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hope for churches in stress


Everyone struggles at times with discouragement.

David was distressed in defeat (1 Sam 30:6). Elijah was despondent after victory (I Kgs. 19:4). Jeremiah was overcome by heartache (Jer. 8:18-9:1). Peter wept over failure (Lk. 22:62).

What can we do?

At one time of discouragement, I was praying before daylight. I paused to listen for the Spirit and, at that moment, the first edge of the sun appeared on the horizon. A verse came to mind: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Prov. 4:18).

I sensed the Spirit say: “There is darkness all around, but the light has dawned. In a few hours the sky will be ablaze with light. Keep your eyes on the light.”

In discouragement, we can pray. Physical and emotional rest are helpful. When discouragement deepens into depression, we can talk with a professional counselor.

Always, we focus on the light. As we regularly read and hear (even memorize) God's Word, our minds are continually renewed by biblical truth (Rom. 12:2).

As we listen, direct inspirations of the Spirit also encourage us (Jn. 10:2-4). We can journal these insights, pray for their realization, and wait with hope and expectation (Ps. 5:3; 86.17; Lam. 3:31-33).

By such practices, we become increasingly proficient at looking, not at the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen—and we do not lose heart (2 Cor. 4:8-18).

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