Discouragement hits us all. In our fallen world, no one gets a free pass through life without encountering discouragement from time to time. We feel overwhelmed and aren’t certain how we can get it all done. Too often, the support system around us lets us down, which only adds to our discouragement and despair. During these seasons, it’s difficult to even pray. While we know it is the quickest way out of discouragement, our prayers have trouble escaping from our lips, and even when they do, they seem to hit the ceiling and bounce back down.
In our discouragement, we can feel helpless, and at the brink of despair. In these moments, it is helpful to remember and recount how God has been with you in the past and take encouragement from knowing He will continue to be with you on the other side of this temporary bout of discouragement.
You would think followers of Jesus would be immune to discouragement, but it’s not the case. Satan delights in discouraging believers and is always seeking to do so. Discouragement is like quicksand. Once you step into it, it feels impossible to get out again.
Here’s something I’ve learned in my life: when you feel discouraged, you are focusing on your circumstances, not on the mission or blessings of God. Some of those circumstances can devastate us. Losing a loved one, having a marriage fall apart, being laid off, getting sick or injured… circumstances can be overwhelming. But no circumstance is greater than God’s love for us. Nothing we experience will ever compare to what He went through on the cross for us. It wasn’t just the physical torture and agony He endured; it was taking on all the sins of mankind into the depths of His sinless being. We will never know such hurt.
Our circumstances do not define us. Only Jesus can do that, and He calls you His friend. You are God’s child. The Father is always reaching out for you, seeking to lead you to Himself and what is best for you. That is hard to understand when your life feels like it is falling apart. But understand everything that is discouraging you is temporary. Only your relationship with Christ will stand the test of eternity. Rejoice in that!
When discouragement strikes, force yourself to look beyond your circumstances. Close your eyes and focus on Jesus. Remember how He has always been there for you. He will never leave your side (Deuteronomy 31:6). You are His and nothing can change that (Romans 8:38-39). When we lift our eyes off ourselves and all that is swirling around us, we will find none of it matters. Knowing Jesus is all that counts for anything. As long as you have Him, you are safe.
Discouragement cannot stand up to the power of God. The love of Jesus can and will destroy the discouragement you feel if you will only focus on Him. When He is our focus, we will serve others out of our devotion to Christ. When we serve others, we forget our problems. Discouragement will melt away. Jesus is the answer. When you feel like He isn’t listening, He is. Just keep your eyes on Him and off your circumstances. He will lead you through to the other side.