Everyone gets discouraged from time to time. Life can be tough, and it would be easy to give up. If a person believes in God, they will have a better outlook when those times come.
In the Old Testament, one can see how even the prophets of God had tough times on occasion. Remember the prophet Elijah under the juniper tree? He was so discouraged that he believed he was the only one left faithful to God. God told him there were 7,000 who had not bowed the knee to Baal. He was to get up and get started again.
When one gets discouraged, one must remember that he or she is not alone. Persecution of some form may come, but Jesus said, “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so persecuted they the prophets, which were before you” (Matthew 5:11-12).
In the New Testament, the apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended. But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul’s words should encourage all striving to live the Christian life. He suffered so many things in his life that it would have been easy to say, “What’s the use?” A list of some of the things he suffered is found in 2 Corinthians 11. “Of the Jews, five times received I 40 stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods; once was I stoned; thrice, I suffered shipwreck; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:24-28). Paul kept his eyes on the goal and was able to make it through the tough times.
Another time, Paul’s and fellow missionary Silas were in prison. Even in this difficult spot, chained and in prison, they sang and prayed to God. Notice Acts 16:22-25: “And the multitude rose up together against them, and the magistrates rent off their clothes and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely, who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison and made their feet fast in the stocks. And at midnight, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God, and the prisoners heard them.” These men truly trusted in God’s promises and pressed for the goal of heaven even when the going was tough.
When a Christian finds himself discouraged, it is time to take advantage of the blessings God has given his children. Take the burden to God in prayer, delve into his word and offer praise to God in song. Singing is not just for the meeting house. It is true as the words the old hymn “Sing and Be Happy” states: Many times, we fail to see the “rainbow.”
Our lives are so blessed by God. We need only to look around us to see those in far worse situations in which we find ourselves.
If any follower of Christ had a reason not to sing and be happy, it was Paul. God has promised heaven to all who obey him. If we never give up, heaven will be our home.
Some try and make it through this world without God, and when times get difficult, they have nowhere to turn. Everyone needs to turn to God, obey his word and know that someone is there — even in the tough times.