'Lord, where do I put my hope?' Psalm 39:7 NLT
When we go through tough times, we can end up discouraged or want to give up. But, these times can be an opportunity for growth.
How? Firstly, by admitting how we feel. This means trusting God enough to acknowledge how we really feel. Throughout the Bible, we see people struggle with the same feelings. The psalmist asked God to help him cope with despondency (see Psalm 42 and 43). And at one point Paul was under so much pressure he 'despaired of life itself' (2 Corinthians 1:8 NIV). Secondly, we need to identify the source. Discouragement often comes after a setback or disappointment. Did something we set our hearts on fall apart? Did somebody let us down?
Thirdly, talk about it to someone we trust. That may be someone in our family or church, or a counsellor. Solomon said, 'Many advisers mean security' (Proverbs 11:14 GNT). Sometimes we can find it hard to open up to others, but talking to the right people can help us feel less alone. Finally, we need to put our hope in God. David said, 'Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you' (Psalm 39:7 NLT). When our hope is in God, he replaces discouragement with confidence so that what we're going through can help us grow spiritually.
So what now? If you're feeling discouraged, ask yourself which of the four steps in the reading you're at. Ask God to help you move to the next step and to help you to grow through the experience.
Soulfood: Gen 13-16, Matt 18:21-35, Ps 61, Pro 6:16-19