by Rick Warren — November 24, 2022
From Building a Better Future
“Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I am helpless, overwhelmed, in deep distress.”
Psalm 25:16 (TLB)
Have you noticed how discouragement sets in at the midpoint of almost anything you do? It’s true in parenting, marriage, school, and in your career. But God has called you to finish the race he has prepared for you—and to finish it well.
When God put it on Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild Jerusalem after the Israelites’ returned from captivity, they began the work of rebuilding the city’s walls. But when “the wall was completed to half its height around the entire city” (Nehemiah 4:6 NLT), the people became discouraged.
The story of Nehemiah describes four common reasons people get discouraged. Today we’ll look at the first two.
The first cause of discouragement is fatigue. Nehemiah 4:10 says, “Then the people of Judah began to complain, ‘The workers are getting tired’” (NLT). Rebuilding anything, of course, is exhausting. They had worked hard on the first half of the project, but they soon grew weary and worn down. They were more vulnerable to attacks from their enemies, physically and spiritually.
Nehemiah’s workers offer an important lesson for you today: Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is go to bed. Why? Because discouragement is often the result of being tired. Circumstances always look better after you’ve had a good night’s sleep. When you’ve had plenty of rest, you’re less vulnerable to self-pity, temptation, and attack from others.
The second cause of discouragement is frustration. Not only were the Israelites fatigued; they were frustrated: “There is so much rubble to be moved. We will never be able to build the wall by ourselves” (Nehemiah 4:10 NLT). The project was more complex than they thought it was going to be. The ruin and rubble of their destroyed city was almost too much to handle.
What’s the rubble in your life? It’s whatever you keep tripping over. It’s not just physical rubble. It could be emotional, relational, or financial rubble. Or maybe it’s rubble from making bad decisions.
The thing about rubble is you will always have it in your life. You live on a broken planet, so there’s no way avoid it. But you can learn how to manage rubble to minimize frustration. How do you do that? By continually cleaning it out of your life. You can start by praying Psalm 25:16: “Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I am helpless, overwhelmed, in deep distress” (TLB).
Do you feel discouraged in your plans? Don’t give up! Tomorrow we’ll look at two more ways you can overcome discouragement.