Wow. It’s been building for a few days, but Saturday, I sank deeply into discouragement. It was awful. I could NOT think of one good thing about myself. I was NOT fun to be around. At all.
The feelings continued yesterday, but not quite as bad. I sensed that while circumstances and lack of rest played into the discouragement, there was also a spiritual side to it. I blogged yesterday about my discouragement and its spiritual component.
I know that friends were praying strongly on my behalf. One helped me get Romans 12:3 perspective on who I am. I needed to “think so as to have sound judgment” about myself (NASB). I needed to hear some words of encouragement.
I knew in my mind that I had to find my value in Jesus, to recognize His love for me, but I could barely pray for that, much less imagine it. It helped to remember that both Jesus and the Holy Spirit were interceding PERFECTLY for what I needed!
Well, yesterday, I said that as I read Ezra and Nehemiah, I’d look for clues about how to fight discouragement – and I found several in today’s reading.
Israel is trying to rebuild the temple, but their neighbors are hoping to discourage them. But they won’t be discouraged! How?
- They kept going in spite of the discouragement! Even though King Darius told them to stop, “they began to rebuild the house of the God” while appealing his decision (Ezra 5: 2)
- They knew God was on their side. “The eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop…” (vs. 5)
- They relied on their original call. The leaders of Israel asked Darius to find Cyrus’ original decree that they could return to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple (“Cyrus the king made a decree that this house of God should be rebuilt.” vs. 13) When Darius found the decree, he told Israel’s enemies to “keep away. Let the work on this house of God alone.” (Ezra 6: 6b, 7)
- God supplied all they needed for the job – even above and beyond! Cyrus returned the gold and silver vessels for the temple (that Nebuchadnezzar had taken) and paid for the rebuilding. Now, Darius provides even more money, along with animals for the sacrifice. (vs. 8-10)
- God provided protection from more discouragement. King Darius now threatens with death anyone who tries to keep the temple from being built! (vs. 11-12)
When I read these verses today, I was most struck by the fact that Israel continued on, encouraged by the fact that Cyrus had decreed they should build the temple. They remembered their call to build!
God called me to the ministry I lead and He called me to mother my children. He did not call anyone else to these jobs. If I couldn’t do what He called me to do, I’d not be in these two positions! That’s encouraging.
He’s on my side (the Cross proves it!). And He’ll provide all I need to get the job done, above and beyond – then protect me from further discouragement!
No wonder I feel better today!!!
Dear Lord: Thank you for these words of encouragement. Thank you for praying when I could not. And thanks for my listening and praying friends. Please provide all I need to fulfill my calls this week. Please keep my head up and my eyes on You. Amen.