If you’ve lived on planet Earth for more than five minutes, you’ve encountered discouragement. As sure as the sun rises and sets, discouragement is inevitable. Not encouraging enough for you? Then perhaps together we can discover what the Word of God says about the subject and how to face it.
1 Samuel 16 tells the story of David, a shepherd boy, anointed by Samuel to be the king over Israel. What a great day this must have been. Can you imagine how proud his father was? Yet, David didn’t assume the throne overnight. It was at least ten years before he reigned over Judah and another seven years until he reigned over Israel. Along the way, David was tested many times, even to the point of death. King Saul, rejected by God, grew jealous of David’s fame and attempted to kill him on two occasions. Saul pursued David endlessly for years, putting David, his men and their families in harm’s way.
Nevertheless, David did ascend the throne eventually and had the testimony by God that he had become “the man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22, NKJV). There had been many moments David was discouraged enough to give up which would have placed his future as the king of Israel in jeopardy. Psalm 42:5 recounts a low point in David’s life when he encouraged himself in the Lord.
Imagine being present at Jesus’ baptism. John the Baptist, recognizing Him, makes much of the occasion before the gathering crowd, declaring, “I need to be baptized by You and are You coming to me?” (Matthew 3:14, NKJV). John finally relents and “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’” (Matthew 3:16-17 NKJV).
This was a powerful moment! God showed up in a mighty way. In modern church vernacular, revival broke out. And yet, immediately the Spirit of God led Jesus into the wilderness. Every Christian knows well the ministry Jesus came to fulfill and He too would be tested. Like David, He went from a mountaintop to a valley. Satan threw everything he could at Jesus to distract Him, to dissuade Him, to tempt Him and keep Him from fulfilling His purpose. These were stressful, discouraging moments for Jesus; so much so that angels were sent to minister to Him.
I’ve heard it said, “the greater the call, the greater the test.” It’s during times of testing that Satan comes to us with discouragement. If allowed to grow, it will kill vision. Jesus put it this way, “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life” (John 10:10, NLT).
If you’ve ever had a mountaintop experience where vision abounds and have suddenly found yourself in a wilderness of uncertainty, take heart! Satan is terrified of the great purpose for which God created you and he will stop at nothing to steal it from you. One of His biggest tools is discouragement. Trust in God. Remember how good He’s been to you and be encouraged. God will bring you through this.
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Rob Granger is Senior Pastor of Faith Harbor Church, a non-denominational church that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Escondido Columbus Hall, 515 W. Valley Parkway. His wife, Becky, serves as Co-Pastor. Videos of Pastor Rob’s sermons can be seen on YouTube by typing faith harbor church escondido ca in the YouTube search box. Visit fhcescondido.com for information about Faith Harbor Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.