Seasons of Discouragement
“Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
During a season of discouragement, I can’t convince myself that it’s going to end. Current discouragement always seems permanent. When discouraged, the Bible often frustrates me. I understand little to nothing and struggle with wandering thoughts. So, I just go through the motions and do my best to fight through wondering, “What’s the point? Why bother?”
When I’m discouraged and feel like reading God’s word is pointless, I must remember that my feelings often inaccurately gage the impact of God’s word on my inner self. I must force my vision outside of my feelings and remember that all previous seasons of discouragement eventually ended, which means this one will too.
Perseverance is Essential
Never has consistently meditating (i.e., reflecting) on scripture failed to significantly aid my struggle through discouragement. Though the process seems minutely gradual at times, that’s how progress journeys to visible growth. Perseverance is essential to spiritual growth in the struggle through discouragement.
While I cannot feel the progress during this current season of discouragement, I can replay the memories of moving through and out of previous ones. In doing so, I come to know the truth currently at play even though feelings fail to confirm its activity.
While there are many others, three portions in particular showcase why Scripture encourages me.
“Keep this book of the law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid.; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9)
“Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on it day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of living water, which yield its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” (Psalm 1: 1-3)
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)
God doesn’t just suggest encouragement; he actually commands it. What’s more, he gives us reasons to find that encouragement along with sources for making that happen. The Bible reminds believers that God’s promises continual support for his people, particularly when they become weary, depressed, or disillusioned. The encouragement it offers comes through a focus on God, not on us or our problems.
For me, that focus consistently involves allowing the Bible to:
- Shape my perspective
- Give me boundaries
- Keep me thankful
- Guide my every step
- Renew my hope
The most poignant times of discouragement in my life came clouded with depression and despair because of the absence of God’s Word in my habits and routines. Every time, though, God drew me back and drew me in. Those seasons eventually ended, and I understood their role in my growth. Because he’s done this so many times before in my life and because his word promises he’s always with me, I know he’ll bring me through this season too.