I don’t know about you, but I often get discouraged. For those that know me, they may find this an odd statement because I am generally a glass half-full kind of guy, an optimist that sees opportunities more so than problems or obstacles. Nevertheless, there are days, or moments in days, where I look around and think, if I stopped doing what I am doing, if I stopped trying, or even if I ceased to exist, not many people would notice. In those moments, it seems as if all of my life’s efforts, all the struggles, all of the work, all of the lost sleep, all the sermons, all of the Bible lessons, all of the ministry has come to nothing. And this is very discouraging. When these moments come, I feel very alone, and I feel like quitting.
So, why don’t I? It would be easy enough to walk away and immerse myself in hobbies or entertainment. What keeps me moving forward?
First and foremost, deep within my inner self resides God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, and He speaks to me, comforts me, and reminds me of the Word of God. I will never leave you nor forsake you, I know the number of hairs on your head, you are more valuable than the sparrows, you can do all things through Christ, fear not, preach the word, and on and on. Through the Word, He fans the fading embers of my innerfire and breathes life into my gasping soul. He pulls me from the miry clay and sets my feet again on the solid rock–reminding me that the battle is not mine, but His. That my job is not to produce fruit, but to abide in Him.
Then, with disaster avoided, He lifts my eyes and shifts my gaze from myself to my wife, my kids, my extended family, my neighbors, my brothers and sisters in Christ, and those in need of Christ. I am reminded of the needs around me and the blessings upon me, and it spurs me to step forward, to be faithful, to take action, and to shoulder my responsibilities.
And as I begin, the discouragement lifts. The possibilities emerge. The light brightens and darkness fades. My strength returns and my motivation rises. My hope, my expectation of good, and my faith return.
If you are experiencing discouragement, I pray you will look unto God and His Word to encourage your spirit and to remind you of who you are in Him. May you find the strength to speak to yourself as David did in Psalm 42:11: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.