Isaiah 41:13 – For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, "Fear not, I will help you." (NKJV)
October 31st is "Reformation Day", the day when, in 1517, Martin Luther posted his 95 statements on the Castle Church doors in Wittenberg, Germany.
In preparation for a church service in which this fact was to be mentioned, I studied that time period.
On the face of it, looking at it now, it seems that the Reformation was an idea which materialized nicely, and things went on smoothly from there. In actual fact, though, there were many discouragements and disappointments along the way. There were many times when even Luther was discouraged by the events around him, times when he almost could not go on.
We have all had times when we were in a seemingly hopeless situation at work, at school, at home, or even in the church.
A retired pastor friend of mine and I talked about bringing the gospel to the people and how discouraged some pastors become at times. Pastors, God's faithful servants, will stand in the pulpit and call people to put their trust in Jesus for today and forever. But some of these preachers are often discouraged because they see no fruit coming from their work; they see no change in people's circumstances, no transformation in people's lives, no increase in church attendance. As all of us who are actively involved know, work in the church can be discouraging at times.
The reformers were often discouraged, but their discouragement was translated into the most wonderful achievements: the possibility of bringing the good news of salvation directly to the people, and the reinstatement of the concept that salvation is by the grace of God through faith alone.
We might be discouraged at times, too — discouraged and worried. Then, we read those wonderful words of Jesus:
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (NKJV)
Today's verse also says that we should not be afraid, "for I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, 'Fear not, I will help you.'"
When we are discouraged, those words of Scripture will give us the strength to carry on.
Prayer: Father in heaven, when we are discouraged, we pray that You will be with us, that You will strengthen us, that You will give us the ability to carry on. We ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.