Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Battling Discouragement

By Kristen Leigh Evensen
Yesterday, I was fighting a battle.
The battle was not against flesh and blood. The battle was with discouragement. I felt like I was deflecting fiery arrows all day long, trying with all my might to tread water and stay afloat in the truth. 

Who of you has felt discouraged lately? Do you know what's funny about discouragement at times? It does not have to be founded on much of anything. Really, I had nothing much to be discouraged about yesterday. Nothing much being the key phrase. The fact is, the enemy can take a little "nothing much" and turn it into something "exceedingly" discouraging.

Exceedingly discouraged. Yes, that describes the state of my heart as it was last night.

What trumps the hardship of these types of days, though, is the amazing, remarkable way that God can take our discouragement and turn it into beauty. With ears tuned and eyes opened, we can be made aware of the sanctification process in our hearts, minds, and wills. When we seek Christ in the midst of discouragement, we soon enough find that our cries for help can be transformed into declarations of Jesus' steadfast love.

As Christ followers, we have a choice to make in the midst of our discouragement. What will we do with it? Succumb to it (like I did in moments)? Or proclaim the victory and love of Christ over it?

My light-bulb moment: Proclaiming the victory of Christ over our discouragement could be as simple as remembering the Gospel! This is what occurred to me yesterday, as I ruminated over the root of my discouragement. When thoughts proved difficult to form and prayers hard to utter, when my heart seemed to fail within me, it all culminated in the realization of how desperately I need Jesus! 

We are desperate for His love. And God knows this about us. Our frailty. Our need for His saving grace and steadfast love to wash over us and make us more like Himself. 

I opened my Bible to Psalm 143 this morning, and it speaks beautifully of looking to Gospel truths in our trials and discouragement:

5 I remember the days of old;
    I meditate on all that you have done;
    I ponder the work of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. 

7 Answer me quickly, O Lord!
    My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.

May the reality of the Gospel, the beauty of Christ's steadfast love for us, be the very truth to encourage our hearts and dispel discouragement! Because He loves us that much, we can trust in His perfect, atoning sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. We can trust our redemption. We can trust that, even in our discouragement, He is making us more like Christ! We are wrapped in His steadfast love today and everyday, and we no longer have to dwell in discouragement. 

Loving Father God, Because your love is better than life our lips will praise You! Protect us from the enemy's arrows today, as we meditate on your steadfast love for us. Replace any discouragement with the truth of our identity as your children, wholly beloved daughters of the Most High. We trust in Your love!


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