July 23, 2019
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Some years ago, our ministry's headquarters was under construction, progressed from stage to stage. And I enjoyed walking through the halls and the rooms to see the progress. Of course, you had to look past a lot of mess and clutter, and you had to use your imagination to see what it was eventually going to look like. But the point at which I really started to realize what God is doing is when I climbed this little ladder to the catwalk that encircled the building above all the rooms below. Before the ceiling goes in, you can just walk along that catwalk and get the big picture of how far things have really progressed and the scope of what God's doing here. There's a view from up there that really provides an exciting perspective. It's a lot more inspiring than when you're just standing in one of the rooms down below.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Getting On Top Of Being Down."
The view from up above really does change your perspective, especially when the room you've been in down below is really a mess. Now, you might be in one of those "rooms" in your life right now and all you can see is clutter, trouble, a lot of work, or even impossibilities. There may not even be a window in that room, and so it seems pretty dark right now. You're feeling discouraged, depleted, defeated, overwhelmed, maybe hurt, maybe even hopeless sometimes.
Of course, you're not alone. We all take our turns spending time in rooms that are really hard. But you don't have to be discouraged just because the room is discouraging; you don't have to be depressed just because the room is depressing. There is a powerful antidote to discouragement and despair, and it's climbing the ladder to the view from up higher.
It's talked about in our word for today from the Word of God in Isaiah 61:1-3. Speaking of Jesus, it says, "The Lord...has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted...and release from darkness for the prisoners." See, healing when you're feeling broken (that's where the promise is), freedom when you're feeling trapped without options.
The Lord says He comes "to bestow on them... the oil of gladness instead of mourning" - now listen to this - "and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." There's the replacement strategy of God - replacing despair with praise. In part, that's a gracious gift from God. But, in part, it requires a conscious choice on your part - to look for, to celebrate all the good things God's doing and all the good things you know about what He's like even when your situation isn't good.
All I can tell you is this works! When my mind and heart are just overwhelmed with the burdens and the struggles of the room. I start sinking to discouragement and stress. But when I climb the ladder to the spiritual catwalk that's above all my life-rooms, I start to see things from God's perspective, and pretty soon my emotional scale is tipping from the weight of my worries to the weight of my awesome God and His amazing works. Or as one of my friends loves to say, "God's cool and He really does neat stuff."
So if the mess in the room you're in is getting you down, take your mind and your spirit to the view that's above all that mess. Consciously, verbally, and publicly hearing yourself do it, start praising God for all He means to you - all He's done for you.
You have just left the Despair Zone and you have entered the Praise Zone where the view helps you rise above what's been getting you down.