Walking and talking – one of my favorite things to do with a friend. We covered 3-4 miles on a sunny, cool morning and many topics ranging from parenting teenagers, memories, misc. stuff, our parents, church, and faith. My friend shared something with me that I want to share with you. She had looked up “discouragement” in a commentary. The author offered four reasons why we get discouraged as believers: the hardness of the way, the difficulty of the task, the affluence of the wicked, and desires that remain unfulfilled. These all totally make sense to me and I could easily relate to each one. The fact that life is often not as we expected it to be, especially when following Jesus, can be discouraging. To see others who aren’t living for Christ and seem to have so much, or have it easy is discouraging if we let it be. Going through tragedy, sickness, unemployment, persecution, or any other “trial” can definitely wear on us and discourage us. For each of these discouragement “triggers” my friend said a Bible verse was listed to show the remedy for each one according to God. Oddly enough, each verse contained the words, “fear not.” Fear is the culprit! If you think about a tough circumstance or trial you’ve been through, fear is bound to be involved somehow: fear of the unknown, fear of things turning out different than we hope, fear that we won’t make it through, fear that we’re inadequate for the task, fear of others’ opinions, fear of not having what we need or want, fear of failing…
When I don’t fully trust God it shows fear, and that leads to discouragement. Conversely, when I decide to lean out over the edge of the unknown and fully trust in God, even though I can’t see what’s coming, I have such peace and freedom.
Our enemy, satan, loves to use fear. The Bible says however that all we have to do is merely resist him and he will flee! (James 4:7) Remember how many demons were cast out simply by the name of Jesus? In our fear we forget that God is with us. We forget how big and capable God is. We forget how much He loves us and has our good in mind.
I remember one night several years ago having a sense of cold, dark fear come over me while I slept. It wasn’t really a dream, just an awareness of oppression and being afraid that began to overwhelm me. I felt anxiety from just about every nerve ending and a sick feeling in my stomach, my heart started beating faster. I had a thought that if I could say the name of Jesus, I’d be okay. Have you ever tried to say something in a dream and your mouth won’t open, or it opens and nothing comes out, or the words come out in incredible slow motion – like trying to run through water or drag something through thick mud? That was happening to me in my “dream”. I was so determined I actually woke myself up finally groaning “Jesus!” The oppression lifted and the fear subsided…I was able to go back to sleep for the rest of the night. Jesus is so much more powerful and good than satan that just the mention of His name sends the enemy yelping and running. We need reminders that the enemy can fool us, lie to us, distract us toward fear, but he has no real power over us. He has nothing on God! Remember these things (among many others I didn’t list):
- God is on our side (Romans 8:28)
- He loves us (John 3:16)
- Nothing is impossible for Him (Luke 1:37)
- He will give us what we need for each day (Matthew 6:32-33)
- He is strong (Psalm 62:11-12)
- He is wise (I Corinthians 1:25)
- He is faithful (Deut. 32:4)
- He is LOVE (I John 4:16)
- He is everywhere and not leaving us any time soon (Psalm 139:7-12)
When facing a trial or hard time this week or even this day, don’t be afraid! Trust God. Go to Him and pray, Go read His promises and about how good He is in His Word and you’ll get through. Talk to a Christian friend who can support you, pray with you, just be there for you. Not only will you get through but you’ll be stronger, more full of faith, and even more beautiful in God’s eyes on the other side.