I was sitting around this morning thinking about how discouraged I become at times. Dark days loom over the horizon when the clouds settle in to block any semblance of the sun only to darken the very recesses of my mind. Thoughts begin to wage war with one another as I try my best to pull myself out of the trap in which I find myself. Life’s woes take a stranglehold around the throat of my thoughts and I feel that I am losing my breath and slowly fading into the darkness. Thoughts race around competing against each other to taunt me, to see if they can lead me down the path of disbelief. Discouragement settles in as I begin to give up hope for the moment, forever. The valley is cold–dark–lonely.
Anxiety sets in causing more and more discouragement. Thoughts become disjointed and painful. Memories rise and fall: one right after the other of painful times, of death, of loved ones gone. Nothing seems to bring any peace of mind. Nothing seems to come to my aid. Nothing seems to come to my side to comfort, to console; I only concede that this is my plight.
Then, without any prompting from myself, a word comes to me from something other than me–from Someone. It is a thought, a complete thought, that secures me, anchors me. It is
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)
It is alive, this word! It is active, this word! It is mind-changing, life-changing! It does its work to brighten my day–my heart. I travel through the valley with reassurance that it is merely a “shadow of death” that I am seeing but not death itself. I can see the other side before me. I begin to climb out of the hollow to find the hallow. It is there that I begin once again to think on
…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise…
I begin to
…dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
Discouragement, the darkness, begins to flee. It cannot comprehend the light that is coming into sight. The dawn rises to find the top of the mountain. I can see it as I draw closer to it and it is there that I see the Light. It is there where I know that I have been before: encouragement! I have found peace! I have come through the valley! I have seen the Light for who He is in at least what I can now comprehend of Him.
I find that when I am discouraged and I begin to think on the truth of Jesus Christ that I find the peace that passes all understanding. The honorable One is He who died for the sins of His people. He is the One who is right in every word and in every deed. He is the One who is pure, holy, just. The loveliness of Jesus Christ dwells in the beauty of His Cross, of His empty tomb, and of His resurrected body. His Word, His beauty, His love is of good repute to all who believe. And if there is anything that is worthy of our praise, anyone that is worthy of our praise, it is Jesus Christ, the most excellent One.
Yes, discouragement comes in the worst of seasons, in the worst of days, in the worst of moments. But I have
…learned and received and heard and seen… (Philippians 4:9)
who Jesus Christ is. When I am down, He picks me up and He is exalted. When I
…practice these things…
I know that the
…God of peace will be with me. (Philippians 4:9)