Saturday, January 19, 2013

When life has killed the dream...

Discouragement. It's a sly dog. Slipping in without much fuss and then before you know it it's messed with your whole perspective on life.

In India we faced many things that could have been discouraging, but my eyes were focused on The Lord, knowing His Word and being guided by His heart, so discouragement had no place in me. I spent my days rejoicing in the face of the suffering I saw because I was filled with the hope and life that trumps whatever our physical conditions are.
As we moved on, closer to home, things got even more discouraging and it was tempting to give in to the emotion. However, turning to Jesus, pouring out my heart to Him and my team, we reflected on the faithfulness and desire to bless us that The Lord has and we thanked Him and praised Him for it. Then our perspective was renewed, and we saw that He had doubled our blessings in this new location, this harder location.
When I got home the discouraging circumstances multiplied again... Canceled flights, snow storms stranding me in Chicago, sickness, jet lag, loneliness, lack of purpose, etc. When I brought these before The Lord and made petitions I was always refreshed by His unexplainable peace and joy, but when I let the discouragement take root I saw the bitter effects in my attitude and outlook.

Discouragement (and its slimy partner, Doubt) comes to everyone, even the most steadfast and unwavering believers. Our God will work it together for our good, using it to strengthen our dependence and deepen our faith in Him rather than our circumstances, if we will cast our cares upon Him. But how do we keep encouraged? If discouragement is going to come, as believers what do we cling to as unchanging encouragement in the face of it?

Perhaps you are waiting to see His promises fulfilled and the wait has seemed too long... Maybe you are walking forward in faith as The Lord has directed and with each step forward the chance of ever reaching your goal is made to appear more impossible than the last... Perhaps your family member has developed cancer and you don't know how to walk through it with them or encourage them... Maybe you can't make financial ends meet... TAKE HEART. Our God is in the resurrection business and He will never leave you, which means that He is always with you! Take that in.. "The God of angel armies is always by [your] side." Never dwell on the discouragement. Ever. Set your mind and heart on The Lord, His past faithfulness, His present blessings, His constant mercy and abounding love for you. Seek His face in the truths of His Word and in prayer -- thanking Him and asking Him to do what He certainly will, come through and have His way in your circumstances.

One of my greatest joys is to be an encouragement to others. It flows naturally out of me when I'm living rejoicing in The Lord, regardless of my circumstances. Staying encouraged is a choice, because drawing near to Jesus every moment is a choice, but it is worth it -- not only for my own life but for every life that mine touches.

K. P. Yohannan has written as short and encouraging book called "Stay Encouraged". You can read it in 30min and begin applying the truths immediately! You can have your free copy shipped to you by ordering here. I suggest that after you've read it and been blessed that you pay it forward and pass it along to another person you know who could use the same encouragement!

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