I woke up feeling discouraged. Weeks of physical therapy were helping me get my mobility back when bam, I re-injured my knee and pulled my sacroiliac joint out of line. Two weeks after starting over in my therapy and hours of traveling back and forth and doing exercises, I was still painfully limping around. I’m going quit this, I decided. That’s when the Lord reminded me of Proverbs 24:10: “If you are slack in the day of distress, your strength is limited” (NASB).
I looked up the verse and learned the Greek word for “slack” is raphah. It means “to sink, relax, let drop, be disheartened.1” Wow. If I become disheartened or discouraged in trying times, my strength will be limited when I need it the most.
The word for “limited” is tsar and can also mean “enemy 2.” When I drop my guard or give into discouragement, my strength works against me, not for me. That is exactly what my negative thoughts were doing. “Skip your exercises. They aren’t working anyway.”
Proverbs 13:12 says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.”
It is natural to feel sad and disappointed when what we want does not seem to be happening, but we must be careful not to sink into those feelings. If we do, our strength will turn against us.
How do we defeat discouragement? The God of hope supplies joy, peace, and hope. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NIV). The cure for discouragement is to lock my eyes lock on Jesus and off of my circumstances.
What has disheartened you? A lost account? Your withdrawn spouse, child, or friend? An ongoing illness? Our political climate? Don’t give up. Draw strength from the God of hope.
I am sticking with my exercises. Let’s press on together.
P.S. I’ll be leading a Be Transformed group in Zebulon for women at the Dew4Him office. Please call or email if you would like to join us on Tuesday mornings beginning February 7th at 10 A.M. (919 469-2477)
1 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for raphah (Strong’s 7503)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 27 Jan 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
2 Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for tsar (Strong’s 6862)”. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 27 Jan 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm? Strongs=H6862&t=NASB >
Photo by: U.S. Army