“The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land.”  Isaiah 58:11 –

God is masterful in making ways through the desert for His children. Our faithful God makes a way for us through our desert times. Times of discouragement can seem like vast deserts before us with no end in sight and no oasis along the way.

We meet upon the desert of discouragement when life seems overwhelming, more than we can handle…. when doubts and fears arise that are not grounded in truth… when setbacks and defeats sap us of our strength. Our faith in the only One who can help us falters. All we see is the seemingly endless path of the sweltering desert before us.

“If you are going through a time of discouragement, there is a time of great personal growth ahead.”Oswald Chambers

Discouragement is recognized as a feeling of low spirits, with diminished confidence, enthusiasm, courage or hope. Lack of faith lies at the heart of discouragement. For where our focus is, our faith will follow. If our focus is on ourselves, our world and our problems, we will lack the faith to trust in God.

When we are in the midst of the desert of discouragement, we fail to see the power and omnipotence of our Lord. We do not believe that He is able to do infinitely more than all we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We are trusting in ourselves and our circumstances rather than God.

Discouragement is perhaps the most powerful weapon in the enemy’s arsenal. He wants us to turn our focus inward and wallow in our feelings. We believe his lies, half-truths and deceptions. If he can discourage us, weaken our faith, cause us to lose hope, he knows we will be of little use for God’s kingdom.

“Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward You will take me into glory.”Psalm 73:23-24

How do we survive and thrive in the desert of discouragement?

  Take every thought captive to Christ — To overcome discouragement, we need to capture the thoughts that lead us into that desert and give them to our Lord. He will bear away those thoughts, and the feelings that follow, and turn our contemplations toward Him.

  Resist the enemy and he will flee — We need to discern when we are allowing the enemy to fill our minds with his lies. When he attempts to turn our attention to the overwhelming heat of the desert, we resist and rise above his deceptions.

  Spend time in prayer and God’s Word — We turn our focus upward and reconnect to our Lord whose mercy never ends. We satisfy our thirst with His truth where we find encouragement and hope. We seek the oasis of His presence… and pray prayers of power.

  Speak the promises of God — We turn our focus outward and shower our lives and the lives of those in our world with blessings and promises from God’s Word. For His Word is powerful in changing the spiritual world.

  Be thankful and recognize God’s blessings — Discouragement cannot last long in a thankful heart. When we praise God for all the blessings He so generously rains down upon us, our spirits are refreshed and renewed.

  Live a holy life — Our Lord shows us areas of our lives where our faith is weak… where we have succumbed to the heat… where we have strayed from His ways. We repent and return to Him, making our hearts right before Him. He will empower us to follow Him.

  Recognize God’s everpresence with us — We need to discover who or what we are trusting in besides the Lord… areas where we are relying on our own resources to see us through the desert. We look to Him alone, for He is by our side… our source of strength and faith.

“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.”Jeremiah 17:7

True faith rests in the One who deliverers. By faith we let God be in control. The desert of discouragement can seem to stretch endlessly before us. Yet Jesus triumphed over all evil in His desert times. When we keep our eyes on the One who is Faithful and True, we will renew our faith and our trust in Him.

The Lord gives us courage and hope to overcome. In Him, we can have the confidence to face trials… the grace to carry on… and the perseverance to endure on our journey of life. Our Lord will make a way for us through the desert of discouragement. We need only trust and follow.