When we have been trying to achieve something for a long time and don’t seem to be getting anywhere, it is easy for discouragement to set in—ditto when we face obstacle after obstacle or endless opposition. We start to think there is no point in making all that effort and going through all that trouble and, consequently, give up. This is not the path children of God take.
So, how do we deal with discouragement? Let me tell you a story. You’ll find this in the book of Nehemiah, which makes for some amazing reading. After the Jews returned to Jerusalem following their exile, they began rebuilding the city walls but kept failing. They complained:
“The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall. Also, our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.” Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us” (Nehemiah 4:10-12).
The Israelites acknowledge (even though they may not realize it!) four obstacles they face: fatigue, frustration, fatalism, and fear. These are the same things that happen to us when we face obstacles in our lives. We get tired, frustrated and give in to a sense of despair and fear. Therefore, whatever we do has to combat these challenges.
Consequently, rest! Sleep is the best restorative, and even a couple of good nights sleep will refresh and revitalize us. This is good advice in all situations. We often make terrible decisions and make horrible mistakes when we are tired.
Then reorganize. As a wise man once said, “If the plans don’t work, change the plans, not the goal!” We may fail because we are going about things the wrong way. Some modifications (or even a total rethink) might make it work.
Resist the discouragement. Sometimes we need to give ourselves a pep talk. I am sure you have seen enough movies where coaches give their teams an inspirational speech or platoon commanders goad their soldiers on before a big battle. Do the same thing, even if you do it in your mind!
Finally, return to work! Remember the Lord. He has given us success in the past; he will also provide us with victory in the future! But he can’t do anything unless we get back into action.
So, dear friend, what are you waiting for? Success awaits!