Dealing With Discouragement

Dear PRCW members and readers of this post. This morning when I woke up I said to my wife, “Day 12 of 14 staying home after our trip back from the US. Two more days!” She replied, “Great! And then we can… and then we can…” …pause… I replied “be more self isolated?”

We of course we’re saying all this in jest. But it is very easy to become restless and be discouraged. And even start to complain. It may be the way that you are feeling right now just wishing that this could be done with — all this self-isolation — and we could go back to normal. Or it could be that one minute you are thinking that you are handling things well. And then the next minute you are struggling again.

Isaiah 40 reveals a discouragement of God’s people. Verse 27 says “Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: ‘My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God?’”

There are two reasons why God’s people express their discouragement in verse 27. The first one is, essentially, “God doesn’t know my problem.” This is the way God’s people express themselves during times of difficulty. In times of difficulty you can feel very much alone. This is the standing complaint in the Psalms where God’s people express their laments to the Lord.

The second reason for discouragement is, essentially, “the Lord doesn’t care about my problem.” We see this in the second half of verse 27. A ‘just claim’ has reference to a legal case. It’s as if someone says, “I have a right and that right is to be vindicated before all accusers. It’s to have my name cleared. But God doesn’t notice me.”

This is sometimes referred to as a universal complaint that is raised by any of God’s people in times of difficulty and adversity. Any one of us can say these things. No one lives with an unwavering faith. It is very easy for us to fall into that wrong thinking, even when we acknowledge that God is over us. Yet, the reality is, God is always there.

How does Isaiah deal with these complaints? Well he is sympathetic to their plight and their troubles. But he is not condoning their thoughts. Isaiah points them to God like he did in the earlier parts of this chapter. Isaiah says we need to know God more, which will show us that He is always near to His children.

Verse 28 says ““Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.
His understanding is unsearchable.”

This verse confronts us. The Israelites should have known and they had heard because it had been declared to them over and again about the everlasting God. It is wonderful that God is eternal. God is beyond our thoughts and we don’t want to be guilty of having small thoughts about Him or thinking of Him as though he were like us. We should want to have our conception of who He is shaped by how He is revealed. God is eternal.

What does the Bible mean when in describes that God is eternal? His eternity is seen here in His covenant name “Yahweh” or I AM THAT I AM. It amounts to a declaration of the eternality of God. “I AM” mean a continual present existence. He is the eternal I AM who simply exists.

That is the total opposite to what we are. We are constantly in flux. We are either getting better or getting worse; progressing or regressing; going forwards or backwards. That’s the frustration with this life. But the Lord is the God who always was and is and will be.
When we consider that God is eternal, it is mind-boggling. It is hard for us to conceive and we have to approach the Lord with greatest reverence because He cannot be measured by our standards or by time. We have to realize that we only have just a beginning of an understanding of who God is.

This is an encouragement. Especially in light of what we don’t know and since our plans for the future are very up in the air or have been completely changed. When will this be over? What is going to happen to the economy? Will I lose my job? Our times are in His hands.

What we’re to do now is to trust God. Hang in there and trust God. We’re called to trust in Him one day at a time. Make the most of today. Don’t allow frustration and impatience to throw you off. Bring your laments to God in prayer as you honestly seek His grace in Jesus Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit. Remember God is in control. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Put your trust in God today. For His grace is sufficient!

Also enjoy time with your family. Spend quality time together. Spend time together in prayer, in God’s Word and singing songs of praise. And may the Lord give you strength! In Christ, Pastor Anjema