Rector’s Blog: ‘Encouragement in the Desert of Discouragement’

St Faith’s Daycare Centre Drop-Off
11th Mar 2021
Living my Life in Remembrance
31st Mar 2021

Dear HTC Family and friends,

When you are in the desert, water is liquid gold.  You need water to survive. People in the desert thirst for water.  In the desert, you are constantly looking for an oasis where there is water to quench your thirst.

In the same way, people wandering through the desert of discouragement, need the life quenching water of encouragement.  Many people I know are in this desert place.  Maybe you are too.  Everyone needs encouragement.  As water is liquid gold for the desert travelers, so is encouragement for those who find themselves in the desert of discouragement.

When we are discouraged, we are disheartened and dispirited; we have lost our confidence and we despair; we are dejected and demoralized and we want to give up.  It’s a really desperate place to be… ‘my God, earnestly I seek you: I thirst for you in a dry and parched land, where there is no water.’ (Psalm 63:1)

Many of the great heroes of the faith, and even Jesus the Son of God, found themselves in that place: ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me’ (Matthew 27:46);  ‘Why my soul are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?’ (Psalm 42:5); ‘we experienced troubles… we were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself.’ (2 Corinthians 1:8).  These are the cries of Jesus, David and Paul.

The Bible tells us that encouragement is the means that the Lord has given us to ward off discouragement and indeed to triumph over it.  The Bible talks about two forms of encouragement:

Firstly, we are to find encouragement in the Word of God- in the promises of God, and in the testimonies of the saints recorded for us in the Word of God. We are to daily surround and immerse ourselves in the promises of God and the testimonies of the saints.  Here are some examples of the encouragement given to us in the Word of God: ‘I have told you these things that in Me you would have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart!  I have overcome the world.’ (John 16:33); ‘The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.’ (Deuteronomy 31:8);  “’For I know the plans I have for you’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’’ (Jeremiah 29:11)

Secondly, we should find encouragement in those around us.  Our responsibility, as believers, is to encourage one another so that we do not give up and become discouraged and fall away from our faith in Jesus.  As the Body of Christ, we have a mandate from the Lord Jesus to spur one another on, to build one another up, to affirm one another, and to lift each other up. This is the ministry of encouragement.  This is what the Bible says about it: ‘therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.’ (1 Thessalonians 5:11); ‘let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.’ (Hebrews 10:24); ‘But encourage one another, day after day… so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.’ (Hebrews 3:13)

In a survey done in the USA about pastors who give up on ministry, 8 out of 10 say that they gave up because of discouragement.  Discouragement kills ministry, it kills hope and it cause people to lose faith.  Let’s take responsibility for one another and let’s keep on encouraging one another. Let’s choose daily to invest in the encouragement of God’s Word.  In so doing, neither we nor our brothers and sisters will have cause to give up.

Bless you all!

David

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