What to Do When Discouragement is Just Plain Awful

Two things give you hope on the gray slush days.

Can you remember a recent “gray slush” day? Of course you can. So can I. (For us pastors, it’s often a Monday.) On such days, the laws of fairness and justice are displaced by a couple of Murphy’s Laws.

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash)

Your dream dissolved into a nightmare. High hopes took a hike. Good intentions got lost in a comedy of errors; only this time, nobody was laughing.

You didn’t soar; you slumped. Instead of “pressing on the upward way,” you felt like telling John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, to move over as you slid down into his Slough of Despond near Doubting Castle, whose owner was Giant Despair.

Discouragement is just plain awful.

A View from Mount Perspective

One of the greatest benefits to be gleaned from the Bible is perspective. When we get discouraged, we temporarily lose our perspective.

  • Little things become mammoth.
  • A slight irritation, such as a pebble in a shoe—or a congregant’s critical comment—seems huge.
  • Motivation is drained away and, worst of all, hope departs.

God’s Word is tailor-made for “gray slush” days. It sends a beam of light through the fog. It signals reassurance when we fear we’ll never make it through.

Such big-picture perspective gives us a hope transplant, and within a brief period of time, we have escaped the bleak and boring and we’re back at soaring.

What Leads to Hope?

God has an ultimate goal in mind for us: that we might have hope. And what leads to such a goal?

Two things:

  1. Perseverance
  2. Encouragement from the Scriptures (read Romans 15:4)

Again, the goal is hope. God has not designed a life of despondency for us. He wants His people to live in hope—especially those of us who preach about hope! And He says such hope comes from the teaching of the Bible.

Through “perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures” we can gain hope (Romans 15:4). He promises us hope—relief from discouragement.

Yes, it’s available.

We can actually stand firm through discouraging times but only if we apply His instructions. Hard as it may be for you to believe, you will be able to walk right through those “gray slush” days with confidence. The One who gives perseverance and encouragement will escort you through the down days, never leaving you in the lurch.

Discouragement may be awful, but it is not terminal.

What do you think? What has helped you through discouragement? You can tell me by clicking here.

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