Like we said in our first series, a discouragement is a powerful tool Satan uses to wreck the lives of many believers. Soon after a resounding victory against the prophets of Baal, Jezebel threatened Elijah; this made him to escape and he eventually ended in the wilderness lonely and discouraged. Unless discouragement is well managed it could lead to depression.
While some Christians have gone into depression due to disappointments, some others have experienced a turnaround from their frustrations and discouragement. The ministry of the Dallas based preacher, T. J. Jakes is said to have experienced a turnaround at a time when he was about to give up in the ministry. T. L. Osborn was a missionary to India for several years and felt so frustrated due to lack of results in his ministry. In the process, he attended a William Braham’s conference during which he was so challenged by the miracles he saw that he went home and locked up himself in a room until the Lord Jesus visited him. His ministry took a different turn after this encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. He emerged from the retreat with a worldwide healing ministry that spanned for decades.
Discouragement is a feeling of despair in the face of difficulties. For the believer, it is always God’s opportunity to turn situations around. Discouragement starts in different ways. At times, it is when there are no results to what we are doing; other times, it happens due to the lack of fruitfulness in ministry; it could also be due to unfulfilled expectations. Financial difficulties could also lead to discouragement. Disagreement with friends or family members could lead to discouragement. It could happen because of disappointments from friends, business associates and colleagues or because of fear. Discouragement could also be job-related. Satan capitalizes on these disappointments to make us despondent. He makes the victim feel unloved and unwanted.
There are both scriptural and practical ways of overcoming discouragement. The golden rule for any victim of discouragement is; never isolate yourself. This is the first practical step. Isolation worsens the effects of discouragement. Satan plays on our intelligence during our low moments. Prayer will certainly help to overcome discouragement, though many may find it difficult to pray at such moments. Studying the word of God could bring healing at such times. Submitting to counselling would go a long way to combat the adverse effects of discouragement. Talking with a mentor, counselor or trusted friends does have a therapeutic effect. Talking enables one to share experiences together. Talking, interacting and fellowshipping helps one know that your struggles are not just peculiar to you but they are universal. A victim of discouragement must seek for help early before it degenerates to depression.
The word of God always points a way out of any problem of life. In Hebrews 12:3-4, the writer advised us to look to Jesus as our example whenever we face discouragement. “For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Jesus would always remain our example in all that we do. Both at the garden of Gethsemane and at the cross Jesus faced discouragement; he felt rejected and abandoned, but the Father was on hand to encourage and help him. “And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt.27:46)