Posted by: glorifyhim1 | May 24, 2010

When Discouragement Strikes

Discouragement! Have you ever been there? Perhaps, you may even be there now. What causes discouragement to strike?

Like most people, I, too, have had my share of discouragement. I remember a few years ago when I felt extremely discouraged. It seemed that everything in my life was in a state of change. At home I was facing an empty nest as our daughters moved to live in another state and our son went off to college. The office where I worked was in a state of major reorganization which led to a change in my job responsibilities as well as a chaotic work environment. Even my church life was in a state of transition upon the death of our pastor and an ensuing period where everything about our church and its ministries was examined. I felt overwhelmed with changes in my life. I felt discouraged.

Discouragement can strike each of us at different times and to varying degrees. Unfulfilled expectations can lead to discouragement such as a missed job opportunity or the loss of a promotion. Serious illnesses or significant life changes can spark feelings of hopelessness or helplessness that can lead to discouragement. Overwhelming responsibilities as well as the monotony of day-to-day living can both contribute to feelings of discouragement. Even the failure of other people to live up to our expectations can cause discouragement. No one is exempt from discouragement.

As a result, it is probably no surprise that one of Satan’s greatest tools against a Christian is discouragement. Why? When a Christian becomes discouraged, they are disheartened and dispirited. They feel like giving up and throwing in the towel. What more could Satan want? If he can keep us down and discouraged, he doesn’t have to worry about what we’re going to do for Christ or our influence for Him. It is hard to bring glory to Christ or be an inspiration to others when we have essentially given up ourselves.  

Just think about it. Discouragement leads young mothers to run out on their children. It causes dads to find escape in a bottle of booze. Discouragement leads young people to get tangled up in drugs and self-destructive lifestyles. It leads to robbery, murder, and suicide. Discouragement can destroy not only the lives of those individuals who are discouraged, but also the lives of their families and friends. Unchecked discouragement ultimately leads to destruction.

So if discouragement is inevitable and it has the ability to ultimately destroy our lives, what do we do? How should the Christian respond when discouragement strikes? What do we do when we are worn out, used up, out of money, out of hope, and don’t know where to turn? How can we overcome discouragement when our situation may not necessarily change?

TRUST! We turn to the One Who made us, the One Who knows us, and we place our trust in Him. “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in Your hand’” (Psalm 31:14-15a). Scriptures assure us that when we trust in God, He will help us overcome discouragement.

  • “Whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he” (Proverbs 16:20b).
  • “He who trusts in the Lord will be prospered” (Proverbs 28:25b).
  • “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26).
  • “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Proverbs 29:25).
  • “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; but he who trusts in the Lord, mercy shall surround him” (Psalm 33:10).
  • “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:3-4).
  • “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

The above Scriptures are just a handful of the promises that we can uncover in God’s Word. Those who trust in God will be happy, prospered, delivered, safe,  surrounded with the Lord’s mercy and faithfulness, blessed (receive the desires of our hearts), and they will find direction and help. These promises are surely discouragement “busters.”

I can’t explain how trusting in God makes the difference, but it does. While the situations that led to my discouragement did not magically change, I found that my discouragement lessened because God worked in me to change my attitude and my outlook. He gave me direction so instead of my grieving over what was lost, I was able to move forward and find the next step He had for me. When we place our trust in God, we look to Him rather than at ourselves or our situations. This gives us a God-focus rather than a me-focus. It is so easy to become consumed with what is going on in our own little worlds that we lose sight of the bigger picture. God has more going on than we can ever see or imagine, but when we fully surrender and trust everything to Him, He can involve us in things He is doing. Is that not an incredible thought?

And in the process, God delivers us. It may not be the kind of deliverance we even expected. Instead of healing from disease, we may be delivered from pain in this world. Instead of a solution to our immediate problem, we may be delivered to a new place, a new task, a new mission. But deliverance comes when we trust in the Lord. “The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the Lord” (Proverbs 22:21). While we prepare and do all we can to face our battles, we recognize that God is in control and the results of the battle are in His capable hands.

So may we trust in the Lord always – even when discouragement strikes.

“I will love You, O Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;

My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;

My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

(Psalm 18:1-2)

 

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