During our first lockdown in Northern Ireland, in the summer of 2020, I sat in our garden one morning with my coffee and my Bible. I had been feeling discouraged; several months of a lack of contact with family and friends and the daily death barrage of bad news was starting to take its toll.
A small, sudden scuffle of movement caught my attention, bringing me out of my self-centred little reverie. I noticed a tiny field mouse starting to climb the trunk of the tree next to where I was sitting ~ the tree in which our bird feeders hangs. I watched him for a while, and always the ready photographer, snapped a few photos.
I was astounded by the tenacity of this little creature. After the long climb up the trunk, the equivalent of a mountain to you or me, he arrived at the spot level with the bird feeder. The problem was, there was a huge gap between where he was, and the branch the feeder was on. He had to launch himself across to reach the perch of the feeder – an act of precision as well as courage! He misjudged the distance and missed the perch more times than he landed on it, falling all the way back down to the ground. Then he would have to start the climb all over again.
I sat there for a long time, so I’m not exaggerating when I tell you the mouse did this thirty-one times, until finally he made it! I cheered when he did. His reward was a good long breakfast, and through the inbuilt tenacity of this little mouse, the Lord encouraged me in my discouragement. If a little mouse could have such staying power and courage, how much more can I, who has the Spirit of the living God living in me?
What Does the Bible Say about Discouragement?
Everyone gets discouraged, we are human. How often we so easily give up. We tell ourselves we ‘fall short’. We get hurt, so we withdraw for fear of it happening again, forgetting that we don’t have to do it in our own strength ~ forgetting to ‘abide in Him’.
If you are discouraged today, may I encourage you to find your hope and strength again in the Word of God. Here are just a few scriptures (below) to get you stared. Underline these in your Bible, read them over & over, look up the cross-references, until they take root and your heart is encouraged and strengthened.
“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”
“Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:23-24
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
“For the lovers of God may suffer adversity and stumble seven times, but they will continue to rise over and over again. ”
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”