We can easily be overcome by pessimism. The thought that we have not done or are not doing our best can be frustrating. This can render us defenceless, weak and fearful. Seeing only problems rather than possibilities can be oppressive.
This is the issue the prophet Haggai has to address. The people are discouraged by the lack of splendour in the temple they are building. They are saddened that they could not build the wonderful temple of the Solomon era.
Haggai proceeds to prescribe the antidote to discouragement. The people should reflect on the Lord’s continued presence as evidenced in God’s prior gracious deeds. God’s invigorating presence should serve as their strength to forge ahead with their work.
The feeling that we are just a shadow of ourselves is a sign of bondage. It is a recipe for low self-esteem and underachievement. Release comes in the form of knowing that God is with us to lift us beyond who we think we are and to show us what we are capable of.
Dear God, be ever near us as you have promised. Help us always to be signs of your abiding presence to the despairing and hopeless. Amen. — MP