The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -Psalm 34:17-18

There’s a reason why the theme of so much devotional writing is comfort: We live in a fallen world, and the sin nature in ourselves and others can make life very difficult…and sometimes just too much to bear.

…at least on our own. Consider the following:

At first Peter didn’t consider the wind and the waves at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out, and ‘walked on the water.’ Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed. Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him. -Oswald Chambers, from My Utmost for His Highest.

There is a reality greater than what you can touch and see and feel…the layers of spiritual richness we can easily see when things are going well. But when the going gets tough, how quickly we can forget it, losing touch with our spiritual senses. We’re back to just our flesh senses, and they can lie and deceive us relentlessly, pulling us into a downward spiral of self-pity, condemnation, doubt, and despair.

When you hit that slippery slope, you’re looking ever more at yourself. And the enemy is whispering in your ear that you are doing the right thing.

There are two things happening here: The harsh reality of your situation, and the perceived reality through your senses. And as rocky and blustery as it all is, the Lord is your footing beneath it all. He shines down on you with His sun, and cleanses you with His rain. And through it all, He whispers to you, if you listen: Trust Me, I will carry you through this, as I have so many times before.

Remember what the Lord had Joshua tell the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land:

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

Today’s soundtrack

Chris Tomlin’s “I Will Follow” is our faithfulness to the Lord set to music, to follow where He leads us, no matter what.