During this quarantine season due to the coronavirus pandemic most of us have been upset and frustrated, at least once. Not being able to work or go to school, shop in stores you like and eat at restaurants, meet people you like, give hugs or shake hands, go to church to worship with other Christian followers, etc. This frustrates and make us sad.
Song of Solomon 2:15 — "Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom". One of the dangerous foxes that this quarantine has is DISCOURAGEMENT. It is something that many people struggle with. Even Christians will be struggling with it. It’s easy for us to allow the pressures and burdens of life to overwhelm us and cause us to despair. Discouragement is like a hand that reaches right into your heart and rips out your courage, confidence, and peace.
How to Overcome Discouragement?
When David was running from Saul, Jonathan (Saul's son and David's best friend) went to David at Horesh, and "encouraged him in God" (1 Samuel 23:16). David was not encouraged with self-help books nor motivational videos. He encouraged himself in God. And from God we should, and need to, look for encouragement to overcome discouragement.
- Remember God’s Goodness to You in The Past
An old hymn says: "Count your many blessings, name them one by one and it will surprise you what the Lord has done." The Psalmist invites us to "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits" (Psalm 103:2). No matter the reason for the discouragement, think about the Lord. Focus on God alone. He is the only One bigger than our discouragement. It is when we look horizontally that we get discouraged. When we look to men and to our circumstances (horizontal) rather than to God (vertical), we easily become weary.
- Remember God's Presence Is with You
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you or forsake you”. And Jesus promises in Matthew 28:20 “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” We are never without Jesus. Open up your eyes and see God's closeness in the present. There is no experience in life that you'll go through that God doesn't go through with you.
- Remember God’s Promise for The Future
God’s word is full of promises. Over and over again God gives these promises for your strength in His word. Isaiah 40:31 “I will help you. I will strengthen you. I will see you through this.” There are things that we don’t understand why they are happening. Life has more questions than answers sometimes. There is much in this life that we cannot know. But this we do KNOW: Jesus lives, and He gives life; Jesus loves, and He gives love. Hell robs, steals, and destroys. Heaven gives good and perfect gifts. Hell CANNOT have its way. Heaven’s purposes WILL prevail. Do NOT be discouraged! Let us continue to TRUST in the Lord. And never forget: You are loved.
Pastor Norberto Obermann