Have you ever been discouraged? You didn’t feel like getting out of bed. You didn’t feel like going to work. You just wanted to throw in the towel. You thought, I just don’t want to do this anymore! Well, today I want to talk to you about how to overcome discouragement.
In 1 Samuel 30, we read about David. He had gone out and fought with his army against their enemies, and he and his troops came back home to their city, named Ziklag. The problem was that when they returned, they found the city burned to the ground, their children were gone, their wives were gone… it was a tragedy! One of their enemies had raided the city while they were fighting a war, and everything they had fought for – their families, their belongings – were gone. Can you imagine the discouragement that he felt? The frustration? The desire to give up right then and there? “Oh, God, I’ve served You! I’ve done all this for You! I’ve won a victory! And this is what I come home to?!”
This chapter is going to give us a lot of godly wisdom on how to deal with discouragement. In fact, for the next few minutes, we’ll talk about this story, and I’ll show you five ways to overcome discouragement. It’s not going to happen automatically. You’re going to have to do something about it!
- Seek the Lord. In our story about David, we see this victory on the battlefield, and the army is returning home with their heads held high in triumph… only to discover the enemy had sneaked in while they were away and taken or destroyed all that matter to them. The men’s reaction was to turn against David, to blame him and desire his blood as payment for their pain. David could have run; he could have played the coward; but instead, he turned his face toward God and inquired of the Lord.
- Pray. David sought the Lord and prayed. He laid everything before Him, every negative thought, every complaint, every concern. And then he asked the Lord what he should do. Please be like David. Pray, pray, pray. Remember Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
- Praise. The Bible tells us after David prayed, he encouraged himself in the Lord. One way to encourage yourself is to begin to think back through all that the Lord has done for you. Think it, say it out loud, and give Him praise for His goodness toward you! Surely God has done something wonderful for you. He healed your body. He stuck $5 in your coat pocket when you needed gas or food and didn’t have the money for it. Be a person of praise. Don’t get stuck in a place of discouragement because you’ve forgotten what a good God you serve. Google the names of God. Remind yourself by thanking Him, “Thank You, Lord, for being my Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. You are my El Shaddai. You are my Jehovah Rafa, my Healer. You are my El Elyon. You are always present. You are a good Father.”
- Worship. Praise will lead you into worship. David was a worshipper. He routinely expressed his love of God and commitment to living according to His ways. My husband once told me, “Honey, in light of what other people are going through, just look at how good God is to us.” If you will open your eyes and look around, you’ll see why God deserves your worship. Sinners can look just miserable. They’re defeated. Even if they have a million dollars, they still may be contemplating suicide because they feel like they have no hope. None of us have hope apart from Jesus Christ! Won’t you worship Him today and thank Him for being the Hope you need? You may be discouraged, but you’re not defeated! God loves you and has a plan and a purpose for you. He will make you victorious over even this thing that seems to be holding you down!
- Submit to God. After David dealt with his emotions and realigned himself with God, he received the command from God to, “Go after them. You will surely recover everything that was taken from you!” 1 Samuel 30:8. David gave his decision over to God. Jesus did the same when He said, “Not My will but Yours be done,” right before He went to the cross (Luke 22:42). This submission honors the Lord. It shows you’re not ruling your own life. You’re not rigid, wanting everything the way you think it should be. When David gave the situation over to God, he received the promise that if he would pursue the enemy, he would overtake them and recover everything that had been lost. In verses 18 to 20, we read that, “David got back everything the Amalekites had taken, and he rescued his two wives. Nothing was missing: small or great, son or daughter, nor anything else that had been taken. David brought everything back. He also recovered all the flocks and herds, and his men drove them ahead of the other livestock. ‘This plunder belongs to David!’ they said.” Wow! One minute his men are ready to kill him; the next, they’re giving him the praise and plunder for getting everything back! See how God can turn a situation around?!
You will never regret turning to God in the midst of your disappointment. You will never wish you hadn’t asked God what to do with your difficult situation. Remember these five ways to overcome discouragement. Apply them to your life! And share them with a friend who could use some direction for their tough season.