Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Power over Discouragement

Submitted by David MillerBut Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him”  John 20:11–13, 
It is difficult to imagine how important Jesus had become to Mary Magdalene?   Trying to cope with her Savior’s death left her deeply discouraged. Rising in her grief to visit His tomb and finding it empty pushed Mary to the brink of despair.
It is here that we find the danger of discouragement, because if it continues unattended or unchecked, it can lead to the far more dangerous condition called despair. Discouragement isn’t just a bad day or two and the progression from discouragement to despair can happen quickly, with devastating consequences.
Think of all the places Mary could have gone that morning with her discouragement. She could have gotten lost in her work or consumed with her family. She could have just stayed in bed. She could have fallen into some type of addiction, lashed out at God, or blamed Christ for her troubles.  Any of those choices would have been made.  However, instead, Mary rose at dawn and went to the last place she had seen Jesus. Sometimes the most profound things in God’s Word are the simplestthings: Mary was discouraged, so she went to find Jesus. She turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ (vv. 14–15a). Even more amazing and true was the fact that Jesus was there. Newly resurrected, no doubt He had a fairly lengthy to-do list over the next forty days. But first He paused to care for His discouraged friend.
“Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary.’ She turned and said to him in Aramaic, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means Teacher)” (vv. 15b–16).
Jesus’ presence gave Mary power over her discouragement. And when you take your discouragements to Him, He will do the same for you. You may ask “Doesn’t God already know I’m discouraged?”  Absolutely. He knows all about it. And He wants you to know that He knows. How?
• Pray. Get alone, kneel down, and pray out loud with a list. Unburden your heart before the Lord.
• Journal. Write down what you’re praying about, or write out your prayers. And watch your journal become a chronicle of God’s faithfulness.
• Get in your Bible. If you’re discouraged, immerse yourself in His Book.
• Worship. The Lord is enthroned on the praises of His people (see Psalm 22:3). Draw near to Him in worship and let Him be the lifter of your head. 
• Fellowship. A godly friend is God’s provision. Share what you’re walking through with someone who loves Him. Being alone is what a discouraged person may want the most and need the least.
Often what we desperately need is right in front of us, yet in our distress we fail to reach for it. Your discouragement matters to God. Take it to Him. Allow Jesus to reveal Himself to you as He did to Mary; tenderly, lovingly, patiently.  He will give you His power over discouragement. 
Discouraged today?  Go directly to Jesus.  He stands, arms open wide, waiting for you.

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