by Foster Shannon
Pastor, Educator, Writer, Husband, Father, Grandfather, Sports Fan
Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not frightened neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
“Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never…” Winston Churchill
All of us get discouraged at times. Are you looking forward to the new year with confidence and hope—or with discouragement? At some times discouragement is hard to avoid, but some people allow themselves to get deeply discouraged, and end up in a slough of despond.
Common causes of discouragement:
- Your investments do not pan out
- Your hopes for your children are not realized
- You lose your job
- You don’t feel good
- You have been criticized
- Things don’t work out
- Someone that you have looked up to—disappoints you
We need to recognize that though discouragement is normal—we should not entertain it! Discouragement can result when we attempt something and fail. Discouragement inclines you to quit—to give up. Discouragement comes when someone talks you out of something that you thought would be good to do. (“Some people die with the music still in them”) Discouragement comes when we recognize that our abilities are not up to the challenge. Excessive expectations can lead to discouragement. We need to recognize that some things may be beyond our reach. Excessive desires can lead to discouragement
Many people, both Christian and non-Christian look out at a world that is violent, evil, hateful, selfish—and ask why does God not do something about it? We may question God’s authority. We even begin to blame God for our misfortune. Discouragement can lead to rebellion against God: “He let me down. He did not help me.” We blame others for the plight that we are in. Disappointment can lead to Discouragement to Despair to Bitterness—and even Hatred. Despair: to lose or abandon hope; to become hopeless; to lose faith. We must not take the path of despair. There are many things that we can be afraid of. Fear is normal. Through faith and determination we overcome fear. Moby Dick, Starbuck, the chief mate of the Pequod: “I will have no man in my boat,” said Starbuck, “who is not afraid of a whale.”
God helps us. Some of us may be too finely tuned. We may expect too much, and find disappointed and discouragement. We can be hard on ourselves—expecting or desiring too much.
Psalm 62:1,2, “For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly moved.”
I Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
II Corinthians 2:14, “But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.”
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Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note
Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. He is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. He is the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, which he established with others in 1981. Green Leaf Press, Inc. publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is:www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.