Q: I recently made some costly mistakes and became very discouraged as a result—and that discouragement is not going away. I’m a failure. I feel like giving up. What can I do to get out of this mess?
A: Even though we may not understand why the Lord sometimes allows us to stumble and fall, we must remember that He loves us in spite of any mistakes we make. He is always right there by our side. As we turn to Him in prayer, or search for His comfort in His Word or in the reassurance of loved ones, He can cause the hopeless feelings to dissipate. The Holy Spirit “comforts us in all of our tribulation,” and is “a very present help in [time of] trouble” (2 Corinthians 1:4; Psalm 46:1).
Unlike the Lord, who comes to rescue, help, and comfort us with hopeful thoughts, the Devil comes to us with negative thoughts and accusations, attempting to condemn, accuse, and discourage us! The Bible tells us not to be ignorant of the Devil’s devices (2 Corinthians 2:11), and that we are to “watch out for attacks from Satan, your great enemy, [who] prowls around like a hungry, roaring lion, looking for some victim to tear apart” (1 Peter 5:8 TLB).
One of the Devil’s favorite ways to attack Christians is through discouragement. If he can’t keep you from accepting Jesus into your heart and life, then he will do his best to try to discourage you from serving the Lord or telling others about Him.—And he has found that the most effective way to discourage most of us is by getting us to look at our own mistakes, sins, weakness, and failures. He gets us looking at ourselves.
But the Bible doesn’t say that we’re to look at ourselves; it says we’re to look to Jesus, “the author and the finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The Lord doesn’t say to look at all of our problems, troubles and woes either, because if we do, we will surely sink beneath them—just like Peter did when he tried to walk on the water.
Matthew’s ﬁrsthand account of that incident tells us that in the middle of the night, as Jesus’ disciples were crossing a lake in their boat, Jesus came to them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw Him, they were terriﬁed and cried out in fear, “It’s a ghost!” But Jesus immediately reassured them that it was He, and told them
to not be afraid.
Peter answered, “Lord, if it’s really You, tell me to come to You on the water.” So Jesus did. Peter climbed over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus, but when he saw the waves rising, he became afraid and began to sink. “Lord, save me!” he cried out. And immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, and they returned to the ship together (Matthew 14:25–31).
When Peter took his eyes off the Lord and began to look down at the waves, he got worried and began to sink—and he probably would have gone under had he not gotten his eyes back on the Lord and cried out to Him for help.
Just so, when you ﬁnd yourself drowning in a sea of discouragement, what you need to do is call out to Jesus, put your hand in His, and let Him lift and carry you to solid ground.
Copyright 2001 © Activated. All rights reserved.