Dealing with discouragement with God's help
Have you ever experienced extreme hardship that left you feeling so discouraged and so defeated that it squeezes the joy right out of you? Many of us have, and it’s no fun, to say the least!
Many times we may even find ourselves feeling consumed by it to where it’s almost all we can think about, and the more we dwell on it, the more discouraged we get.
These types of circumstances are like a giant of negativity that stands before us that’s much bigger and much stronger than we are. It seeks to tear us down and throw us into a pit of despair, and one of the greatest weapons it uses to accomplish this is lies, like “Nothing will ever change,” or “It’s a hopeless situation,” or “There’s nothing you can do about it!”
All that negativity, if left unchallenged, can wreak havoc in our lives emotionally, psychologically and spiritually, and leave us feeling completely defeated in life.
While it may seem that there is nothing we can do about it, there is!
What we need to do is refuse to be defeated by our circumstances, and challenge that giant of negativity with the truth of the hope that we have in Christ.
As tempting as it may be at times to just deny the reality of our circumstances, or be like the proverbial ostrich that sticks its head in the sand, or even turn to things like drugs, alcohol or other vices to numb the pain and help us cope with it – none of those approaches will change a thing. In fact, it will probably just make things worse.
What we need to do is to take a proactive stance against that giant of negativity by calling to mind the goodness and faithfulness of God.
When those fiery darts of discouragement are near to reaching the bull’s eye over our heart, we need to hold up the shield of faith.
As it says in Ephesians 6:16, “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one.” Declaring God’s faithfulness and power to see us through is how we hold up the shield of faith.
I meet with a few guys on Tuesday mornings for a weekly Bible study over at the Red Cup Café, and last week there were a few verses from the book of Lamentations that hit me right in the heart, right in that place where discouragement had its crosshairs, and it was just what I needed.
The verses are Lamentations 3:21-23, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
The author of Lamentations doesn’t identify himself, but many scholars believe it was the prophet Jeremiah. He wrote these words at a time when he was going though extreme hardship, and by all appearances it seemed hopeless.
However, he said, “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope!” and then he began to dwell on the goodness and faithfulness of God to see him through it all. What a great example for all of us who feel discouraged!
If you find yourself in that place because of your circumstances, let me encourage you with this truth; God loves you, He is for you, He is with you, He is faithful, and hope is found in Him.
Instead of calling to mind how bad things are, call to mind how good God is, and you’ll find yourself rising up to the place of victory that God has for you.