victory over the priests of Baal, and now Elijah expected that the idol-worshiping kingand queen of Israel would repent. Instead, the queen swore that she would kill Elijah.Elijah ran for his life.We also become discouraged from time to time, just like God’s great servants inthe Bible. James 5:17 says, “Elijah was a man just like us.” Everyone has emotions,vulnerabilities, and physical limits.
What causes discouragement?
We become discouraged for many reasons. Oftentimes, the cause of our discouragement is a combination of emotional, physical, and spiritual challenges thatmake the situation seem impossible. Like the character in
The Pilgrim’s Progress
, we areheld captive by despair and doubt. Some of the challenges that can cause discouragementinclude:
Emotional challenges such as feelings of loneliness and abandonment, lack of self-confidence, fear of persecution, and personal loss and grief.
Physical challenges such as illness, lack of sleep, a gloomy environment, andclinical depression.
Spiritual challenges such as lack of prayer and unrepented sin.But we can overcome discouragement in our lives because of God. No matter what obstacles we face in our lives, God is bigger than those obstacles. In Elijah’s case,God led Elijah back to Mount Horeb (also known as Mount Sinai where God met withMoses). Elijah met God face-to-face and then obeyed God’s direction to go back andcontinue what God had called him to do. In the same way, God can help us overcomediscouragement in our lives by finding the reasons to continue doing His work.
How to overcome discouragement
1. Remember there are seasons to everything
Abraham Lincoln told a story about an ancient king who asked his wise men tofind a saying that would always be applicable, no matter the situation. After muchsearching, the wise men presenting the king with a simple sentence: “And this, too, shall pass away.” The king paused to think about the statement, and then rewarded his wisemen for discovering a truth that was relevant in both good times and bad.When we are discouraged because of difficulties in life, we need to remember thatthe trouble will pass. God allows us to go through difficulties in order to help us grow asChristians, but He also gives us times of rest and refreshment. God can use any difficultyto teach and train us.
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time,but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for thosewho have been trained by it