— Olu Taiwo
Are You Discouraged?
For years William Wilberforce pushed Britain’s Parliament to abolish slavery. Discouraged, he was about to give up. His elderly friend, John Wesley, heard of it and from his deathbed called for pen and paper.
With trembling hand, Wesley wrote: “Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them stronger than God?
“Oh be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery shall vanish away before it.”
Wesley died six days later. But Wilberforce fought for forty-five more years and in 1833, three days before his own death, saw slavery abolished in Britain.
Even the greatest ones need encouragement.
— Carol Porter in Fresh Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching (Baker), from the editors of Leadership.
To the weary and discouraged, encouragement is like a glass of water in a barren desert.
It really does not take much effort to damage a person’s esteem, self-image, and confidence. Why are we so prone to feel like giving up when it seems like we are just a step away from seeing our prayers answered and dreams fulfilled?
The human soul proves to be full of fluctuating emotions subject to the most unlikely forms of discouragement.
However, sometimes we have faced direct opposition from those we thought would lend a helping hand or give an encouraging remark. With the wagging of the tongue many poisons are injected into the fragile souls of men and women daily. In an instant, with a disapproving look or gesture, dreams are aborted, hopes are dashed, visionaries lose their visions, potentially successful authors abandon masterpiece manuscripts possessing the potential of positively impacting generations; and, anointed men and women decide to abandon a genuine call to ministry for fear of being rejected.
The COVID-19 Pandemic has hit the globe, bringing the world to a crawl.
According to pharmacytimes.com, in an article titled, Research Finds Increased Levels of Suicidal Thoughts, Psychological Trauma During COVID-19 Pandemic.
Researchers surveyed 10,368 adults from across the country to better understand the sociological and psychological
effects of the pandemic…. The second study focused on suicidal thoughts, behaviors, and actions….In that study,
investigators found that 15% of all respondents were categorized as high risk for suicide. On a symptom assessment of
suicide risk, Black, Hispanic, and Native American respondents scored higher than their counterparts, as well as families
with children, unmarried respondents, and younger respondents. Compounding factors such as food insecurity and physical
health symptoms also increased the risk of suicide.
More men have been killed by words than by wars!
The truth of the matter is, every one of us needs encouragement at some time in life. We all come to a place in our lives when we cannot see the future clearly. At this point we need those who can tell us “it is going to be okay, do not worry about it. God will see you through.”
The apostle Paul played this role in the life of Timothy when he said:
“…Recalling your tears, I long to see you, so that I may be filled with joy…I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you….” 2 Tim. 1:3-7 NIV.
Timothy was going through a difficult time in his life. Paul could have used this as an opportunity to scold Timothy: “I have told you several times to always pray and read your Bible. If you had been praying like I told you, this would not have happened.” Instead, Paul looked beyond Timothy’s present and reminded him of his future.
Even in the gloomiest of days, the sun is still shining. The clouds though obstructing the view for a season, cannot overpower the rays of the sun.
Our lives are the same. In spite of the circumstances that surround us, the Son of God is still shining brightly. And if He is in control of our lives, the darkness around us cannot subdue His light.
*Recommended reading: Kay and Olu Taiwo’s book, Uncovering the Hidden Stranger Within: Answering the Question of Identity. click here.