Encouraging Words for the Discouraged
“When life gives you more than you can stand, kneel.” Unknown
We All Face Discouragement
We all have hopes and dreams for today and the future, however, our lives can pave way for a battering of unexpected disappointments and times of loss. There are many causes for us to become discouraged – whether it be grief, career/job, sickness or health problems, bad marriage, financial issues, stress and anxiety, loneliness, abuse, lack of purpose or self-worth and the list goes on. Sometimes these situations can appear seemingly impossible, insurmountable or just a drain to our overall well-being.
You are not alone. Even the most influential and notable people in the Bible (Moses, Elijah, David, Paul (2 Corinthians 11:23-28), Job, etc.) faced times of discouragement. It is how we respond to those circumstances and where we put our trust that matter. The burdens and scars that each of us carry can be great or small. “Walk gently in the lives of others. Not all wounds are visible.” Not sure who quoted this, but it is an important reminder as to being sensitive in how we interact with those around us in our everyday lives.
When I Got the Bad News
Thirteen years ago, I suspected something was wrong and went to the doctor for tests. I remember being at work that day, waiting in an adjacent office area, moments away from being called next to do a presentation for an acquisition at hand. I saw the familiar telephone number flash across my phone. It was the doctor’s office. Nervously, I quietly picked up the phone. The news wasn’t good, “You tested positive for cancer” echoed from the opposite end of the phone. In that moment, I remembered exactly what I was wearing and the feeling of discouragement. A tear rolled down my face as the call concluded. What was interesting is that there was peace inside. I could distinctly hear the words, “Everything is going to be ok.” It was not audible but was crystal clear inside my heart and mind. In that moment, I decided that this would not define me, and I was going to get in front of this matter.
I prayed about it and gave it over to God. Surgery and treatment began immediately thereafter. I was at the hospital preparing for surgery when a guard walked in. This hospital guard was responsible for ensuring my valuables (i.e., wallet/purse) were locked up securely. Then something interesting happened. He looked at me with such thoughtfulness and care, saying, “Everything is going to be ok.” He did not know my situation. I needed to hear those words in that exact moment. It was a powerful moment of hope that I will never forget. There was peace in my heart, because I knew God ‘had me close’, no matter what came out of it.
My diagnosis with cancer was known to very few people, until now.
“The key is to learn to trust God, no matter what our fears are. And we can trust Him, because He loves us, and He is greater than anything we’ll ever face.” Reverend Billy Graham
Discouragement and Encouraging Scriptures
While going through trials and times of suffering, we often feel overwhelmed by self-pity and struggling with our emotions and feelings. Discouragement is a feeling of having lost hope or confidence; the state of having lost your confidence or enthusiasm for something. Discouragement is the opposite of faith. Hope – this Hebrew word as noted in the book of Psalms signifies “to wait with expectation.”
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 1:9
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. John 14:1
For with God nothing will be impossible. Luke 1:37
What To Do About It
Whatever [the] fears, encourage [yourself] to face them—and then turn them over to God. God loves [you], and when we know Christ and have put our faith and trust in Him, we know He will never abandon us.” Reverend Billy Graham
Don’t get consumed with the size of your problem. I know that is easier said than done. The important part is how we respond. When you feel tempted to yield to discouragement, go to God in prayer. It is ok to ask God questions, but they should not grow into accusations against God. With humility and reverence, relentlessly bring all your cares, great and small to God and trust Him even when it feels like nothing is happening. He loves us so much. 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” No matter how difficult the situation may be, never stop praying and always give thanks for what you do have in your life.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
A person of faith will trust in the Lord through prosperity or adversity even while unable to understand why bad things happen. It’s easy to trust when everything is perfect in our lives. The real test is how we respond to God when things are not going well.
We Don’t Always Get the Answer We Want
There are times when our prayers are not answered the way we prayed. Please do not lose hope. On November 19, 2021, I stood helplessly watching my husband being unable to breathe. I cried out on the inside as doctors surrounded my husband and begged with all my inner being to God to please let everything be ok (just like when I had cancer). I thought it would be ok and had faith. The circumstance didn’t turn out the way I prayed. My husband unexpectedly died that evening. We must understand (as difficult as it is) that there is a bigger vantage point than what we see here. While on this earth, we do not have all the answers of ‘why’. One day when I meet Him face to face, I will understand the ‘whys’ in my life.
He is our comforter, and He cares about all our needs. We must trust Him no matter what even when the situation at hand feels greater than what we can stand or bear.
“Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:25-26
“Fear can banish faith, but faith can banish fear.” Reverend Billy Graham
Keep this in mind when circumstances seem unbearable in your life. “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” 1 Corinthians 10:13
When we focus outward and not just on ourselves, it moves our focus off discouragement in our own lives. I’m not suggesting you simply ignore an issue or situation, just don’t let it rob you of joy.
When another person is feeling discouraged, sometimes all they need are kind and uplifting words to re-energize and feel encouraged. No one wants to hear shallow words. A suffering person often needs someone to be a friend and a comforter rather than a judge who simply wishes to give reproof.
In a quote from Reverend Billy Graham, “A suffering person does not need a lecture-he needs a listener.”
We want to give genuine, positive encouragement to others – praise, support, boost, lift, endorse, etc. It is not flattery or empty praise but can truly revitalize a person’s current position. When we encourage others, we also will feel better. “Those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11
This may sound small to some, but since my husband died, each morning and each night my younger sister sends me a text to say good morning and to say good night. She has either funny GIFS that make me laugh, uplifting messages about God or just tells me how exhausted she is from the day. Her simple messages are special to me and have been very encouraging over the past year. I don’t feel alone when her messages come through. These texts make me feel like she’s right beside me, saying “I’m here with you, sissy. You are not alone.”
Message of Hope
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8
If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I’d encourage to go to this link on our Portal of Hope website, Message of Hope. All you do is believe and receive and trust who He says he is and what He has done for us. It must come from your heart. There is hope.
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”