Today, I am struggling with discouragement, wondering what my role is and what the Lord desires of me. Something I have been fervently praying for has ended with a closed door and left me with a wounded heart. In seasons of struggle, heart ache, and discouragement, we can be tempted to look back and remember the feelings we used to have when we felt closer to God or when life seemed promising.
Can you relate to this part of Psalm 42: “My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad?”
If you work in any kind of ministry, you may have had like me, some dark nights when you were tempted to quit. I’ve been there, I am there!, but I have also, learned along the way that some of the greatest growth opportunities can come when you face discouragement, heartache and failure head-on. These things usually make me want to throw up my hands and walk away in defeat, but I am also learning that this is exactly what Satan wants. Instead of throwing in the towel, I’m learning to recognize these challenges for what they are: great opportunities to grow and for the lord to mold me into the person He desires me to be.
I have learned that every area of ministry is going to have its discouraging moments. Chances are you took the opportunity because you wanted to make a difference to encourage, and you felt called to do so. It is in these times that Satan will try at every turn to make you feel like what you are doing doesn’t matter, but just because it’s hard doesn’t mean you should quit.
It is important to remember that you are not alone! In the midst of every emotion, there is one thing you can count on. God cares and is with you! God cares deeply about every emotion swirling around in our hearts. If you are on the mountaintop and feeling like things couldn’t be better, God cares for you and is with you! If you are currently experiencing hurt, struggling with disappointment in ministry, remember this, God cares and is always with you! He’s close to you when you cry, when you feel all alone. He’s close to you when you wonder how you’ll move forward. Pour out your pain to God, and move towards Him. The best news is, especially for me! emotions are fleeting. We can choose how we direct our thoughts and energy. Instead of nursing our pain, we can find freedom in choosing to cling to our hope in God.
Choose worship, In these difficult times I love to listen to worship music and experience a fresh encounter with Christ. Music always ministers to me and in a way humbles me. Even when it feels like miles of wasteland stretch between us and God, we must remember Him. Remember His goodness. Remember His mercy. Remember His forgiveness. Remember you are His child. Remember His incredible love for us. Amen!
Father help us to recognize Your love in EVERYTHING that goes on. Father you know our situation? You know the prayers that go up? You know the way Satan has been attacking. Father might you come into our life in a powerful way, and show that all this going on is the refining of pure gold. I ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’