Vol. 11 No. 9 September 2009
Donald R. Fox
Don’t we all get discouraged sometimes? With the negative feeling of discouragement, one feels disheartened, dispirited and downhearted. No one likes the feeling of discouragement, yet it happens too often for many of us. Discouragements come our way through an assortment of human events. These dealings can be very personal in nature such as sickness, death, household economic problems and a variety of family troubles to include broken homes, divorce and the like. Events that are general in nature such as overall lawlessness, terrorism and social ethical/moral decay will also bring negative feelings that depress us.
Children Are the Most Vulnerable
Our English word discourage is used only one time in the New Testament, and it is found in Colossians 3:21, which reads: “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.” Young folks can be very easily disheartened and dispirited. This type of demoralizing can be so instilled in young people as to warp their maturity growth. When a youngster is so negatively discouraged, it seems very likely this hindrance can cause a damaged adulthood. Of a truth, “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Oh, the great need for Christian parents that will nurture their children to be stable and to cling to high moral standards. Civil government also has the obligation to govern in such a way as to create an atmosphere of rightness and order. Youngsters need strong and upright leaders in the school and the government systems.
In a Positive Sense, Discouragements Can Help Us Grow in Stability
As I dwelled on discouragements that I had and have during my lifetime, I pondered and asked, “Did not good sometimes come from these bad, downhearted feelings”? As for me, the answer is, “Yes.” Discouragements, with lessons learned from them and if we apply strength obtained from our God, can make us better and stronger persons. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3).
The Apostle Paul Overcame His Many Trials and Discouragements
Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.” (2 Corinthians 11:18-33)
Regardless of Paul’s anxieties and discouragements, he always was thankful unto God Almighty. “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place” (2 Corinthians 2:14).
Interesting Quotes on Discouragement
“If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.” Thomas A. Edison (1847 - 1931). “Remember, always give your best. Never get discouraged. Never be petty. Always remember, others may hate you. But those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them. And then you destroy yourself.” Richard M. Nixon (1913 - 1994)