Devotional from Andy Stammis
“Do not become discouraged when you become confused. Confusion is a normal part of any math class.”
This sentence was in the syllabus of Introduction to Abstract Math, a class I took at Purdue. The syllabus outlined what to do when we become confused and how to become “unconfused” when confusion arises. The professor put this in the syllabus because he understood that when people are discouraged, they tend to give up. We can also become discouraged regarding our relationship with God when we do not understand something or when He feels distant. Just like in the math class, confusion is a normal part of our walk with God, and there are steps we can take when that happens.
The Bible illustrates our walks through life as paths. We either walk the path of righteousness, or we walk a path of sin. To be righteous is to be like God, so if we walk the path of righteousness, God is with us every step of the way. However, God CANNOT walk the path of sin; if we walk the path of sin, we are walking it alone.
Do not misinterpret this to mean that if we walk a path of sin then God has abandoned us. No; if we have strayed from the path of righteousness, take heart that God is pursuing us more fervently than we can imagine. He will meet us where we are on that path and take us with Him to the path of righteousness if we let Him.
But when He meets us, He will not continue down the path of sin with us. Sometimes we expect God to do things for us that He does not have planned for us, and it can feel like He is abandoning or neglecting us when He seems absent. This feeling often comes from a misunderstanding of who God is and who we are with respect to Him. In these moments, we must once again die to ourselves and reorient our hearts and our intentions to His will and His Kingdom. In this way, we can avoid the discouragement that arises from confusion by centering on what we do know about God: His love, His peace, His faithfulness, etc. Remember that we cannot do this on our own. Do not be afraid to seek help and counsel from God (via prayer or scripture), pastors, elders, and other Christians.
Take heart in this also: no matter how far we stray from the path of righteousness, no matter how rebelliously we run from God, and no matter how lost and confused we may feel, God will never stop loving us, God will never stop fighting for us, and God will never abandon us. Do not become discouraged.