Discouragement. Taking away one’s courage. It’s a formidable opponent. Once one gives in to discouragement, one is left without the will to go on. Fear supplants faith. Lately, as I continue to relapse, I’ve been finding myself fighting discouragement at every turn. It’s so hard to stay encouraged when pain and trouble rise up on every side.
However, as I was praying about this (read “complaining to the Lord”), I was reminded of Joshua 1:9 (“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go”). I love how God anchors courage back to His presence in our lives.
My children have recently been quite attached to the first two Narnia movies, and I was reminded of this scene in Prince Caspian (skip to 1:38). It isn’t in the book, but I still like it so. Lucy is on the bridge of Beruna. Miraz’s army comes to the other side, planning to cross. Initially, she stands alone, her little dagger drawn. It’s ludicrous—a girl standing up to the might of an army? She’s clearly outmatched. Yet, the reality is Aslan’s presence. Her courage comes not from some mistaken belief that she can hold the bridge, nor that she will be able to slow the army. Her courage is anchored in one fact, and one fact alone: Aslan’s presence. Aslan can fight an army. Aslan can hold the bridge. Aslan is with her. Aslan is taking care of her.
As Christians, we have this same confidence. God has promised never to leave us, never to forsake us. (Heb 13:5) He is capable of handling anything life throws our way—be that insomnia, health problems, the death of a loved one, the unremitting toil of daily tasks…. no matter how overwhelming to us, He is capable. And He will fight the battle for us, just as He did for the Israelites. Do you see Joshua and the Israelites winning some amazing battle against Jericho through their military prowess or superior numbers? Not at all! It is God who fights for them, and God who wins the battle (Josh 6).
Thus we too must not let circumstances or anyone/thing else steal our courage. Rather, we must run back to this fact: God’s presence.
God, give me courage. Forgive me when I look at circumstances and give in to discouragement, rather than anchoring myself in Your hugeness. Remind me who You are. Forgive me for my pride in thinking I can make a difference in the battle on my own. Give me a clear understanding for who I am. In Jesus’ Name, amen.