Discouragement can feel like a big weight upon our shoulders. It slows our steps, makes work more difficult, and diminishes our enjoyment of life.
When people regard our best efforts as unsatisfactory, their displeasure often drags us down. Constant criticism from a family member, neighbor, or coworker can affect how we feel about ourselves.
Dissatisfaction with our own performance can also prove discouraging. Perhaps this relates to a personal weakness we can’t overcome or a high personal expectation we have failed to meet. Either reason can cause dejection.
In addition, past disappointments at times cause us to feel little hope about the future. And financial pressures, declining health, and painful relationships can also take an emotional toll on us.
The life of Nehemiah teaches an important lesson about handling discouragement. He was a Hebrew living in Persia and serving as cupbearer to the king. When he received a report about the poor condition of Jerusalem and the plight of the Jewish remnant living there, he was deeply affected. In his dismay over their situation, Nehemiah turned to the Lord in prayer. He knew that only his great God could change the situation. Likewise, when we are discouraged, our first priority should be to cry out to our heavenly Father.
In his prayer, Nehemiah praised God’s awesome character, confessed his sins and the sins of others, recalled divine promises, and presented his petition. Let’s follow Nehemiah’s example and take our disappointments to the Lord in prayer.