Discouragement can be a debilitating experience.
Have you ever been discouraged?
Have you ever sunk so deep into despair that you began to question God?
Some women will withdraw from their friends or even go so far as to skip out on church or the ladies Bible study she goes to each week. We are all different and respond to similar situations in various ways. Maybe you know someone who has pulled away that could use some encouragement.
Digging Deeper: Luke 7:18-35
Key Verses: Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Luke 7:22-23)
Wouldn’t you think that John the Baptist would have all the answers? After all, he was the son of Zacharius and had probably heard the story of all the prophesies repeated over and over when he was growing up. (Luke 1:13-17 and Luke 1:67-80)
Hadn’t he baptized Jesus and seen the miraculous voice coming down from heaven? (Luke 3:21-22)
John the Baptist’s disciples came and told him all about the stories circulating around the countryside about Jesus’ miracles.
He wanted to know if Jesus was actually the Messiah. He was questioning God.
And John, calling two of his disciples to him, sent them to Jesus, saying, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Luke 7:19)
John didn’t actually go to Jesus himself. He sent two of his disciples to ask this question.
I love slowing down and actually studying a book of the Bible because I take a closer look at the details. I never noticed that John questioned whether Jesus was actually the Messiah or not before.
Why do you think that he put his disciples up to asking this question?
Matthew tells us that Jesus asked this question while he was in prison. (Matthew 11:2-3)
John might have been discouraged.
When we get discouraged, it is a typical response to question why.
Have you ever asked God, “Why?”
Maybe you haven’t actually cried out, asking God ‘why’ something happened in your life. Sometimes our questioning comes in a different form that appears more acceptable.
Do You Get Discouraged By . . .
It is entirely possible that John became discouraged in prison and started to question whether Jesus was the Messiah he was looking for.
Have you ever responded like this when you sunk into discouragement?
- Sent your kids to question your husband on an issue (nag him indirectly) instead of asking him about it yourself. (Oh, of course not!)
- Question your husband on an issue you both disagree on (I am working on this one . . . not ‘arrived’ yet)!
- Get irritable and cranky towards your kids (but you can be cheerful and sweet with your friends)!
Jesus ‘Speaks’ to John’s Discouragement
Have you ever not answered your children’s question immediately because the answer is obvious?
Too often, I ask a question that has an answer that is jumping out at me. I neglect to research the answer or simply just don’t read the whole directions in front of me.
John had his disciples ask a question that had a totally obvious answer.
Jesus took His time answering the men. He let them observe what He was doing.
Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things you have seen and heard: that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” (Luke 7:22-23)
These miracles were living proof that Jesus was the Messiah. Jesus told the disciples to go back and tell John.
God has a Purpose when You are Discouraged
I’ve been ‘there’ in the slough of despair and been totally discouraged when raising a difficult child, and more recently when I broke my clavicle.
Like John the Baptist, these experiences with real-life, give opportunities to respond to the purpose God has in the situation which is getting you down.
These are opportunities to grow in your walk with the Lord.
John obviously did not yet understand Jesus’ mission and purpose on earth. Maybe he couldn’t see the big picture as to why he was in prison.
Even when you can’t see from your limited perspective, God has a purpose for you to grow through your experience of discouragement. He doesn’t want you to camp out there.
What Should You Do When You Get Discouraged?
There are some tried and true ways to get out of the slump you find yourself sinking into.
- Get into a Bible study. God wants to speak to you and encourage you through His Word.
- Play worship music. Focusing on God and lifting your heart up to God will encourage your heart.
- Record verses into a journaling notebook on discouragement that lift your heart and mind to God’s perspective on you and your life.
- Draw, doodle, or make a lettering page of artwork (no matter how crude) that express your heart.
Your situation may be serious enough that these activities will not change your circumstances but this will relieve the tension racing through your veins. These things will renew your spirit in Christ and adjust your focus. It will give you new lenses to look at your life.
How did this speak to your heart? Do you have anything to add to the four things I suggested in dealing with discouragement?