Billy Graham, who led millions of people to salvation through Jesus, experienced the heaviness of discouragement just like you and me. He said, “The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement.” In this blog, I want to share with you that though we all get discouraged, we don’t have to lie down in the land of discouragement.
Here are a sampling of discouraging issues. Covid-19 infects you and a/or family member. We cannot work because of Covid-19. We don’t get the job we applied for. We lost our job. We discover that the person we thought loved us doesn’t. The person we were dating broke it off. Someone at church hurt us. We keep committing that same sin. We have health problems. We have a car or house problem that costs money we don’t have.
When we think about discouragement in our lives there is usually a consistent theme. Something or someone failed to come through for us as we had hoped.
You are not alone. I’ve been discouraged many times during my own life, too. Sadly, three of my friends committed suicide over the years. Once a man I thought was becoming a good friend never showed up with his wife for dinner with Ellen and me, and he never mentioned it. As a leader, I have been criticized for things that were unfounded, as well as some that were. (Welcome to leadership!) Our Father has not answered some of my prayers the way I asked that were incredibly important. I lost 95% of my ability to smell 15 years ago.
Jesus gives us clear guidance about dealing with discouragement in Psalm 42:5-6 from an author who was also discouraged when he writes, “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” This man was talking to his soul. Why? Our soul is our mind, will, and emotions. This writer was thinking about his disappointment in his circumstances. Since our feelings usually follow our thoughts, he also felt discouraged. With his will, he eventually made the choice we can all make by God’s grace in us. He chose to put his hope in God, not in his circumstances. Jesus wants us to make the choice when we get discouraged to “talk to our soul” and proclaim out loud, “Soul, my hope is in Jesus, my Savior alone.”
Colossians 3:2-3 reminds us to, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. ” What does this mean? It means that Jesus is above at our Father’s right hand and so are we. Our identity is in Christ and Jesus is our life, not that person or situation. When my daughter almost died of a mystery disease at age 23, there were many days that I reminded my soul that Jesus alone is my life, not her.
Why don’t you tell God right now about anything you are discouraged over. Then tell Him you choose to trust Him and that Jesus alone is your life? Will you also ask Him if there is anything He wants to say to you about this, and sit quietly? He may or may not change things but He will change your focus. And hopefully, you will come out of that place of discouragement soon!