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The Problem with Discouragement

October 25, 2017
Benjamin Spalink

It's easy to lose perspective when facing discouragement.  Sometimes, God is extending his Hand to us, but our discouraged hearts fail to perceive it.  We stay discouraged even though help is just around the corner.

"Moses reported this (God's plan) to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor." (Exodus 6:9)

Moses comes as God's ambassador to deliver the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He is preparing a spectacular show of supernatural power.  Redemption is just around the corner, but the Israelites fail to appreciate the news of what God is about to do. Their daily toil, difficult lives, discouragement and their suffering have depressed them to the point where good news falls on deaf ears. In their hearts, they believe things can only get worse, not better.

The problem with discouragment is the way it obscures future glory so as to be unhelpful in the present. Suffering slows down time and narrows your focus.  The discouraged person can't see the big picture even if they're standing on the cusp of a great turnaround.  All that exists for the discouraged person is the feelings of dissapointment, depression, pain and hopelessness that overwhelm the NOW.  Creativity is stifled and hope is obscured.  All that exists is THIS, this situation, this problem, this failure, this impossibly complex mess that can never be fixed.

The good news is that discouragement doesn't change your prospects.  God still comes to deliver discouraged people from slavery! His Redemption is not dependent on your appreciation or feelings towards it. He's coming anyway even if you're discouraged and can't appreciate that hope is real.  Times will change.  THIS is not ALL there is.  NOW will pass.  Your feelings will change, even if you can't imagine a world in which you could possibly feel differently than you feel right now. God's kingdom is coming to those who least expect and least deserve it ("Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God").  Jesus has risen from the dead, so death does not have the final say.

Words of hope often fall on deaf ears, but they don't have to. God loves discouraged people, so you don't have to stay discouraged.  After death, resurrection is coming.  Hang in there.

"Come. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence." (Hosea 6:1-2)

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