GETTING UP WHEN YOU’RE DOWN: DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT PART 5

2. WHEN THE WAY GETS TOUGH AND DISCOURAGING, PRAY!  Like the Israelites, we complain whenever we go through trials and troubles. We don’t like sufferings and pain. And when the troubles linger and bad news continue to pour in, we get discouraged, depressed, and we give up on God and life.

Brethren, when life gets tough you need to pray instead of complain. Pray about what? For one thing, you can pray and ask God to help you not complain. To help you be thankful. To help you see the good in everything that’s bad around you. To help you see things from a different perspective. From God’s own perspective.

3. GET A FRESH PERSPECTIVE OF THE WAY. When the way gets tough and discouraging, the answer, my friends, is to get a fresh perspective of the Christian life. You see, one reason why people get discouraged when life becomes one big trial and frustration is because they have mistaken notions of the way.

This was the problem that many of the Israelites had. Many of them wanted the desert journey to be trial-and-trouble-free: “Moses, we just came out of one big trial in Egypt. Please, no more trials!”  And while the people longed for the promised land of peace and plenty, I think many of them forgot that it wasn’t going to be easy getting there: there was a vast wilderness desert to walk through first.  Although they were traveling in a desert land, they nevertheless wanted to have in the desert what they had in Egypt. I’m talking about the fishes, onions, garlic, and an abundant water supply.  They didn’t have Egypt’s provisions in the desert. They left one kind of trial in Egypt (slavery) and walked into another trial in the desert (deprivation). This is the reason why they complained a lot. The present way through the desert involved too many trials! Apparently, they thought that when they left Egypt, there would be no more trials.

A. The Way Is a Way of Trial & Tribulation. Have you, like the Israelites, forgotten that you’re in a desert journey to the promised land? Don’t you know that the way you’re in is a way that’s paved with trials and tribulations? Acts 14:22 tells us we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. Not just tribulation, but much. A lot of it. We are like sheep destined for the slaughter (Romans 8:36). We are appointed unto the suffering of trial and tribulation (1 Thessalonians 3:4). Brethren, the way is hard and trying. And if you’re expecting life to be a whole lot easier, trial-and-trouble-free, free from the narrow and rigorous demands of faith and holiness, a little Heaven on Earth; then it’s no wonder you’re discouraged! Life isn’t going your way. It isn’t going the way you want or expect it to go. The truth of the matter is, it won’t. Life for the Christian will go the one way God ordained for it to go and that’s around the land of Edom, through the pathway of much tribulation.

B. A Distorted View Of Egypt & The WorldThe problem, all too often, is people forget what life in Egypt was really like. They look at the present trials and hardships of the way, then look back and see what an easier life they had in Egypt; they reminisce on all the fun and good times they had back then. And when they get to comparing the present to the past, the comparison and memories of the past adds fuel to the discouragement.

But the fond memories of the past are a one-sided picture of Egypt fraught with distortion.

  • So you don’t like having a Moses around to tell you what to do? You want to live and do as you please? Just remember. You had Pharaoh back there in Egypt who told you what to do. He didn’t let you live and do as you pleased. You were his slave and you had to do what he told you to do.
  • So you don’t like the trials you’re going through? You think life should be a whole lot easier on you? Just remember. You had trials in Egypt too! You seem to forget about the taskmasters who whipped and beat you when you didn’t show up for work or when you didn’t do as much work as they wanted you to do. Have you forgotten the beatings?
  • So you lack water in the desert. Big deal! You lacked straw in Egypt (Exodus 5).
  • So you had the fish and onions in Egypt. But if life in Egypt was so good and dear to you, why did you end up leaving? You seem to have forgotten that you got so sick and tired of Egypt. You cried out to God to save you and get you out of there.
  • You say the desert is one big trial and threat to life. How many of your brethren and ancestors did Egypt kill? Brethren, you’ve got to remember that as hard as the present way may be, life in Egypt was harder yet: it was what caused you to leave Egypt in the first place.

C. The Way Is A Way Of Blessing, Provision, & Answers To Prayer.  To this point, we’ve been saying that if the way has become a matter of complaint and discouragement to you, you need to get a fresh perspective of the Christian life. You’re on a journey to the promised land. You’re not yet in the promised land. The desert is not the promised land. Being in a desert means there will be desert trials and tribulations to go through.

Having said all that, we need to say in the same breath that the Lord provides for the care and well-being of His people. He gave water and manna to His people. Not one of three million Israelites died in the desert of hunger or thirst! None! He led them with the pillar of cloud and fire so that they would know the way to go. He protected them from their enemies and gave them victory in war against the Amalekites, Canaanites, Midianites, and more. They walked for forty years, yet their clothes did not wear out, neither did their feet swell (Deuteronomy 8:4). There was not one feeble person in their midst (Psalm 105:37).

Yes, there were judgments of God upon them and thousands of them died. But they died because they messed up, not God. But even in the midst of judgment, God provided deliverance for the millions who survived: the intercessions of Moses brought forgiveness; the censers of incense  stayed the plague; and the brazen serpent  quenched the venom of fiery serpents.

The way, I am saying, was hard. But God proved His love and mercies over and over again: He led them, provided for them, forgave them, healed them, preserved them. While the way was hard, God gave them His blessings and mercies to help them walk the way. Here are some verses you can look up. Exodus 16:35, Joshua 23:14, and Nehemiah 9:19-21.

Coming Up On My Next Blog Post, Part 6. If life has been one big headache and heartache for you and you’ve not known God’s blessings or provisions, then something is very wrong with this picture. Stay tuned and watch God get things back into focus.

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