Part of the risk of following our dreams and God’s leading for our life is that we will at some point experience some level of discouragement.
We are however in excellent company whenever we do feel this way. For example, Noah faced continual discouragement when he preached for decades, and only eight people ever responded favourably. (Genesis 5; 2 Peter 2:5)
Joseph helped someone, and when they had the opportunity to assist him in return, they left him forgotten in an Egyptian prison for years. (Genesis 40:5-15; 23)
Moses came down off Mt Sinai after having a “full-on” encounter with God to discover that all the people he was responsible for leading were busy worshipping a golden calf. (Exodus 32:1-8)
Jeremiah was thrown into a well after speaking the truth and doing what God had told him to do. (Jeremiah 38:1-6)
David, Job, the early disciples of Jesus, Paul, and many others also suffered from discouragement.
So how do we deal with what the dictionary describes as a: loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness, downheartedness, dejection, depression, demoralization, disappointment, despondency, and hopelessness. Yep all those “D” words.
Jesus sets an example for us in the way He lived while on the earth.
He refused to give up – the key to overcoming obstacles and disappointments in every situation is not “where you are, but what you are?" Joy and happiness are not dependent on our circumstances but rather upon what and who we are within us. It’s why it is imperative we know who we are in Jesus.
He had perspective -Jesus looked at every situation from a heavenly viewpoint. He said for us to “lift up our eyes” (John 4:35). And to set our mind on things above and not upon earthly things. (Colossians 3:2; Matthew 6:33)
He kept walking – Jesus knew what he was on earth to do, and he just kept his focus and moved ahead.
And Jesus went about all Galilee, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people”. (Matthew 4:23-24)
He drew aside and prayed – when faced with decisions, discouragement or sorrow, such as when John the Baptist was murdered, Jesus drew close to the Father and received strength and comfort.
“When Jesus heard what happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place”. (Matthew 14:13)
“And rising very early in the morning while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed”.(Mark 1:35-36)
He kept doing good and speaking love, joy, and blessing – Amid opposition and discouragements, Jesus just kept right on doing what He was called to do, which ultimately caused Him to triumph over sin and death.
…” Jesus went about doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil because God was with him”. (Acts 10:38)
Whenever you feel discouraged, lift your head and look to and learn from Jesus. Know and remind yourself of who you are and what you are here for.
Learn to wait and draw your strength from God, who sees all. He says, “don’t grow weary in doing good for in due season you shall reap if you do not give up”. (Galatians 6:9 NIV)
Watch out for God’s unexpected blessings to encourage you. He is good, and if you hold steady and keep walking with Him, He promises He’ll make it all work out better than you can think, dream, or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)
And in the words of Winston Churchill, who also knew what it was to face pressure, disappointments, and opposition. “Never give in. Never, never, never, never in nothing, great or small, large or petty - never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your example of how to navigate and walk through discouragement. Please help me remember and keep my eyes on the truth of who I am and what I am here for so that I don’t give up. In Jesus Name Amen.