Do you ever have those days where nothing seems to cheer you up? Perhaps you are facing a time of discouragement and disappointment. Maybe something has not gone as you planned. Life is full of unmet expectations. A professor of mine once gave me some wise advice when I asked him about being married. He said that a question that should often be asked is, “Was this what you expected?” He told me that when I ask my wife that question I should expect the answer to be no. What expectations have you had in life that were not met? Is it expectations in your career? Your success? A relationship? A goal in life?
We face discouragement when our expectations are not met. Sometimes we face anxiety when we see something crumbling around us. We know the Scriptural answer to these issues. We know what the Bible says and we remind ourselves of it constantly during the ordeal, but somehow it does not seem to help. We still feel discouraged. The darkness still seems to be creeping towards us. We remain discouraged.
What does a man who has the right answer do when the right answer still leaves him discouraged? We hate the clichés because we feel we must go against the clichés. Hope often feels like a cliché. It is saturated in the movies and fairytales. Life is not a movie nor is it a fairytale. Life can often seem bleak. We look out on the horizon and see no glimmer of sunshine. All we see is a vast wasteland. Some things in life just feel like a wasteland.
Life is a journey. There are parts of that journey that are full of excitement and adventure. Some parts are filled with fear. Some parts are traveled with people you love. Some parts are traveled with people you cannot seem to stand. Other parts are traveled by yourself. Sometimes we reach a wasteland after just getting out of another wasteland.
We hate the cliché Bible answers during these hard parts of the journey. We hate them because they have been abused to become a cliché. They are treated as a statement found in a fortune cookie. The Bible is more than a fortune cookie. It is also more than something we go to in time of need and desperation. We fill up on God’s word during the good times where we are filled with joy and hope. We fill on it when our hearts are open and receptive. We fill up on it when we have the safety net of good spirits so that we can train ourselves to trust in what it says.
Embrace the clichés. Go beyond the clichés. Do not just fill yourself on the top phrases for difficult times. Feast on all of Scripture. We hate that Scripture is full of clichés and yet all we do is check the index for a word that connects with whatever emotion we are going through. Sometimes the cliché is simple truth.
What cliché have I been holding onto today that is helping me move forward? It is a list of names. “And his name shall be called wonderful counselor” I have a God who is full of wisdom and strength to guide me through a wasteland in life. “Mighty God” He is someone who is Mighty who can clear my path before me even if I may not see it. “Everlasting father” He is a protector. He cares for me. “Prince of Peace.” One day the wastelands will be gone. One day the struggles and pain of this world will be over. One day I will be kneeling before a throne.
I admit that it may not seem like much, but it is enough for me for today. What cliché do you need to embrace?