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Encouragement as You Walk the Thorny Road

By Genevieve Schmitt

If I’m feeling it, I know you are too. The squeezing. That crushing of life and the circumstances around you have you feeling nearly helpless and hopeless. I’m there. But every time I’m in a low spot, a glimmer of hope shines through that pulls me up…yet again. It’s not even a glimmer now; it’s a sliver of a sliver of a sliver because the darkness is encroaching. Evil is all around me. I never thought things would get this bad, but look at the world, folks. Just when life couldn’t get any worse, it does! The dark forces of evil know time is short, so Satan’s minions that connive, cogitate, and collude in the dark, dingy, drab dungeon in which they dwell are dead set on destroying those of us walking and operating in the light. When I don’t think I have any strength left in me, as hard as it is, I pick myself up off the floor and stand—firm—on the promises I know that God has for me, because I know God’s words never fail.

And in fact, this latest battle is taking me to a deeper level of faith in those promises of God. Do I really believe God’s words never fail? Am I fully convinced in my heart, or is this belief just head knowledge?

How about you? What promises for your life are you believing and trusting in to get you through the fiery trial? When we look at all the options for saving one’s self from the hot flames swirling all around I can’t find anyone or anything else that provides the same kind of steadfast hope that God does. The miracle of God, the creator of the universe, sending his son, Jesus, to earth to live like a human, to feel all that I would feel, and then for Jesus to willingly sacrifice His life for me and my pain, and through doing that, open a door to His Holy Father in Heaven, connecting me intimately forever with Him brings me to my knees in gratitude and humility. It’s overwhelming when you think of that kind of love. But that’s what God and Jesus did for me so that the promises they declared in the Bible would come to pass for my life. The question is do I believe those promises? And how deeply do I believe them? What about you? Who are you putting your trust in to get you through this ugliness in your life?

And here we come full circle, my friend. Belief is faith. Do we have faith in what God has written and declared about us? I thought I did, but until that faith is tested, we never really know how it will hold up in times of trouble.

Here’s a promise I’m standing on: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” It’s Jeremiah 29:11 and even though it was said to the prophet Jeremiah, it was written for all of mankind who would believe.

Here’s another promise from Psalm 91: “He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [Whose power no foe can withstand]. I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress, my God; on Him I lean and rely, and in Him I [confidently] trust for [then] He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.” This is the Amplified Version of the Bible. Words in brackets “amplify” the original text for deeper meaning.

My friend, I want to encourage you to reframe this terrible situation you’re in right now and look at it as a test. How will you come out of the fiery furnace on the other end? Torched into a pile of ashes, or will you emerge as liquid gold having all the dross burned away ready to be poured into a new mold shaped and perfected by the Master? The late minister of God’s Word R.C. Sproul once said, “You don’t have to give up your intellect to trust the Bible. You have to give up your pride.”

Just writing this column, I’m relishing in a renewed resilience to continue taking steps forward on this thorny road, one on which I did not set out to travel. I hope you feel this way, too. If you need encouragement beyond this, reach out to me through my email address found on my website below. Coming alongside each other to pray and comfort is what we’re supposed to do.

Genevieve Schmitt is an award-winning journalist who has covered everything from hard news and Hollywood, to motorcycling and Montana. To read more of her wit and wisdom, sign up for her newsletter at

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