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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

December 2, 2011

Out of the valley

Filed under Sabbath Thoughts

Everyone experiences discouragement in life. Even King David, who knew spiritual triumphs in his life, had emotional struggles.

In Psalm 42:11, he wrote: "Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him."

The dictionary defines discouragement as the condition of being deprived of confidence, hope or spirit. We are discouraged when things don’t go according to plan. We may have issues at work or in a relationship, or we may have health problems.

King David experienced discouragement, but he did not spend his entire life as a discouraged person. Discouragement will pass if we remember some key principles! God’s Word reminds us that with those principles and with God’s help we will again find courage and hope for our life.

When we are discouraged, we tend to think about the past. We might be thinking about a failure or a mistake, or we might be longing for a better past which seems like it will never be repeated. When God calls us, though, He gives us an orientation to the future with the goal of the kingdom of God! Let’s get our eyes off the past and look to the future. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland" (Isaiah 43:18; NIV, my emphasis).

If anyone could have been discouraged by thinking about the past, it would have been the apostle Paul, who had a respected position in the Jewish community prior to his calling. But Paul focused on the future instead of the past: "I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things . . . I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me" (Philippians 3:8, 12).

When we are discouraged, let’s remember that God has a plan for our future. He has not called us to failure. Instead, He is there to give us strength. We should remember what God told Joshua: "Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

When you feel like we are down in the valley of discouragement, look up! Every valley has its sides. Don’t focus on where we are, but where we are going in life.

With these thoughts I wish us all a rewarding Sabbath!

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.

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