Feeling Discouraged. 8/9/2020
Recently I’ve been getting a little discouraged about some things that are going on. When I talk with friends, I hear the same feelings of discouragement in their voices, to some it seems as if the whole world is crashing down around their shoulders. As I looked around and read social media, or watch TV news, it dawned on me there’s not a lot of good news being spread these days. I’ve talked about all the anger, resentment, and just general stress we seem to be experiencing today, and there’s not much that can be done about it, so it’s natural to have these feelings.
Today I want to look at causes us to feel discouraged. How can we cope with our feelings when we are discouraged? What can we do when our friends are discouraged to help them cope with their situations.
We often feel discouraged when we’re jealous of what others have. Psalm 73:2-3, “But as for me, my feet came close to stumbling, My steps had almost slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant As I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”
We feel discouraged when we’ve been suffering (either real sickness or the pressure from society to avoid sickness covid) 1 Peter 5:8-9, “ Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”
In addition to dealing with sickness and jealousy what about just coping with life’s overall demands? I watch as parents try to fit a 36-hour day into 24 hours, they’re constantly rushing here or rushing there. I see people doing their very best to find a job in an economy that seems totally out of whack and having to go to food pantries to feed their families. People are struggling just to make ends meet. Prices are going up, traffic is getting worse and worse, crime seems to be on the rise, and there are more and more people angry and lashing out at everyone else. If often seems like we are either at the end of times or society is just crashing around our ears. It often seems impossible for us to handle what seems to be crisis after crisis and yet if we truly trust and believe in God then we might be able to remember that what seems impossible for us is never impossible for God. In fact, if we do what Psalm 55 verse 22 called us to do and have cast our cares on the Lord and have truly trusted and believed in the Lord then the words in Philippians 4:13 will make sense; “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
I can do ALL things, not I can do SOME things. Remember there is no limit to the power of God, there is no limit to the power of Jesus. The words to the old hymn there is power in the blood are true, there is unlimited power and strength in the blood of Jesus.
The power that we can receive from God allows us to be strong, courageous, steady, enthusiastic and confident that the presence of the Lord in our life will reflect what King David told Solomon in 1 Chronicles 28:20. “Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work or the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”
Those words ‘until all the work or the service of the house of the Lord is finished’ pertain as much to us today as it did then. It is through the power of God, we are able to stay focused on the task at hand and not allow ourselves to be distracted by the little bumps in the road that we encounter. We won’t become dismayed and frustrated by everything that happens, we won’t become disheartened by our setbacks because we will know that in the end we will be successful. Now that success may not be what some in the world call success, but it will be the success that God wants for us.
So we can cope with physical or emotional pain, we can cope with the daily demands of life but what about those times when we are depending on someone else to help us achieve a goal and that person lets us down? That answer is actually both the simplest and yet most complicated.
Our natural reaction when we feel that someone has let us down is usually disappointment and often anger. Now the anger we feel may not be the tear down the building, rant and rave, cuss and fuss type of anger; it may be the inner seething anger that gnaws at our insides. That kind of anger is actually more dangerous to our health that the out in the open kind of anger, because that inner anger will eat away at us, so it is important that we figure out a way to cope with the situation. How do we do that?
First, try to figure out what happened. Did that person deliberately decide not to come through or did something happen that caused them to not be able to fulfill their promise? There are occasions when life just gets in the way and the other person cannot be there for us. If on the other hand, they just decided to say the heck with it and blew it off then you have a right to feel disappointed. However, that doesn’t mean you get to just get angry and stay angry with them.
You have to forgive them. Matthew 18:21-22 “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven
Jesus is very clear about the subject of forgiveness. There’s no misunderstanding, there’s no ambiguity present, and we have to forgive. Does that mean, we should forget what happened? No, it simply means that we are to forgive, let it go and move on with our lives. If you stay focused on the wrong that you perceive was done to you, then you will never be able to reach your goals, because you will always be looking backwards.
So practice forgiveness, practice understanding and then you will be in good position to help others who are having trouble coping with issues. Remember what I talked about earlier, about how God provides us with comfort when we need it. One of the reasons is so that we can learn from His generosity towards us so that we can be sensitive to the needs of others. In second Corinthians chapter 1 verse 4 “who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” It is vital that we do for others what God has done for us.
It all sounds good in theory but how can we actually do this? First, we need to listen to them, not necessarily try to solve their issues but just listen as they talk about whatever it is that they are facing. In the book of Job Chapter 21 verse 2, Job says “Listen carefully to my speech, And let this be your way of consolation”. The key is listening, as I said, not always trying to come up with a solution, just listen. When we do that, quite often we can provide more comfort than if we try to DO something for the other person.
Active listening is being involved, asking questions, because when we show interest in what the other person is telling us that demonstrates that we are empathizing with them. We are in fact identifying with them and when we do that, we have the ability to bring someone to God. It gives us the opportunity to show how God has worked in our own lives. When we do that then as Paul tell us in 1 Corinthians 9:22 “To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some” It is important that we do as the Lord commanded us when He said, that we are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.
Then we will be acting as disciples of Jesus. Life is full of ups and downs, life is full of challenges, both for ourselves and for others. When we remember to keep God in the center of our lives, we will be able to always cope with whatever we face, be it physical or emotional pain. The pain caused by someone letting us down or betraying us and once we are truly in submission to His will we will be able to help others and that is really what it is all about.
Until next week, remember open you bible and believe because, there’s always a way to stay in the saddle when life is trying to buck you off. God Bless and Peace y’all