Dealing with Discouragement
When discouragement comes, there are three things you need to do. First, you need to keep the lines of communication open. That is, you must be consistent in prayer. Jesus said, “Keep watching and praying . . . the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41).
In the Ephesians passage on spiritual warfare, Paul reminds us, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).
How I love our Precept Upon Precept studies on Kings and Chronicles. There’s so much to learn from the lives of these men and their relationship with God! When studying Hezekiah, God touched my heart in a special way about the importance of bringing everything to Him in prayer.
Why don’t you take a few moments to read [esvignore]2 Kings 18-19[/esvignore], and then let’s talk about it. You might want to jot down the main events in these chapters.
As you can see, Hezekiah was right up there as a candidate for discouragement. The king of Assyria had already captured and dispersed the northern kingdom of Israel. He was on a conquering rampage. Nation after nation had gone down in defeat to the mighty Assyrian empire. Now the king of Assyria wanted to add Hezekiah and the southern kingdom to his list of victories. The king even sent Rabshakeh to the walls of Jerusalem to tell the whole city that God Himself had told them to go up to Jerusalem and destroy it (2 Kings 18:25). However, when this tactic did not cause the people to overthrow Hezekiah’s leadership, then the king of Assyria spelled out his plans of destruction in a letter.
Hezekiah had every human reason to be overwhelmed with discouragement, for if you simply looked at the circumstances instead of the One who is over the circumstances, defeat was certain. But God!
In these times when life is being turned upside-down by all the “changes” that have occurred in our culture, it is enough to be overwhelmed with discouragement. BUT GOD! God has not vacated His throne! He never will. Throughout the Old and New Testaments, He has told us about the character of the last days—the trial of our faith. The temporal power of evil. The seduction of false teachers. The rebellion of the nations. The seeming victory of the godless. Yet He has also, by His divine power, given us “everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” And it is through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord that grace and peace are multiplied to us. (2 Peter 1:2-3)
You and I have access to GOD. The true knowledge of God! This is why we are so passionate about what we are doing at Precept. We believe with all our hearts that God raised up this ministry for this time. We must know Truth for ourselves—the whole counsel of God—and live according to every word that comes from His mouth. This is the way you will survive—more than survive—whatever comes your way . . . you will WIN!
Listen to what God says through Isaiah to Hezekiah:
“Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah saying, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Because you have prayed to Me about Sennacherib king of Assyria, I have heard you” ’ ” (2 Kings 19:20).
Oh, the power of prayer! Remember that the next time you’re facing discouragement. Because Hezekiah prayed, stayed in communication with God, God struck 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians, and the enemy went back to Nineveh. Then soon after that, the king of Assyria was assassinated. Prayer brought victory. We see the same thing in [esvignore]2 Chronicles 20[/esvignore], which you might want to read when you have time.
When you’re discouraged . . . talk to God. Talk to Him out loud. Walk and talk, or fall on your face. Lay it all before Him. Pour out your disappointment and discouragement, but do not stop there. Remind Him of who He is, what He has promised to His children, and then listen. Do what you are supposed to do, and trust God to be God and do what He is supposed to do, what He alone can do.
That’s enough for today. Tomorrow I’ll share the other two things you need to do when discouragement comes.
This blog post is excerpted from the out-of-print 30-day devotional “How to Stand Firm Against the Five Deadly D’s” by Kay Arthur.