One of the strongest weapons Satan deploys against believers is the weapon of discouragement and despondency. No Christian is immune against this weapon of the devil. At times, the devil’s strategy and attack are so insidious that he gradually lays hold of his victim. Satan tried to discourage and frustrate Jesus but failed. Elijah could not escape the assault of the devil. Soon after his historic victory against the prophets of Baal at Mount Carmel, Satan unleashed this weapon on the prophet. Jezebel threatened to kill the prophet so he quickly ran for his life. “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, LORD, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat”(I Kings 19:4-5 NKJV).
Pastors and missionaries are not immune against the bout of discouragement. Warren Wiersbe in his book, Walking With the Giants, wrote that no less than Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon, Alexander Whyte, John Henry Jowett, Andrew Bonar, and G. Campbell Morgan struggled with disappointment at different times in their ministry [Baker], pp.263-269). Pastor T.D Jakes and T. L. Osborne also had similar experiences at some time in their ministry.
David faced discouragement at various points in his life. In Psalm 42:5, he admonished himself thus, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him For the help of His countenance.” (Psalms 42:5 NKJV)
Paul was threatened by discouragement and disappointments but was comforted by the Lord with the coming of Titus. “When we arrived in Macedonia, there was no rest for us. We faced conflict in every direction, with battles on the outside and fear on the inside. But God, who encourages those who are discouraged, encouraged us by the arrival of Titus. His presence was a joy, but so was the news he brought of the encouragement he received from you. When he told us how much you long to see me, and how sorry you are for what happened, and how loyal you are to me, I was filled with joy!” (2 Corinthians 7:5-7 NLT)
John the Baptist must have faced discouragement, and obviously was disappointed because of Jesus’ inaction when he was in prison. This was the reason he sent two of his disciples to put this question across to Jesus, “And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” (Matthew 11:2-3 NKJV).
From the examples above, it is obvious that no one of us is immune against discouragement. Discouragement is inevitable for all believers, what matters are the ways we handle it. That you have not experienced the bout of discouragement now does not mean you will not experience it in future. None of us is alone in this fight of faith. James 5:10 says, we should take the prophets as an example of sufferings. “My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful” (James 5:10-11 NKJV).