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The path that leads to discouragement

22 Jan

We often find ourselves questioning those things which once were most certain in our life. We move from doubt to despair and eventually discouragement or disappointment.

The company of the discouraged is a very noble company. Not too long ago, the Hayden Planetarium in New York City issued an invitation to all those who were interested in applying to be a part of the crew on the first journey to another planet. Eighteen thousand people applied. They gave the applications to a panel of psychologists, who examined them thoroughly and came to the conclusion that in the vast majority of incidents, those who applied did so because they were discouraged with their lives here and hoped they could find a new life somewhere else.  [1]

“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it. [2]

Even good marriages can be shaken to their foundations by circumstances that allow disappointment to breed. But the couples I’ve observed who have come through to the other side have done so first by God’s grace and second by holding firmly to each other. They have affirmed that the “we” they possess together is stronger than the “it” of the circumstances and disappointment. [3]

We don’t often see the larger picture since we are so close to the daily details.

The lone survivor of a shipwreck, marooned on a lonely island, managed to build a hut in which he placed all he had saved from the wreck.  He prayed for rescue and anxiously scanned the horizon every day to signal any passing ship.

One day on returning from a hunt for food he was horror-stricken to find his hut in flames.  All his possessions had gone up in smoke!

The next day a ship arrived.  “We saw your smoke signal yesterday,” the captain explained.

A Christian who was in very difficult circumstances fell on his knees in despair to cry to God, “When am I going to get out of all these trials?” But by a slip of the tongue he actually prayed, “What am I going to get out of all these trials?”  The change of that one word “when” to “what” was just what the Lord wanted and the hard-pressed Christian realized it. There is something more important than escaping from trials — it is learning what our Heavenly Father wants us to gain from them.   [4]

Corrie ten Boom used to say, “When the train goes through a tunnel and the world gets dark, do you jump out? Of course not. You sit still and trust the engineer to get you through.”

The apostle Paul said it best: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.”( Romans 5:3-5).

He laid it clearly on the line in its ultimate contrast later, in  Romans 8:18:  “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

_______________________

[1] Bruce Thielemann, “Dealing with Discouragement,” Preaching Today, Tape No. 48.

[2] Eliza Tabor, Instant Quotation Dictionary, p. 97.

[3] Elizabeth Cody Newenhuyse, Marriage Partnership, Vol. 7, no. 3.

[4] Pulpit Helps, November 1994, p. 8.

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2018 in Encouragement

 

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