Published On: Fri, Feb 1st, 2013

Resisting Discouragement

By: Rick Warren

Most of us feel fairly self-sufficient. When a crisis arises, we do whatever is necessary, work through the problem, and move on. What happens, however, when we do everything we know to do and the crisis remains? Often we then adopt the motto, “When all else fails, pray.” But what happens when even your prayers go unanswered?

If you feel discouraged because of God’s delay in answering your prayers, understand the delay does not mean denial. Just because the answer or the miracle hasn’t come – yet – that does not mean God is not going to answer, or that He has forgotten you, or that He does not care about you. It simply means, “Not yet!”

Spiritual maturity is knowing the difference between “No” and “Not yet” – the difference between a denial and a delay. The Bible tells us, “He who is coming will come and will not delay” (Hebrews 10:37).

The delay may be a test of your patience. Anyone can be patient once, and even twice. And, just about anybody can be patient three times. So God may choose to test your patience again and again – and again, until you think you cannot be patient any longer.

Why does He do this? To determine how patient you are? No, He already knows that. He delays his answer to reveal to YOU how patient you are. In this way you will discover what is inside of you, and be able to understand your level of commitment. God tests your patience so that you can know He is faithful, even if the answers you seek are delayed.

If you have become discouraged, turn this negative emotion around by remembering God teaches you patience during times of delay. Ask him to transform your discouragement into patience. You may be going through difficult times right now and feel like running away or dropping off the planet.

You have become discouraged because the situation you face – at work, in your home, in your finances or your health – seems unmanageable, unreasonable, or even unfair. It may seem unbearable and inside you find yourself basically declaring, “God, I can’t take it anymore. I just can’t take it anymore!” But you can.

You can endure, staying with the situation longer because God is with you. He will enable you to press on, if you are willing to trust Him and rely on Him. Remember, you are never a failure until you quit.

Do not quit. Resist discouragement and finish the race God has set before you.

As it says in the Scriptures, “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, He who is coming will come and will not delay” (Hebrews 10:36-37).

Adapted from a column by Dr. Rick Warren, the author of numerous books, including the highly acclaimed, The Purpose-Drive Life, which has been translated into many languages and sold throughout the world. It affirms the importance of having a carefully considered, clearly expressed purpose to guide everyday life. Most recently, he also has written The Purpose of Christmas.

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