I had the opportunity of travelling to a number of countries the past year. One thing I noticed was that a lot of people were very discouraged – many of whom are Christians. In South Africa folk are discouraged about the politics, crime and striking mine workers dragging the country down; in the USA about the economic situation and the job reports, and in Europe about the economic situation.
As Christians we pray and ask for wisdom, insight and understanding to try and understand what is going on and at times we are so discouraged we wonder whether our faith is real … or only empty words. Little do we realise that trials are often sent to test us…. so that what we know in our minds will become part of our hearts.
Is this not the way God forms our character, and faith, by taking us through trials? Is it not true that when things go well, we tend to pray less and have shorter quiet times? In my own life I find that in the middle of a crisis my quiet time is more intense, my prayers more fervent and is this not the answer to also fight discouragement? We need to stay in prayer, stay on our knees and stay in fellowship with Jesus and beg for His guidance and only then will doubt, fear and discouragement be overcome.
John 14:27(b) says that we should not become troubled or afraid. And yet, discouragement soon starts setting in when things don’t go ‘our way’. I have learnt that to fight discouragement and the fear that often goes with it is best conquered by following these 5 guidelines …
Be patient – I have to wait on the Lord while He forms my character and moves what I know in my mind to my heart.
Have faith! I have to believe that God will provide … in His time
I need to be spiritually fit – not just wait, but pray! … on my knees and humble myself before God!
At times I need to take the first step in faith – have blind faith should He so command.
I must never plan without God – I need to ask Him for His plan for my life, ask and seek for guidance in the Bible and only move when He says GO! But I also should remember that when God says GO, it will for sure not be a smooth ride … but it will be an exciting one!
I have found that by seeking God and spending quality time in His presence every day, has helped me tremendously in fighting discouragement and fear. God has often helped me to look at ‘the real facts’ rather than my own tainted perceptions and through prayer and praise He helped me overcome.
Believe and wait patiently my friend, as you prayerfully wait for God’s guidance and provision.