Sometimes it is hard to get up in the morning. And sometimes it’s hard to go to sleep at night. It’s easy to identify with the words of Deuteronomy 28:66-67:

You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, “If only it were evening!” and in the evening, “If only it were morning!”—because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see.

I especially could identify with that when our foster son died of SIDS 15 years ago and we were sued for 31 million dollars for wrongful death. It was hard to sleep and it was hard to get up. It was hard to do anything at all, in fact.

That’s what the problems in our lives can do to us: they paralyze us and make it hard to function. We know we should read our Bibles, we know we should pray, but when we do either thing, it feels empty. We don’t know what to say to God and we don’t feel much like talking, any more than we feel like getting up out of our chair. Those things that once brought us pleasure, that once made us excited, now seem empty and do nothing for us at all. When we read the Bible—or anything else for that matter—we can read the same paragraph over and over again and get nothing from it. Watching TV or a movie is an empty experience; we may find it hard to even remember what we just saw on the screen.

Jesus told an audience, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25)

Jesus told his disciples, not long before he was arrested, convicted, and executed, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Sometimes people give us encouragement in the middle of our bad times and we think “easy for you to say.” But given Jesus’ context, knowing what he was about to face, his words carry added force. They were not easy, they were not cliché, and they were not flippant. He believed them even though he faced the ultimate crisis.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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