I was thinking of discouragement today and ways to overcome it. The last few months have brought about various circumstances that have given room for discouragement to pop up, and this morning was one of those times. I have to admit that patience is not my strong point in life. It's one of those things that I'm slow in learning. I like to see things happen and if it's not happening I want to jump in and do what I can to make it happen! Unfortunately, there are some things in life that are out of my element to do anything about, but sit back and wait. Waiting of course involves patience, so that's another one of my weak points! It's probably a really good thing that I'm not able to take everything into my own hands tho, cause I'd probably make a big mess of things! :) Anyways, discouragement popped it's head up this morning when I started thinking of my car that's been parked in the driveway the last several weeks after a road trip accident that left it possibly unrepairable. It's kinda out of my realm to find out what can actually be done for it, who can do it, get an estimate on repair costs, and what not. I've been pretty anxious to see what can be done about it, especially as the weeks continue to slip by. Needless to say, I was feeling prettty discouraged, wondering if we'll ever get back on the road. Sometimes questions flood my mind "why the accident?" Certainly God could have prevented it. But then I'm called to bear in mind God's loving mercy in sparing our lives. It's not for me to question the "why" about it, but rather offer back to Him a life of praise and worship for His loving kindness and tender mercies, and to try to learn from the lessons God had for me through the accident - a new understanding that He sustaines every breath I breathe; that He is in ultimate control of my life, my hopes, my dreams, my future, my all; that I can fully trust Him when things in life are totally out of my control, to stop fighting the wheel and to trust Him to land me safely, as I did that night when the car was spinning uncontrollably.
As I've been faced with discouragement, not just in the area of my car, but also other various trials throughout life - when things press against my will, a struggle in a relationship, a spiritual attack from the enemy, or simply having to wait in darkness, I've learned, and am still learning, to recognize it is from God. He allows these things to come into our lives to refine and purify us for His glory. It's hard for discouragement to grow when we recognize that whatever situation or trial we face is from His loving hand.
Secondly, I've learned to thank Him in the trials. Discouragement cannot grow in a thankful heart. Even when we can't see the reason behind the trial, we can thank God for the things we don't see as yet. The following song from the cd, Adopted, has become very precious to me as I've gone through various night seasons in life.
Thank you, Father, for the night time,
for the promise of the day.
Thank you for your mercies
and the truth of all you say.
Thank you for the grace you give
to strengthen me in faith,
And countless helps you send along the way.
I can't wait to thank you
for the things I haven't seen as yet;
the way your hand has guided me
to keep me out of Satan's net.
The things I thought were hurting me
were turned into my good.
How can I ever thank you as I should?
Thank you for the ones I love,
The blessings of my life,
The goodness that's surrounding me
from the heart of God so kind.
Thank you that you're holding me
today and everyday,
and countless helps you send along the way.
Lastly, I was thinking how discouragement crumbles when we put our faith in God. When I am down and feeling more than discouraged; when everything seems totally hopeless, I find that just going to the Word and dwelling on His promises, He renews my strength, my hope is restored, and I am able to go on with peace, even through the darkness, trusting His guiding hand. I love the verse in Psalms: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? Why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God." (42:11) God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think, He is able to make all grace abound toward you, He is able to keep you from falling, He will never leave you or forsake you, He knoweth the way you take, and He makes all things beautiful in His time...and so many more precious promises.
In some ways, I feel my trials right now are minuscule compared to what some of you are going through and the trials you're facing, but I do know what deep discouragement is from the past and my prayers are with you. May you find hope and encouragement as you continue to let God perfect His purpose in these things, and in knowing that with God all things are possible!
Blessings on your day,