Though we may not always understand God and His ways, we can find encouragement in His goodness to us.
For the believer, discouragement can come in many forms, but Satan is usually the instigator. He wants to keep our focus on negative things instead of on God.
One form of spiritual discouragement is subtle—the idea that we cannot please the Lord. If you were to write down everything you thought you must do to please God, how long would the list be before it was complete? You might assume you should read the Bible more, pray more, give more, witness more. All of us could probably fill both sides of our paper. But then we’d realize it’s impossible to consistently accomplish every task on the list. That’s the trap. What pleases the Lord is our obedience, not our adherence to a long checklist of duties.
Another source is unanswered prayer. God does not necessarily answer in the manner we want or with the timing we would prefer. When that happens, we might want to give up on prayer or even on the Lord Himself.
Next time you’re feeling disheartened, turn your focus to God and pray three things aloud: Thank Him for being with you through the discouragement, admit He’s in control of your life, and acknowledge that He loves you and is working circumstances for good.
I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
I will glory in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called, and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.