Discouragement: it is no respecter of persons.
I imagine Adam felt discouraged when he realized the weeds would keep growing back in the vegetable garden because of his sin. Noah probably experienced pockets of discouragement when people scoffed at him for building a big boat. Moses felt discouraged when the Israelites continuously disobeyed God and didn’t listen to him. Joseph probably experienced discouragement after being wrongly thrown in prison. Another Joseph felt discouraged when the woman he was supposed to marry turned up pregnant. The woman at the well felt discouraged that none of her relationships seemed to work out. Paul may have felt discouragement when the people he was leading in Corinth forgot his words and returned to their old ways. Jesus most definitely experienced discouragement as He prayed in the garden: “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.” (Mark 14:34)
No matter who you are, we have all experienced this emotion. What do you do when you feel an overwhelming sense of discouragement?
Recently, I felt an overwhelming sense of discouragement in my purpose of ministry that God has called me to. It lingered for a few days. Discouragement is an emotion I have experienced periodically in this area, and because of that, I have learned to pay attention to it, but not give it all of my focus. I have learned that it WILL pass- it is not going to linger there forever and I am thankful for that! However, when you are in the midst of it, it can overtake you! The discouragement I felt led me to wondering if there is ANY point to what I am doing? Did I hear God correctly? “Does it even matter?” was a question I repeated over and over for 3 days.
At the height of this discouragement, God, in His Graciousness, sent help. He always steps in at the exact time necessary to pull me out of the pit. His Faithfulness, Love, and Goodness humbles me.
Looking back at the order in which He orchestrated the help He sent is breathtaking.
- He sent a friend who simply listened to me ramble about being discouraged. She didn’t try to give answers, but simply empathized with where I was. She met me in the mess and loved me by listening. Isn’t that how Jesus is? He listens and meets us right where we are.
- He sent a stranger who messaged me on Instagram inquiring of the exact things I was discouraged in. God, very tangibly, was answering my repeated question “Does it even matter?” through this one woman’s inquiry. The answer was YES, it matters- if answering God’s call on my life is only for this one woman, SHE MATTERS!
- God sent another friend to send a text saying I have been on her heart. She knew nothing of my discouragement, but God did. God put me on her heart at the exact time I needed her prayers. What a gift. He loves me so much that He would cause someone else to think of me and pray for me.
- Attending worship on a Wednesday night ended up being exactly what my heart needed. God orchestrated it so that the worship leader was encouraging us to look back over our year and give praise for who God has been and what He has done. I needed that! I needed to look back and remember everything He has done this year. He has done so much! Remembering all of His Goodness reframed my mind and gave me an emotional reset. God, in all of His Wisdom, spoke through my worship leader to help reframe my thinking. She didn’t have me in mind when she spoke those things, but God did!
- The message from my pastor that Wednesday night was also divinely placed. Because of the order of the previous ways God had been speaking to me, the message seemed to be the cherry on top! Essentially, God was reminding me, encouraging me, and giving me a big hug to continue on the path He has laid before me. It was such deep encouragement to my heart and the pastor had no idea he was giving the message for me (and I’m sure others too!), he was simply obeying what God had given him to share.
- I got in bed that night and listened to a voicemail that had come in earlier that day. It was a friend I mentioned above who had called to encourage me. The words sank deep into my soul and uplifted me. If I had heard the phone ring when she had called earlier, I would have indeed listened as she spoke, but it would have been gone when we hung up. However, I missed the call and now I have those words on a recording to listen to and remind myself when I become discouraged.
God goes above and beyond when we need help. He doesn’t just barely help us, but He comes to us in abundance. He overwhelms us with His Love and Care at the perfect time. He loves us so much that He will speak through any means possible to show us His love and pull us out of the pit of discouragement. Oftentimes, He uses other people to speak His Words and to throw a rope to us in our pit. One time He used His own Son to speak and to throw the rope. A baby, born of a virgin, fully human, fully (full of) God. I am grateful for the ways He speaks- the ways He rescues me from the pit. I am grateful for the people who spoke His Words to me the past few days. I am grateful that the baby grew up and died for me. I am grateful that He sent His Spirit to live in me (us). I am grateful that His Spirit speaks not only through the Written Word, but also through people so that I can clearly hear the Voice of Jesus in my life. He speaks, He rescues, He throws a rope when we need it. His help is abundant and it is there when we desperately need it. If you feel discouraged, know that you are not alone. Many have gone before you that have also felt it. There is One who will send help. He is the life-line. He has the rope to rescue you from the pit. He knew discouragement and He came so you (and I) don’t have to remain in the pit of it. Grab hold of the rope and experience His Joy!
*Do you feel discouraged? Reach out! We would love to pray for you.