ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORDFrom The Heart
Publish date: 01/06/2002
For even when we arrived in Macedonia, our bodies had no ease or rest, but we were oppressed in every way and afflicted at every turn – fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within [us]. 6 But God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking, comforted and encouraged and refreshed and cheered us by the arrival of Titus. 7 [Yes] and not only by his coming but also by [his account of] with which he was encouraged and refreshed and cheered as to, while he told us of your yearning affection, of how sorry you were [for me] and how eagerly you took my part, so that I rejoiced still more. 2 Corinthians 7:5-7 AMP
We can all find reasons to be sad or depressed or angry or bitter with life, with circumstances, with other people or even with God. Even Paul went through some moments of discouragement and of feeling sorry for himself. Some people fall into depression very easily, but even normally very positive people experience a certain amount of mental and physical pressure in their daily lives and can be tempted from time to time to think negative thoughts and to begin to feel depressed. It is easier to feel better and have a more positive outlook when you are refreshed, when your body and mind have had some rest and comfort. However, when you have had no opportunity to rest and refresh yourself, when you are pressured from every side, fighting and contentions without, dread and fears within - if it isn’t one thing it is another - then it is not hard to become really discouraged and depressed.
In their discouragement, depression and despair, many people even become angry with God for their circumstances. This is because we don’t think that it could have anything to do with us at all and we choose to find fault with someone or something outside of ourselves. We think – wrongly – that God is our servant and that He is supposed to line everything up in our lives in a way that should always benefit us. We are fine until something goes wrong, or until we are inconvenienced and then we throw our little tantrum, we blame God and everybody else for our problems, and we sink into feeling sorry for ourselves and into discouragement and depression. Many times, the depression and discouragement we feel involves a fair amount of ungratefulness. We do not consider nor appreciate God’s blessing upon our lives.
We need to remember that God gives us a choice of good and bad, death and life, cursing or blessing. We live in an imperfect world and are subject to that world system. We need to remind ourselves that God is not our problem, but He is our answer. Stuff happens, but God is our way out. It is God, Who comforts and encourages and refreshes and cheers the depressed and the sinking! If you are a child of God then it is God Who is the One Who is on our side. God is the One Who is for us not against us. When we remember that God is the answer, then we will begin to be grateful for His blessings and we will become encouraged once again.
So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. 4 Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. 5 And David's two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. 6 And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. 1 Samuel 30:3-6 KJV
The NKJV says, “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” And the NIV says, “But David found strength in the LORD his God.”
The Israelite men were grieved at the destruction of their city and the loss of their wives and families. Then they became angry and bitter and they looked for someone to blame. David was as upset as they were, plus he felt the pressure of being at the receiving end of the wrath of his men. Then David did something that was key to his survival and key to his prosperity and the blessing of God upon his life – he turned to the Lord instead of from Him. Many times we take the tragedies of our lives as a sign that God doesn’t like us anymore, but that is not true. Many times, we trust in the strength of our own hand, but at times like these, God is the only One we can turn to and He will come through for us.
David was successful, because he chose to encourage himself in the LORD his God. David strengthened himself in the LORD his God. David found his strength in the LORD his God. When we feel discouraged, disheartened and depressed, we need to remind ourselves that God loves us, He is on our side, He is working for us not against us, and He is the way out, the answer to all our problems and the source of all we need.