Even the word itself makes me feel discouraged.
I wish that word had never been created. But in this sinful cursed world it is a necessity, unfortunately.
My family periodically goes through times of discouragement. This morning was no exception. My husband has a lot of things in his life that are trying to discourage him. He has degenerative disk disease in his spine, other health issues that have kept him from working the last few weeks, job situations, money, relationship issues, and, to top it all off, God has poured out some wisdom on Ron that he’s trying to soak in, and for someone who has lived the majority of his life apart from Jesus, it ain’t easy. The lies of pride and arrogance and ownership of self are not easily given up in this world.
It must be hard to be a man of God.
As my husband was lamenting this morning on how there seems to be no way out, how he’s stuck, how his sins are too big, how can Jesus ever forgive him?, I said to him, “You know, I was just reading in the Bible yesterday…wait…I think it was in John. Yes! John 3:16 where it says, ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life except for Amy’s husband!!!‘ That’s why you’re struggling honey! I exclaimed to him. You’re exempt from God’s teachings! Oh, and the other verse I remember reading? When He hung on the cross? Remember those words He exerted out between each painful, tortured, labored dieing breath? ‘It…….is……..finished……..except………for…….Amy’s……..husband.'”
This reminds me of a story I heard about Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina, and forgive me if I mutilate it but this is how it was told to me…”Martin was moping around the house one day and his wife quietly went into her bedroom and dressed in black from head to toe. When she came out and Martin saw her dressed in black he asked her, “Who died?” to which she quietly chided, “Oh, I thought it must have been God the way you’re acting.”
So what is the cure for discouragement? Phillipians 4:4-8 gives us a clue, “Always be joyful in the Lord! I’ll say it again: Be joyful! Let everyone know how considerate you are. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything. But in every situation let God know what you need in prayers and requests while giving thanks. Then God’s peace, which goes beyond anything we can imagine, will guard your thoughts and emotions through Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, keep your thoughts on whatever is right or deserves praise: things that are true, honorable, fair, pure, acceptable, or commendable.”
And Ephesians 5: 19-20 works for me, “…be filled with the Spirit by reciting psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs for your own good. Sing and make music to the Lord with your hearts. Always thank God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. ”
Father, help us through your Holy Spirit at work in us to be thankful, joyful, and not discouraged. In Jesus name, Amen.