Discouragement. It happens to the strongest of God’s children from time to time. Think of any great Christian that you admire, has done great things for the Kingdom and has stayed true to the faith. Surely someone is coming to your mind. Now understand that they have faced discouragement just like you. Thankfully, they learned how to confront the spirit of discouragement when it comes to torment and bring despair. They discovered certain keys to overcome and I want to pass them to you today because in these trying times in which we are living we need them now more than ever.
We know that problems, challenges and disappointment come to everyone in a lifetime. No one is exempt. After all, we have an enemy that has a vested interest in causing us to despair and give up on life. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In this world, you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
So, let’s take a look at a few common things that cause discouragement and examine how to conquer those hopeless feelings. Discouragement slips in when there is defeat and loss in an attempt at a particular goal in life. We don’t always give up at the first failed attempt, but repeated failure and loss can be devastating to the soul.
Think about Sarah in Genesis or Hannah in I Samuel who, after so many years of hoping and trying, were still unable to have children. This constant defeat must have not only been personally painful, but publicly humiliating! Nevertheless, God intervened on their behalf. He had compassion on their constant longing and heard their persistent prayers. The Lord opened up their wombs to give birth to amazing men of God. He gave Isaac to Sarah and Samuel to Hannah.
In times of disappointment we must continue to have faith in God and bring our petitions before Him in faith, refusing to give in! The Word says in Galatians 6:9, “Don’t get weary in doing what is right, because you will surely reap in due season if you do not give up!” You cannot give up on any promise from God! He keeps his promises to a thousand generations and all of the promises of God are “yes” and Amen!” Just continue to bring your petition before Him like the widow and the unjust judge in Luke 18. If an unjust judge gave the persistent woman what she was asking for, then how much more will God answer your request as His child!
Things won’t always work out the way God has shown you or promised you right away. Look at the life of Joseph in Genesis. God gave him dreams of the position and authority he would have in the earth, but he spent years as a slave and in prison before that came to pass, but come to pass it did! God did exactly what he said he would do in Joseph’s life and more. We serve a God who is so faithful and does exceeding and abundantly above and beyond what we can even think or imagine! (Ephesians 3:20)
As a practical matter, if you are confronted with discouragement, you can confide in a trusted friend and ask them for prayer support, a firm shoulder or a listening ear. It’s hard to get through disappointment alone. God will send people to you who love and care about you and who can often present you with a different perspective on the situation and give you new strategies for the next opportunity for you to overcome and win.
You won’t always have others around you though, and that is okay. Sometimes you’ll need to encourage yourself like David did in I Samuel 30 when he came back from battle and found his village plundered by the enemy and all of his and his troops’ wives and children taken captive. The men even talked of killing David because of their deep grief and despair. Scripture says that David encouraged himself in the Lord. Then he sought counsel from God and prayed for instructions on what to do. This was his time alone with his God. No one was there to support and encourage him, but the Lord was faithful to answer David and told him to pursue the enemy and he would surely recover all that was taken. Hallelujah!
Do you find yourself discouraged? Are you feeling hopeless about a situation? Remember the scripture that says, “Why so downcast, o my soul? Put your hope in God!” (Psalm 42:11) So, today I encourage you to pray. Seek God and trust in his immense love and faithfulness toward you. He sees you. He loves you. He wants you to win. There are challenges and enemies that He knows you will face, but God also has the answers you need to pursue your dreams and recover all that the enemy has stolen, in Jesus’ name!