Day 24: Evening
Encourage the Doubting, the Alienated, and the Weary
By David Harwood
Let’s address doubt. This may help someone you’re trying to encourage.
My hope is that you’ve been receiving illumination from the Lord as you’ve asked, “God, what do You love about Yourself that would capture my heart?” I know the Lord answers that simple prayer. I’ve been helped. It’s a boiled-down version of Paul’s prayer:
(I pray) that the God of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, our glorious Father, may give you spiritual wisdom and revelation in knowing Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened… (Ephesians 1:17-18a TLV)
I trust you have been getting answers.
However, there are some plagued with doubt. They feel disqualified. When they look at themselves, they do not see someone who has a wholehearted love for God. They are not convinced that God wants to reveal Himself to them. In opposition to that doubt, it is written that God does not reject those whose affection for Him has grown cold. He receives those who come to Him. He said, “The one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out (John 6:37b).” With a clear conscience you can encourage friends to expect God’s embrace. The parable of the Prodigal Son is in the book for a reason.
And he got up and went to his own father. But while he was still far away, his father saw him and felt compassion. He ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. (Luke 15:20 TLV)
God is not hiding. He is waiting. In fact, He is searching. He has always searched for alienated people. When Adam was hiding, the LORD God called to the man. Inherent within “Where are you?” is the grief He had over their broken fellowship and a desire for that relationship to be restored.
My perspective is that everybody’s relationship with God can grow. The degree of love we have for our Creator can increase. Some are disheartened and have given up on the pursuit of spiritual growth. They’re tired. Here’s more good news: the spiritually exhausted are called, too. The response required of them is simple trust in Yeshua. He is the initiator of our spiritual health.
Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 TLV)
This call to come is a wonderful revelation of the Messiah’s goodness. His love and desire for us, and for that which would benefit us, is revealed in this invitation. It is not an echo of the following verse, but I think it is thematically connected. Isaiah prophesied a similar invitation.
Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the water, and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost! … Incline your ear and come to Me. Listen, so that your soul may live. (Isaiah 55:1,3a TLV)
I think this is a foundational verse. I hear its resonance in John’s writings. Apparently, the Messiah also identified with it. In John 6 the Lord said that those who believe in Him will never thirst.
Yeshua said to them, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to Me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35 TLV)
In the following chapter the Messiah offered an astonishing invitation.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Yeshua stood up and cried out loudly, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.” (John 7:37 TLV)
His self-identification with the answer to humanity’s spiritual thirst was very bold. We know that it was also very true. Yeshua is the answer to our alienation from our Father. Yeshua is the Father’s solution to the problem of His alienation from us. He calls us to be reconciled to Him.
That is, in Messiah God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them; and He has entrusted the message of reconciliation to us. We are therefore ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were making His appeal through us. We beg you on behalf of Messiah, be reconciled to God. (2 Corinthians 5:19-20 TLV)
Father has provided the means of reconciliation. Our experience of that reconciliation is dependent upon our responding to the invitation to return to Him.
Let’s take advantage of this reconciliation and ask God for revelation concerning Himself that would stir up our hearts’ love for Him. The Foremost Command is still the most important.
Also, don’t leave any of your struggling friends behind.