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1 Samuel 30:1-8 (NIV)
30 David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, 2 and had taken captive the women and everyone else in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way.
3 When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David’s two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.
7 Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelek, “Bring me the ephod.” Abiathar brought it to him, 8 and David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” he answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”
After an exhausting three-day journey, David and his men finally arrived home to find a scene of devastation. Their homes were burned to the ground, and their families were missing. Utter despair engulfed them. David’s distress soon increased when his men’s grief turned into bitter anger and they spoke of stoning him.
Most of us won’t experience this extreme a situation, but we can identify with David’s discouragement. Sometimes despair follows a personal tragedy or loss, but it can also result from the weariness of ongoing daily pressures. Family problems, financial difficulties, and health issues may make discouragement a constant companion. The same can happen with emotional struggles over feelings of unworthiness, failure to overcome an addictive habit, the pain of criticism, or fear of inadequacy.
Despair can afflict anyone unexpectedly, but the Lord doesn’t want us to linger in a fog of depression. We often can’t avoid the situations that lead us into discouragement, but we do have a choice whether to stay in that condition. Instead of caving in to misery, David chose to strengthen himself in the Lord. He recognized that God was the only one who could give him the proper perspective on the problem and provide the guidance he needed.
When you’re discouraged, where do you turn? Perhaps the last thing you want to do is read Scripture and pray—initially, the passages may seem like meaningless words, and your prayers might feel empty. But if you persist in crying out to God, you’ll eventually experience His comforting strength.
Billy Graham is asked this question:
Is it a sin to get discouraged when things don't go the way we want them to? Did Jesus ever get discouraged?
We all get discouraged from time to time, especially when we can’t do something we want to do, or we find our way blocked and life becomes difficult. Then we become like Job in the Old Testament: “Trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed” (Job 4:5).
Is it a sin to be discouraged? Not necessarily, although it can be if it leads to anger or makes us stop doing something God wants us to do. And we need to understand that it’s not always a brief or temporary problem; sometimes discouragement takes root in our hearts and minds, and pulls us down for years. Parents get discouraged with their children; workers get discouraged with their jobs; sick or elderly people get discouraged about their future — the list could go on and on.
Did Jesus ever get discouraged? Perhaps not in the sense we usually mean it, but He certainly was burdened over people’s failure to repent and turn to God. He wept over those who refused to turn to God in repentance and faith. In the last hours before His arrest and trial, He cried out, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:34).
The real question, however, is this: What should we do when we become discouraged? The answer is to turn to God and His Word for the strength and encouragement we need. Let God’s words to Joshua become yours: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
15 Verses for when you are feeling Discouraged
Psalm 34:17-19 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
Psalm 147:3 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 40:31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 42:16 And I will lead the blind in a way that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;
2 Corinthians 5:7 for we walk by faith, not by sight.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
1 Peter 1:6-9 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
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