Encouraged by Discouragement

RTB_Plank-Road-In-The-Sky-Hua-Shan-China

I came across a beautiful little encouragement in 2 Chron. the other day:

“But you, be strong and do not lose courage, for there is reward for your work.”

2 Chron. 15:7

This was a much needed encouragement for me as lately my work-life has felt rather fruitless. I’ve had several ‘what am I even doing this for’ moments and been tempted to give up more than once. This verse came as a very blessed reassurance.

But there’s more to it than that. As I read it, similar verses of encouragement sprang to mind and I was reminded of the many times men and women throughout the Bible – great heroes of the faith – needed and received encouragement. But why?

Really, go with me on this. Why would those great people, who saw God’s amazing works first-hand and left behind such powerful testimonies, ever feel like quitting? Didn’t they realize God was for them and everything would work out according to His perfect will? Didn’t they have faith that was strong enough to banish all doubt?

But that’s coming from the perspective of someone who’s looking back on the situation, not as someone who’s caught in the middle of it.

Here in the midst of my discouragement, surrounded by the fears of failure, I quickly fall prey to the delusion that I alone ever feel this way. Everyone else has it figured out, everyone else is two steps ahead, and then there’s me… floundering. See how I could wonder why the great heroes of the Bible, the men and women I aspire to, ever needed encouragement?

Then came the revelation: on the battleground, in the midst of the fighting, obeying God is hard. And confusing. And often times, it feels completely fruitless.

And what happens when it gets tough? The enemy sweeps in and whispers that we’ve got it wrong.

“Did God really say…?”

“If only you could go back and make that choice over again…”

“You’ve strayed so far outside of God’s will. Now you’ll never have His best for you…”

“Things aren’t going right, you must have done something wrong…”

“You’ve messed up; now you’re useless, fruitless, barren…”

These whispers, these doubts, are not indicative of failure. Quite the opposite.

Think about it: if you were headed in the wrong direction, would satan want you to quit and turn around?

Of course not! He would want you to walk as far down that wrong-way road as he could get you! Then he’d try to have you wallow in complacency, relax, and fall asleep in the shade.

And I can promise that those doubts and fears are not from God. That is not what Godly conviction looks like.

See, growth hurts because we don’t really want it. Anything worth having must be fought for and, far from being a good excuse to give up, the struggle is actually a good sign that we are on the right track.

That’s why God’s followers have always needed encouragement. It’s normal to feel discouraged and confused when things don’t go as we planned and when growth hurts more than we expected. Just because the going gets tough, that doesn’t mean we took a wrong turn. Giving into the doubts and fears is what will lead us to make a wrong turn.

So if you, like me, have been feeling weighed down and discouraged by the rough trek, don’t fall for satan’s lies that you aren’t right where God wants you. Go ask your Father if there is anything holding you back from complete obedience, then do what He tells you to do.

Don’t give into discouragement. Instead, see it for what it is: a good sign that you’re on the right track. 

Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:5-8

Advertisements

About Leah Ness

I am a self-professed story addict. Ever since I was little, I've had an overactive imagination and a passion for a well-spun yarn. When I grew up, I was blessed with a passion for God as well. It was then that I noticed a relative shortage of unique Christian fiction, the kind that can both captivate you and glorify God. So, despite the hurdles of things like commas and homonyms, I am endeavoring to write some of my own. Check out my Books page for updates on current and future books. View all posts by Leah Ness

11 responses to “Encouraged by Discouragement

  • Sue C.

    Thank you. I needed to hear that today.

  • nessa3

    What happens when you felt you heard God to go to a church and it became abusive…I tried hanging in there and being faithful…keeing my focus on God not what man was doing. Got outside council from 5 different qualified people to leave…Im in counciling but …I feel lost confused, cant trust… everything religious sounds like their abuse…no hope , no joy. i dont doubt my salvation…but fearful of more betrayl and abuse….Im emotionally shut down

    • Leah Ness

      I am so, so sorry to hear that you have been abused and mistreated by the people who are supposed to love and care for you the most. I have several loved ones in my life who have been abused by the church so I understand how it can be tempting to give up on Christians altogether. If you are being abused by your church, that is not the sort of battle to which I was referring in my ‘stick it out’ advice. You are a precious child of God and you have a right to defend yourself and take care of yourself. I have written on church hopping and church hurt before, and I do believe it’s important to realize that our fellow Christians are just as human as we are. Sometimes, we need to extend to them the same grace we would to a sibling or parent. However, if it is an abusive situation in which you are undergoing emotionally and spiritual trauma, my advice is to leave. There are so many loving churches out there and, as long as you’re willing to love and be loved by imperfect people, I believe God will lead you to a place of deep and healthy fellowship. Try not to give up on us Christians altogether, but if you need to take a brief break from church just to heal with God, I think you should certainly do so. Then perhaps try churches recommended by trusted family and friends. I’ll be praying for you! Please feel free to contact me if you ever need or want someone to talk to: joyfulness5113@gmail.com. God bless!

  • writefury

    Great job, Leah! I really needed this right now, since I’m down with the mumps.
    Thanks so much for the encouragement! 🙂

  • Cyndi Gates

    Beautifully said. Your words are so deeply needed. Perhaps the very reason you are going through this trial is so you could post these warm encouraging words for others. Great help to remember that our God is faithful to His Word; we always have hope in Him.
    “Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and establish you in every good word and work.” II Thessalonians 2:16-17

    • Leah Ness

      Thank you =) I’m glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for your encouraging feedback; I do hope that by sharing the lessons God teaches me, I can bless others who are going through similar situations =) Thank you also for sharing the beautiful verse!

  • mirthandmelancholy

    Leah, just shared your post on FB. Thanks for following me. A true encourager, you are. From your encouragee.

    • Leah Ness

      Thank you so much! I’m really glad you liked it! I really enjoyed what you had to say about encouragement as well and I’m keeping a look-out for people to encourage this week =)

Thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: