So after I wrote my last entry– which sort of marked the start of a period of discouragement for me — the Lord responded in such amazing and unmistakable ways that it was impossible to continue to be discouraged.

The night I jotted out that last entry, Niki and I were up until 4am, unable to sleep because of things that were troubling (and discouraging) us. Around 3am, though, Niki turned to me and very authoritatively said, “I’m sorry to wake you up (I guess he thought I was sleeping), but I haven’t been able to sleep because I think the Holy Spirit wants me to tell you something: Do not be discouraged. What’s happening is supposed to happen, and is necessary for God to accomplish His purpose and will. There has to be some pruning before there can be growth, and this is the pruning. Hasn’t He given you a promise? Believe in it, and it will come to pass.”

That next morning, some leaders in our church called and said they felt like they needed to come over that day to pray with us and encourage us. They did not know what was going on, nor had they read my blog. But they came over, as the Spirit had led them, and we shared with them what was burdening us. They encouraged us and prayed with us and gave us this word: “God is pruning right now to make way for what He wants to grow.” What a confirmation!

Then, on Sunday, in our worship service, the Lord gave this word to our fellowship twice — which hit me in a way that only the Spirit can:

So do not fear, for I am with you;

do not be dismayed [or discouraged], for I am your God.

I will strengthen you and help you;

I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

Come Sunday afternoon, all the anxiety and discouragement I had been in the pit of on Friday night was gone.

What an awesome God we serve.