Spiritually Speaking: Defeating Discouragement
By Dr. Ron Woodworth
Everyone gets discouraged sometimes!
I was surprised to find out that even Abraham Lincoln suffered with bouts of depression. During an especially dark time in Lincoln’s life, he sullenly wrote, “I am now the most miserable man living. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell.” However, Lincoln did recover and went on to become one of America’s most-beloved presidents.
Even mighty saints of God were terribly discouraged — even depressed at times —including Moses (Num. 11:15), Elijah (1 Kings 19:4), Jeremiah (Jer. 20:14-18) and Jonah (Jonah 4:3), who all prayed to God to take their life!
Since discouragement is a part of the human experience, we should not feel ashamed or guilty if we are similarly afflicted with it. After all, even Jesus once pleaded to His close disciples that “my soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; please stay and pray with me for awhile” (Matt. 26:38).
However, we can live above the fear of becoming seriously discouraged — leading to even deeper depression — by trusting in God’s Word that He will keep us from temptations that could overwhelm us.
“No temptation (test or trial) will overtake us but such as is common to all. And God is faithful; and will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear; but with that temptation He will provide a way out so that we can come through the test with triumph” (1 Cor. 10:13, adapted).
Remember: Some storms we can rebuke, but others we must endure, trusting in God’s goodness and confident of His grace and wisdom to help us in our time of need (Heb. 4:16).
“I walked a mile with pleasure; she chattered all the way. Leaving me none the wiser; for all she had to say. Then I walked a mile with sorrow; never a word said she. But oh the things I learned that day, when sorrow walk with me” (Robert Browning).
Dr. Ron Woodworth is an online faculty member at GCU. He teaches Christian worldview, university success, philosophy, communication and information literacy. He is a published author, organizational consultant and leadership coach. He is a retired senior and associate pastor, having served for more than 25 years.