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Monday, June 15, 2009

God's Cure for Discouragement

Bad things happen. They happen to good people and bad people. They come when you expect them. They come when you don't. They come from your enemies. They come from your friends. They come through circumstances. They come through your environment. You can't avoid bad things.

Bad things bring discouragement. The bad thing may be bills that are piling up. It may be problems in your marriage. It may be what your children are doing. Discouragement comes when you are trying so hard and nothing seems to be going right.

Sometimes discouragement comes through criticism. This may be overlooked as a bad thing. Sometimes you need to be told you are going the wrong direction but at other times you may have your dreams smashed by someone who will cut you to the quick. This person says you are ugly or stupid or worthless in some way.

A church where I was serving as a staff member lost its senior pastor. Of course, the church employed someone who would preach until a new pastor could be found. That "interim" pastor had to be out one Sunday and I asked if I could preach in his place. I told the staff I would be preaching that Sunday. Two of the members exclaimed, "Why don't we ever get anybody any good?!" I must admit that I was hurt as badly as have ever been in my life.

I went to my office to sulk. I hurt and didn't want to talk to anyone. I remembered what Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation . . ." I was having the worst of my world. I wanted to stop with only those words. In some ways my discouragement gave me comfort. I wanted to wallow in the pain. I had been hit hard and I just wanted to lie still.

However, the rest of what Jesus said was right before me, "but be of good courage for I have overcome the world." I knew that He was still in control and He would not leave me in this condition.

My problem was that I was only looking at the moment I was in. It was very discouraging. It seemed to have no end. This became my definition of discouragement: a bad situation which appears to have no good ending.

God invades our lives so that there is always a good ending for bad situation. He has promised to cause all things to work for our good. He has not promised that bad things won't happen. He takes the bad things and proves to us He is still in control by making good things happen.

Let's say you have been told you have cancer. This can be very discouraging. However, what are the possible ends. God can heal you and you will live longer with your family here on earth. God can take you home and you will live forever with Him. The ultimate ends are good albeit that the chemo, radiation and other treatments may be horrible.

Very dark nights are often crossed to get to the morning. However, be of good courage, God will make the morning!

You may have lost your job, your spouse, your retirement savings, your house, your confidence (if someone has discouraged you in what you would like to do), your health or your hopes for your children. God wants you to know that He is still working. God is working even when you may not be able to see Him work. His love for you keeps Him working.

God says that this will pass. It may seem long. It may seem to be more than you can handle but it is not more than you and He can handle together. He asks you to take His hand. He says you should be encouraged, He has never failed. He will not fail you now.

God's solution is to trust Him. You can do that.


Marylyn said...

WOW :) that was so encouraging. So encouraging that I made a sentence in this piece my facebook status :) Ur doing a great work, may the Lord continue to bless u with wisdom and understanding :)

Prentis said...

Thanks, Marylyn, you are very encouraging.