Dealing with Discouragement
Perhaps you haven’t heard…the Cubs are now the 2016 World Series Champions! Of course you’ve heard, right? I’m telling you, the last game was a nerve-wracking game! I have to admit that when the rain delay came, I headed for home. It seemed to me that the game would either be finished much later or even the next day. But by the time I got home from Ginger’s, I had a text message: Cubs are winning! A few minutes later, I got another text: Cubs won! I could hardly believe it! How exciting! Fireworks in my neighborhood and everything! All our married life, Ken rooted for the Cubs. He was an armchair coach…and an avid one! I wish he could have seen the game that night.
I got to thinking about the relationship between the crowd and the players. The fans were cheering for the team throughout the entire game. In fact, they tell me that in the first home game, the fans never stopped hollering and never sat down after the first pitch!
Hebrews 11 tells us the story of a whole bunch of Bible characters that lived by faith through extremely difficult situations…Noah and Joshua and Abraham and Sarah, for instance, and some who endured in dire circumstances, but their names were not mentioned. A cloud of witnesses, the writer of Hebrews calls these fine examples of believing saints.
We are told that we are surrounded by this great cloud of witnesses meant to cheer us on. Now, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not they are actually surrounding us or if it is their testimonies that spur us on. (I heard of a man who was pronounced dead for 10 minutes and when he revived, he claimed the sky really was filled with the saints of old, enthusiastically cheering us on, calling out loudly, “Keep going! Don’t give up! Be faithful! Jesus is coming soon!”) Well, that might be and that might not be! The truth, however, is that somehow, one way or another, the believers of days past are urging us on to victory!
After the game, I pictured myself, down in the middle of Wrigley Field, running a race with the stands full of people cheering me on. “Keep going, Sharon! Be steadfast! Run with endurance the race that is set before you! Keep looking to Jesus, the founder and finisher of your faith….”
“There’s Daniel! And Deborah! And Elijah! “ I said. “Wow! Look at them all! Over there is a whole bunch of my relatives! And there…there…I see some of my “now” friends yelling and screaming for me to hang in there!
I just want to tell you that I hear you and I thank you!
We Should Never Be Discouraged...but we are, right?
How many times does God encourage His people not to be discouraged!
It must be that He knew it was a problem back then and would be all the way down the road. I've been so discouraged at times that I could hardly lift my foot in the first step toward the nursing home. I have gone after devastating phone calls and stood before the people unable to speak without tears. When we throw ourselves into the battle and into the harvesting of souls, we can count on the enemy being close behind!
Do you have a story to tell about being so down in the dumps yet plodding off to do your ministry to the old folk? Tell us about it, okay?