Faint Not: The Discouraged Preacher 3

Yesterday we looked at some of the causes of discouragement.  But what should we do about it?  Maybe one or more of these suggestions might be the prescription for your particular situation:

1. Cry Out to God.  God was never a huge fan of our independent autonomy, in fact, that notion of functioning apart from Him came with a hiss.  Yet in our upside-down world we can so easily assume that the right response is to grit our teeth and press on, not bothering God with our struggle, but somehow proving something by our faithfulness.  Uh, no.  What we prove by such independent proaction is anything but faithfulness.  Faithfulness carries an implicit sense of trusting dependence upon, and responsiveness to, God.  We are not being faithful when we leave Him out, even if everything we do is technically right.

So while our flesh may urge us to press on alone, our hearts should cry out to God.  Be real with Him.  He is not delicate. He is not easily offended.  Look at the prayers coming from Job, Jeremiah, David, et al., as they vented heavenward in the Hebrew Scriptures.  Why do we think we shouldn’t do the same?  God is not offended by our venting frustration or expressing fear.  He probably is hurt by our stony silence, however.  Cry out to God.  Be honest.  Be real.  Tell Him you need Him.  Express utter dependence.  Express utter frustration with Him if that is the case.  When you’ve poured your heart out and all your strength is gone, lying face down before Him completely spent, then perhaps He’ll pick you up and ask if you are prepared to trust Him.  To serve Him.  To be His.  Like a fire in my bones, as Jeremiah wrote, I have to preach.

2. Cry Out to Another.  Just as our flesh likes to go it alone on the vertical dimension, so we are prone to going it alone on the horizontal.  It isn’t appropriate to blab our problems to everyone.  But it also isn’t appropriate to share our problems with no-one.  Prayerfully consider who would be a wise confidante in a time of discouragement.  Be careful not to slip into gossip or slander, but be willing to be vulnerable with someone who cares, who will pray, who might offer wise counsel, who will give courage to move forward.

Tomorrow we’ll add to the list, but feel free to add your thoughts at any time.