Defeating the dark demons of discouragement

“Forget it! I am so done with this! This is tearing me apart. I am so tired. I am always looking over my shoulder! I just keep messing up! I wish this was all over!”

Have you ever said or thought any of these things? I am quite sure most of us have. Many of us face dark times of our own doing or as the result of others actions.

At these times it is easy to be overwhelmed and even overcome by discouragement. Our thinking becomes clouded and many of us can swirl into a torrent of despair as the proverbial flood waters surround us. In the Bible, a man named Nehemiah, left his comfy job to answer the call of God to bring healing to the nation of Israel. It had been over 140 years since the Israelites were taken off to captivity. With the city of Jerusalem lying in ruins, the nation had no identity, no home and they were discouraged. Nehemiah was called to help rebuild the walls and gates of the city so the people could return and be the people of God they were called to be. The walls they set to restore were 15 to 20 feet tall, three to four feet wide, and over two and half miles long. What an endeavor!

As you could imagine many Israelites jumped at the opportunity to return and help rebuild the walls. Nehemiah divided the tasks among groups of people to work on specific sections of the wall. In the book of Nehemiah, chapter 4, he shares “the people worked with all their heart” (verse six) as the walls went up. When the walls reached half their height of completion, discouragement set in. People were fatigued as they looked at all the rubble still looming before them. They were frustrated at all the work still ahead. Many declared, “We can’t do this!” Neighboring nations became threatened by Israel’s rebuilding and they planned to attack the people. The people of Israel trembled in fear and sought to bail on the project.

Nehemiah prayed to God for wisdom and encouraged the people to do the same. He rallied the people to continue the work on the walls and posted guards to fend off attacks while they labored. Some people worked with a trowel in one hand and a sword in the other. Attacks were thwarted and the people finished fixing the wall and gates around Jerusalem in 52 days! Their discouragement turned to joy as the journey “home” was becoming a reality. Life became “livable” again; they had a hope and a future. They could go home!

Discouragement can lead you to feel fatigued, frustrated and fearful. There is a way out. God is able to help. Bring your requests in prayer to Him. He cares for all his creation. God worked through Nehemiah to help people reorganize their lives to actively be a part of healing. If you are discouraged, you may need to fight this ailment through resisting bad attitudes, habits, or thinking that seek to rob you of life.

God gave you life and made you for His purposes. If you are facing discouragement, you can allow Him to rebuild the rubble in your life as he will help you rise above it. Talk to Jesus and seek Him. Like the Israelites, He wants you to come “home.”

Frank Alioto is the pastor of The River Covenant Church, Sundays, 10 a.m. at The Challenger Learning Center in Kenai. Frank also serves as a chaplain with Central Emergency Services and can be reached at 252-2828 or www.therivercovenantchurch.org.

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