lose Heart

Sometimes I just don't understand life and the way God works. Over the past few months, I have seen some wonderful changes in my career as a writer. New clients were approaching me from out of the blue. I was finding article assignments that seemed to have my name written all over them. Book sales were increasing, and my blog subscribers list was growing every day.

"Finally," I said. "People are starting to find me. People are hearing about me. With my name out there, I can accomplish so much more for the Lord."

Needless to say, I was excited. So excited, in fact, that I turned down an offer for a job that paid much better. With this change in my career came new feelings toward God. He's been working on me for a while now about worry and walking each day in His strength. I have not arrived, by any means, but I feel that I have made some progress. I've become more in tune with Him and have found it easier to recognize when I'm messing up.

You can imagine my surprise and confusion when everything in my writing seemed to come to a stand still. My clients finished their projects. My blog subscribers slowed down. And the articles, while there are still plenty, have become more difficult to write due to circumstances beyond my control. For example, I just finished typing out an article yesterday. When I hit the "save" button, it took me to a page that read, "Invalid URL." No matter how many times I tried to back up or to recover my work, it still directed me to the same page. I lost everything and now have to re-write the article. Things like that have been happening all week. I received a call from a church wanting to book me to speak at a meeting. When I got the message, I was thrilled and returned the phone call immediately. I left a message. I didn't hear back from them for several days, so I called again and left another message. I still haven't heard back. I don't know if they changed their minds or what, but the disappointment stings.

This morning, as I sat staring at my "to-do" list, I asked God for an explanation. "I'm doing your will," I cried. "I'm following your directions. I'm even making a point to commit my day to you before I begin my work. I feel like I'm being punished for doing all the right things. Why does it have to be so hard?"

Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever asked God the same questions? Well, I'm happy to say that He answered immediately. He didn't say why these things were happening, but He did say that He understands. Through some reading, I stumbled across II Corinthians 4:1 which reads, Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not. With that one verse, I was reminded that it is only by God's mercy that I have a ministry at all. But since I do have it, it's my job to remain faithful through the good times and the bad, the bountiful harvest and the barren fields. No matter what happens, I have a job to do. Could it be that God is testing me to see if I'll throw up my hands and quit when things don't go my way? (Unfortunately, that's usually the first thought that pops into my head.) Am I relying on His strength so that everything will go well, or am I depending on Him to give me strength when all my plans crumble to dust?

I think I need to change my morning prayer. Instead of just committing my day to the Lord and asking Him for strength, I think I'll add this line, "And please, Lord, no matter what happens today, don't let me lose heart."