Focus on what God is doing and Discouragement will retreat
Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build and bribed counselors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. And in the reign of Ahasuerus, in the beginning of his reign, they wrote an accusation against the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem.” (Ezra 4:4–6)
Have you met my enemy, Discouragement? This enemy likes to show up when progress is slow, preying on hopes, dreams, and goals. Seeping into a heart through a word, a look or a thought, it can sap your will to move forward. Determined and calculated, it sets out to defeat. It showed up in the Old Testament book of Ezra as the people of God demonstrated signs of progress. Trust me; it will make an appearance in your home as you and your husband work toward building togetherness following a deployment.
Discouragement will always be an uninvited caller. Any time you work to build something for God, you will encounter opposition. My friend, your marriage is something God wants to build. Marriage is to be an example of God and his church. As such, you better believe there is a big bulls-eye on the marriage relationship and Discouragement will zero in on the target. Be aware of attempts to hijack any success. Recognize the attack and expect it to show up—and then fight it with God’s truth!1
When fighting a battle, know your enemy. Discouragement is a tactic of the enemy of our soul, Satan. The word accusation used in Ezra 4:6 is translated from the Hebrew word sitna, a form of the word Satan, the adversary.14 The New Testament book of Ephesians informs us that Satan is an accuser who uses schemes to discourage and hinder the good work God wants to do in our lives (Ephesians 6:11).
God does not leave us defenseless when we are attacked by Discouragement. He arms us with trust to cast all our cares on him (1 Peter 5:7) and confidence that God is working all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). Discouragement temporarily sidetracked the people of God until they refocused on what God wanted for them and then they went back to work. God wants good things for you and your marriage. Focus on what God is doing and Discouragement will retreat.
Fatigue, worry, lust, greed, selfishness, expectations. Which word or words cause you to become discouraged? How can you apply the following Scripture to combat discouragement? “And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Galatians 6:9–10).
Prayer for the Journey
Father, sometimes I allow discouragement to get the best of me. Surrendering to discouragement is a choice I make when I focus on my circumstances. Help me see circumstances from your perspective. Increase my faith and let my focus be on you and what you want to do in my life. Amen.
1 Robert Fyall, The Message of Ezra and Haggai (Downers Grove, ILL: InterVarsity Press, 2010), 80.
2 Ibid, 81.