Discouragement is something that we all, from time-to-time, face. In fact it may be all around us. At times we are faced with challenges that seem impossible, or work that can never get finished or we have too many factors against us. It might be times of indecision, financial burdens, family conflicts or the loss of our job. We may be in times when our faith in the Lord seems to be drifting away from us. This could be demonstrated when we lose interest in attending the worship services, or Bible classes. Yet, I believe the scriptures give us three specific examples of individuals in times of great discouragement and how they responded. Instead of falling away from God when times of discouragement came, they each one grew in faith, trust and confidence in God.

-Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord because she was barren. (1 Samuel 1:10) Instead of giving up hope, Hannah prayed. She brought her problem honestly before God. While it may be difficult to pray when we feel so ineffective, prayer opened the way for God to work.

-In times of great difficulty, Nehemiah said “as I looked over the situation, I called together the leaders and the people and said to them, “Don’t be afraid of the enemy! Remember the Lord who is great and glorious, and fight for your friends, your families, and your homes!” (Nehemiah 4:14) Nehemiah remembered that when surrounded with threats, God is able to do wonders even in discouraging situations. That is an important lesson that we need to remember when we are discouraged.

-The apostle Paul stated, “Because of my imprisonment, many of the Christians here have gained confidence and become more bold in telling others about Christ.” (Philippians 1:14) We may not be in prison, but we still have plenty of opportunities to be discouraged. Like Paul, look for ways to demonstrate your faith even in bad situations. Whether or not the situation improves, your faith will grow stronger.