“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. – Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
How can a person find/give encouragement in the midst of problems? What resources are available to lift and motivate someone, no matter what the circumstances? What mindset is required for real success?
The people who trust the Lord will become strong again. The Lord might strengthen us through some person, or an unexpected meeting. It may come through someone God will use to encourage us. I know this is true because there have been times when I needed to be encouraged. And there have been other times when God used me to give encouragement to other people. “Trust the Lord.” Remain in touch with God through prayer. Remind yourself of how important you are to Him. After all, He loved you enough to send His Son into the world to be your Saviour.
Just because you are a child of God does not mean you will never have problems and never need encouragement. Nobody is free from problems. A problem-free life is an illusion – a mirage in the desert. It is a dangerously deceptive perception, which can mislead, blind, and distract. To pursue a problem-free life is to run after an elusive fantasy; it is a waste of mental and physical energies. Jesus told the truth when He said, “In this world you will have trouble” – John 16:33. But He immediately added a word of encouragement: “But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Encouragement is available to us, if we have problem-solving, mountain-moving faith. There is no substitute for deep abiding faith. If we hold on, we will win out! Unquestionably the profound faith and the beautiful providence of God produce a strong and unquenchable optimistic mental attitude. Tough people have it, and they can weather the worst storm. They can rough out the toughest times. They win! They come out on top. This faith requires activation. It yields hope and encouragement. But the following steps are necessary to come out on top:
- The first step will be to put your problems into perspective. Sure, we have problems. They may be the worst we have ever faced. But chances are, they are not the worst thing that could possibly have happened. No matter how bad it is, it could always be worse. Be glad it is not.
- The second step is to learn to solve and manage problems. And there is not necessarily a solution for every problem; however, every problem can be managed positively. To do so, it is necessary to take charge and control our problems. I call this “possibility thinking.” What is it? In essence, it is the management of ideas. Possibility thinking focuses not on the management of time, money, energy, or persons, but on the management of ideas. It is rejecting the negatives, the impossibilities, associated with your problems, and seeing the potential for something good and constructive in every problem. Joseph expressed this very kind of thinking to his brothers who had sold him into slavery: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” – Genesis 50:20.
- The third step is to be open to the positive ideas God will place in your mind, if you have faith and bring your needs to Him in prayer. A simple approach is to take out a sheet of paper and list ten possible solutions to your problem. I call it, “Count to ten and win!” Approach this step with a “game attitude.” To play this game, which involves setting your imagination free from the fear of failure and thinking bigger than you ever have done before, you must begin by believing that God wants to give you the wisdom you seek, that He has given you latent gifts of creativity. Remember: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” – James 1: 5-6.
- The fourth step is to take action on the positive ideas God places in your mind. People who win over tough times are people who never stop believing. They have faith in themselves and their Lord and in the ideas that God gives them. These winners, survivors, pray for God’s guidance, and when they know what it is they have to do, then they take action. They do something about it.
I say to you: you can do anything you want to do. You can be anything you want to be. You can go anywhere from where you are – if you are willing to believe God, dream big and work hard. You can say with Paul “I can do everything through Him who gives me strength” – Phil. 4:13.
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