“The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV
There’s rarely a time when I can’t appreciate a bit of encouragement. Scripture tells us many times not to be discouraged, and I imagine the reason the Lord spoke it so many times was because it is a trap into which the enemy often plots for us to fall. Years ago, I heard a story told by Bishop Carlton Pearson about a woman who attended his church when he was a little boy. Her name was Mother Sherman. She would ask him, “You yet holdin’ on?” He would affirm that he was holding on in the faith, to which she would respond, “Well, keep on keeping on then, baby” (Pearson, 1997).
100 Day Promise
No matter how old we are, we all need encouragement to keep holding on to our faith. This past week I was scrolling through Facebook. I saw that a friend had posted a photo of her child celebrating his 100th day of school. I immediately thought of my last 100th day of school when I taught first grade, and I scrolled through my gazillion photos to that day so that I could share my photo on her page. The date was January 23, 2013.
In the photo, I was standing in my kitchen in front of my pantry. My intent was to take a photo of my hair and makeup, and the outfit that I’d put together for that day. I’d used baby powder in my hair to give it that gray look and a black eye liner to draw lines where wrinkles might show up from 100 years of laughing at or scolding little children. I had on pearls, a turtle neck, jogging pants, bedroom slippers, and a bathrobe. I knew my first graders would get a kick out of my get-up for the day.
As I looked back on that photo taken so many years ago, something caught my eye. It was part of a 4×6 index card that was poster-puttied to the pantry door where I could see it every day. On it was Scripture. 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers” (NKJV). That photo on the 100th day of school was taken when I was still holding on to a promise in the Word.
Holding On to the Promises
Holding on to the promises in the Word truly became a lifestyle as we used it to war for the health of our son. The battle wasn’t easy and we at times became weary. But holding on was the only viable option! Have you ever been there? Maybe you are even there right now – holding on and waiting for God’s Word to come to pass in your life.
Waiting is rarely fun. However, the way we wait may impact the outcome. At the very least, it determines our mental health in the waiting. A few years ago, Chris Tomlin wrote a song titled Whom Shall I Fear. The lyrics reference the Scripture found in Isaiah 54:17. Tomlin wrote, “nothing formed against me shall stand. . . . I’m holding on to Your promises. You are faithful” (2012). Truly, God is certainly faithful to perform His Word. In fact, Jeremiah 1:12 (ESV), reads, “Then the Lord said to me, ‘You have seen well, for I am watching over My Word to perform it.'”
The Hard, Long, Unfair Place
The promise written on that card and hung on my kitchen pantry door has been fulfilled in the life of my son. In the waiting, it was hard. It felt long. Things felt unfair. But we kept the Word of God in front of our faces every single day, in various locations all around the house. The wait was hard, but God was our Comforter. It was long, but we were never alone. It felt unfair, but God brought new mercies every day to help us endure the difficulty.
If you are in a place that seems hard, long, and unfair, keep holding on to the Word. Keep on keeping on, God will never fail you. He will never leave you. His Word will never disappoint. Do not be discouraged, keep holding on.
Remember, there will come a day when you will be able to tell how He helped you overcome today’s adversity and step into tomorrow’s miracle. Keep believing for a miracle. Charles Tinley (1905) wrote, “we’ll tell the story, how we’ve overcome.” When that occurs, your miraculous testimony becomes the key to someone else’s breakthrough. You see, the Word tells us in Revelation 12:11a, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.”
Keep believing! Keep holding on to your promise, your miracle is on the way. Indeed, it is on the way! Keep holding on!
Cash, E., Cash, S., Tomlin, C. (2012). Whom Shall I Fear [Recorded by C. Tomlin]. On Burning Lights [CD]. Atlanta, GA: SixStepsRecords.
Pearson, C. (1997). Mother Sherman [Recorded by C. Pearson]. On Carlton Pearson Live at AZUSA 2, Precious Memories [CD]. Nashville, TN: Word Records.
Tindley, C. A. (1905). By and By [Recorded by C. Pearson]. On Carlton Pearson Live at AZUSA 2, Precious Memories [CD]. Nashville, TN: Word Records.