All you need to do these days is turn on the TV, and it doesn't take long before discouragement and frustration comes knocking at the door. Maybe that's how you feel today. Why do we experience discouragement?
Usually, it comes when we have certain expectations that don't happen—things like expecting a raise but getting nothing. Counting on someone to do something and they don't follow through. Looking forward to a great evening, and things don't turn out the way you thought they would. But have you ever been discouraged with God? You thought that He was going to protect your son or your daughter or your spouse, but they ended up getting into an accident or getting a diagnosis that you never saw coming. You believed that God was going to bring a wife or husband into your life, but all you get is heartache. You trusted God for your brother's addiction, and yet nothing has changed. Didn't God say to ask anything according to His will, and he would do it? All these things had to be God's will.
When we stay in a place of discouragement, it can lead to another place called hopelessness. And when we arrive at that destination, nothing good will come from it. There is a story in the Bible about two sisters sending a message to Jesus that their brother was very ill. They needed Jesus to come, but he didn't. The brother died. They were devastated as you can imagine. When Jesus finally arrived, the brother had been dead for 4 days. Listen to what one of the sisters said to Jesus, "If only you would have been here, my brother would not have died." Do you hear the expectation? Their discouragement moved into hopelessness. Their brother was dead, and nothing could change that. But if you are familiar with this story, then you know that Jesus had a different plan. He went into the tomb and raised the man back to life.
Often, we get discouraged after praying and believing that God will do something for us, and he doesn't. I suggest that God always has a plan, and he definitely knows our needs and desires. His goal is never to hurt us, so maybe just maybe he's doing something more than what we see. Remember that God cares about us, just like a parent cares for their child. He doesn’t want us to go through pain but pain happens. Sometimes it comes because of our own decisions, sometimes it comes because of other people’s decisions, and sometimes it comes because we live in a broken world. One thing that I have personally learned is with pain comes growth. God can use our pain in a positive way. We may not see it when we are in the middle of the pain but hopefully we will look back one day and see how it’s changed us. His help often looks different than our expectations.
Maybe you’re in a place of discouragement today. I hope that you will remember that God is working on your behalf. He is doing something. Our part is to trust in him, and possibly we will see something raised to life just like the sisters.