Have you ever been discouraged? I guess the real question should be what do you do when you feel that way? We all go through periods of life where we feel disheartened, but how we respond to discouragement plays a big part on the outcome. I recently had an opportunity to catch up with some friends and several of them expressed that they were discouraged. As I listened to each of them, I discovered that there was an underlying theme that was causing their discouragement. They were discouraged over unmet expectations. They had preconceived ideas of where they should be in life, and what they thought God should be doing, but those things weren’t happening. They were disappointed by the lack of achieving their own man made goals and expectations.
It made me wonder: how many of us are downcast by self-induced discouragement. When we set goals and expectation, we mean well, but when life happens and we start missing the mark, it is easy to start getting frustrated. And it doesn’t take much for that frustration to turn into discouragement. Eventually, discouragement leads to feelings of despair and often the assumption of being a failure. I believe discouragement is one of the tools that the adversary uses to keep Christians from excelling. He wants to distract us, keep us from God, and wants us to quit. It doesn’t matter if it is marriage, church, job, or friends and family, finances, etc. The devil doesn’t want us to be effective disciple makers, so he will do whatever necessary to keep us down.
HANNAH POURED OUT HER HEART TO GOD
In 1 Samuel 1, Hannah went to the temple to pray because she was discouraged and all she could do was cry out to God for a son.
As she was praying to the Lord, Eli watched her. Seeing her lips moving but hearing no sound, he thought she had been drinking. “Must you come here drunk?” he demanded. “Throw away your wine!”
“Oh no, sir!” she replied. “I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” – I Samuel 1:12-16 (NLT)
Hannah loved God and seemed to be doing all the right things, but she was genuinely discouraged that she could not have a son. She felt that the only thing left to do was to cry out to God for help. I wonder at how long it takes for us to cry out to our Creator for help when we are faced with discouragement! Instead, we try to handle it with our own strength and it doesn’t take long before we become weary and are ready to give up, but I believe the final outcome is in our hands. Dr. Jerry Falwell used to say; “A man’s greatness is not determined by his wealth, but rather by what it takes to discourage him.” With help from The Lord, we can purpose in our hearts to not allow discouragement to win.
ARE YOU DISCOURAGED TODAY?
Is something discouraging you today? Is your discouragement self-induced or are the stresses of life weighing on you so heavily that you don’t think you can take it anymore? Whatever the case, ask God to grant you strength to keep persevering and to never, ever, quit! No matter how bad it seems right now, God always has the best intentions for us. Don’t be discouraged, just because you might not see God working, that doesn’t mean He isn’t right there with you in the thick of it.