A Date With Discouragement
Ever had a bad date? You know, the one where you’re sitting right across the table from the person and it hits you that it’s just not going to work. That’s how I feel about discouragement. I hate it and I hate being down. I always try to see the good in people and the best in the worst of situations. I guess you could say I am the glass is always half full type of person. But even If the glass isn’t always half full, I conclude that at least I am blessed with a cup and a little something to drink. The thing about discouragement is that it’s a lot harder to break up with than a bad date.
Hope! It’s what we have believers. It’s what sets us apart from a dark world. But on some days, hope is harder to hold onto than others. For me, those days have turned into weeks and those weeks have turned into months. Every morning I wake up and remember that nothing has changed and that’s when discouragement sets in.
The weird thing for me is that I felt bad about being discouraged like it made me less of Christian to have succumb to despondence. I hated being in this place. I would smile and laugh for my colleagues and friends because that’s the person I wanted to be and the person many people know me as. I wanted to be happy and hopeful again. But when I was on my own, I did a lot of crying and lot of questioning God. I couldn’t understand why He wasn’t changing things for me. He had always been there in times past, why was He neglecting me now? I wanted out. Discouragement was definitely not my cup of tea but it was the exact cup of tea I needed.
To everything there is a season.
I am reminded that every season has an end so that another one can begin. My favorite season is summer, fall is a close second, and spring is another top contender. Winter though, is a pain. Outside of Christmas it serves no purpose to my happiness. It’s cold, brittle, and silent. But it is obviously a season God deemed necessary that we should have. Winter restarts the healing and growth process. It allows us to rejuvenate and prepare for the warmer days ahead. For me, it also makes me more appreciative for the days that are sunnier and inviting so that I can sit outside and write blog posts like this one. Without winter the seasons would be imbalanced and incomplete.
The ecclesiastical proverb goes on to talk about there being a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance (Ecclesiastes 3:4), a time for despondence and a time to be hopeful and happy. Of course, I prefer the latter over the mourning and the weeping. But God’s word says that we must have both. If God gave us everything we wanted, when we wanted it, and made our lives plush and easy He would merely be degraded to a Jinni in a bottle and we would be the spoiled bratty saints. Dark days are needed to keep us humble. Sorrow reminds us that we are human and He is God and that breaks us to repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10). Discouragement and weakness reminds us that we don’t have all the answers and forces us to lean on the one who does (2 Corinthians 12:9). These moments of disappoint try our relationship with God but also builds trust in Him at the same time.
Some of the greatest men and women God used in the bible endured discouragement, depression, despondence, and disheartening. David was a man after God’s own heart, but if you know the book of Psalms then you are very much aware that David had many down moments. As much as he had seen God work in his life, he still got discouraged (1 Samuel 30:6, Psalm 41, Psalm 142, Psalm 86, ). Or how about the prophet Elijah who prayed that he might die (1 Kings 19:4)?
The moral of the story is that sorrow, moments of weakness, and discouragement are all a part of growing in God. They are a part of a season that will one day change. You’re no less of Christian for having a moment where you feel hopeless because feelings change. The truth is, you are not hopeless. At the end of almost every one of David’s Psalms, he picks himself up and continues hoping in the promises of God and trusting in His Lord (Psalm 142:7). Elijah the prophet was ministered to by angels, fed, and instructed to return to his assignment (1 Kings 19).
The things that I have been praying for have not changed one lick and while I may feel hopeless, I know for a fact that I am not. Jesus is working. He is not ignorant of my pain but He is also at work. I won’t stop praying and I won’t stop trusting. This is my season and I will endure it. Is it easy? Absolutely not. In fact, it is very painful. I am like David when I cry to the Lord, “Save me, O God” (Psalm 69:1), “You know my reproach, my shame, and my dishonor” (69:19), “I am poor and sorrowful” (69:29). But I am also like David who understood discouragement is only meant for a season and I will NOT dwell there. At the end of my pity party I will always sing…
Let Your salvation, O God, set me up on high.
I will praise the name of God with a song,
And will magnify Him with thanksgiving.
This also shall please the Lord better than an ox or bull,
Which has horns and hooves.
The humble shall see this and be glad;
And you who seek God, your hearts shall live.
For the Lord hears the poor,
And does not despise His prisoners
(Psalm 69:29-33, New King James Version)
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