I battle discouragement. As long as I can remember, I always have. Some days, I struggle more than others and some seasons present more difficult daily battles, but the temptation to give in to discouragement has been an ever-present reality in my life for years.
I wonder if you can relate?
Mistakes we’ve made, sins we’ve committed, sins that have been committed against us, and opportunities we’ve lost can all ring loudly as the dominant notes in our ears like a sad song set in a minor key. On this side of heaven, we can easily become disheartened, dispirited, and cast down. Things are not all as they should be.
The God of Encouragement
Yet, there is hope for the disheartened and discouraged. Our God is “the God of endurance and encouragement” (Romans 15:5). In the midst of a broken world, God sustains His children. He speaks and quiets our fears. He lifts our spirits. He delivers us from the depths of our discouragements. He fills us with hope.
I can remember one particular, extended season in my life several years ago that was marked by discouragement. Though people may not have perceived it outwardly, inwardly I was cast down. I had recently transitioned jobs, and I felt like a complete failure. I was sad. I was burdened. I was lonely. I was struggling, and I wondered if God could ever use me again.
In my regular reading of Scripture, I stumbled upon the first chapter of Joshua, the account of God commissioning Joshua to lead the Israelites into the Promised Land just after the death of Moses. It is no exaggeration to say that God used these verses to powerfully transform my perspective, deliver me from deep discouragement, and profoundly encourage my soul.
Here’s what I read:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9).
A Gracious Command
It was as if the Lord had gently but firmly grabbed a hold of my shoulders, looked me square in the eye and said, “I know what you are going through, and I am commanding you now to be strong and courageous and to not give in to discouragement and despair.”
A Precious Promise
God could have ended the sentence after giving this gracious command, but he didn’t. In his kindness, He provided a precious promise powerful enough to deliver us from deep discouragements and despair:
“The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God is with us. Not only is He with His children. He is with us wherever we go. If you are in Christ, the God of all endurance and encouragement is with you right where you are. He is with you to sustain you, support you, and empower you.
I realized that morning that though my job had changed, God’s presence was continually with me. Richard Sibbes has written, “His presence makes any condition comfortable.” (The Bruised Reed). In the light of this truth, my entire outlook was instantly changed. I can remember walking in to my new job that day with a sense of empowerment and purpose and the confidence that where I was, God was there.
God is the God of encouragement. Discouragements do not come from Him. He is with you, and He will never leave or forsake you (Heb. 13:5-6). No matter what. Take all your discouragements directly to Him and the God of encouragement will meet you there.
Question: What Scriptures have been used by God to encourage you the most? How have you been delivered from deep discouragements?