The LORD is indeed going before you – he will be with you; he will not fail you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or discouraged!
~Deuteronomy 31:8, NET
Distress, doubt and discouragement tend to run together: one begets the other.
Do not yield to discouragement no matter how distressed you are; the discouraged soul is helpless. It is disabled, it cannot praise God not intercede for man. It is a devilish scheme to take you out of the battle. There is an old legend about the Devil showing someone his tool shed. “What is that?” The visitor asks, as he pointed to one of the tools. “That is discouragement,” said the Devil: “it is the tool I use most.” Next to damning a soul to hell, nothing makes Satan happier than get a believer discouraged.
In preparing for last Sunday’s message on Jairus and Jesus raising his daughter, I saw something that I had not noticed before. Jairus was an humble man who had incredible faith in Jesus. He had seen Jesus do miracles in the synagogue that he ruled and he believed strongly in Jesus. Knowing he would be criticized by his superiors, he went to Jesus and begged for help. Jesus agrees to go with Jairus back to his home where he has a sick daughter. But some folks meet them on the way and they say, “No need to trouble the Teacher, your daughter is dead.” Some folks love to share bad news, what can I say. Jesus paid no attention to them or their bad news but he knew they had upset Jairus. Jesus said to Jairus, “Do not be afraid, just believe, and she will be healed.” I think Jesus detected a seed of doubt in Jairus. How could he not have some doubts after hearing this terrible news. I love Jairus response: He listened intently to what Jesus said, and dismissed what the neighbors had said. Clinging to Jesus promise, “She will be healed,” he continued to believe in Jesus. He could have given in to fear, doubt and discouragement and thrown in the towel: “Just forget it Jesus. You can’t help now. Go on about Your business, I have a funeral to plan.”
Jesus knew that fear was the enemy and so He graciously gave Jairus a promise to hang on to. In John 14:19, Jesus gave us a promise we can cling to… “because I live, you will live also.” There are two things you must do to get victory over distress, doubt and discouragement. You must study the scriptures and pray. Good fellowship with others believers will also help. Jesus taught us how to battle the devil: we do it with God’s word. There is no other way for us to overcome the evil one. We stand on the promises of God. Someone said years ago, “We are prone to sit on the premises rather than stand on the promises.”
If you stop listening to Jesus and start listening to the world, you will get discouraged and in a hurry. Jairus made a conscious choice to tune them out and Jesus in. You follow his example and you will be alright.
A long, long time ago, probably 40 years or so; Hugh and Mavis had the family over for supper after Sunday night church. I smelled a rat and sure enough Hugh took me to the yard and had a talk with me. He said, “You are discouraged and if you aren’t careful, you are going to get everyone else discouraged.” He said a lot more but that is what I remember best. I knew he was right and I appreciated his honesty and he was not mean spirited at all. I know you will laugh if I say he was kind and gentle, but actually he was. I learned something that night: there are some folks I need to listen to and some that I do not. When I know the intent is to discourage me, I tune the criticism out and Jesus in. You have to remember, God doesn’t want us to be discouraged.
Two beautiful days in a row and I’m in the middle of a project that requires sunshine. I need at least one more day. Have a great day and stay away from coke products.