Overcoming by Randy Rowley 8/20/10


Discouragement. It’s not a frequently used word, probably because the mere mention of it brings to mind thoughts of failure, depression, and hopelessness. It dogs most of us throughout our lives. Even during times of success and prosperity it lurks in the darkness like a thief ready to strike us through our spiritual armor and rob us of our joy. It can lead to isolation from friends and family, physical and mental illnesses, dependence on drugs, and even death. We are taught from early on to “shake it off”, “suck it up”, and “boys don’t cry.” Unfortunately, the bury your head in the sand approach at best only delays the enemy’s attack, and at worst strengthens it.

Fortunately for Christians, the Bible is filled with examples of everyday men and women who not only overcame discouragement but also triumphed over it. My favorites are the stories of Job and John the Baptist. In the interest of limiting the size of this study I will limit my focus to the story of Job.

Job was the object of a test between God and Satan. The Devil was looking for a way to prove that men would only praise God because He blessed them. The Lord stated “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Satan replied “Have you not put a hedge around him and his house hold and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.” Job 1:10 – 11. To make a long story short, the Lord allowed Satan to steal or kill Job’s 11,000 animals, many servants, and 10 children.

Job’s immediate response was praise. “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” (Job 1:21). This did not please Satan at all, so he talked God into upping the ante by allowing him to afflict Job with painful sores “from the soles of his feet to the top of his head” (Job 2:7). Again Job did not curse God, despite his wife exhorting him to do so.

Next along came Job’s three friends. After sitting with him for a week and saying nothing they began to give him advice and reproachment (Job chapters 3 – 37). By the middle of the book, Job began to get his fill of these “Dear Abby’s.” He stated in Job 16:1-3 “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end?” He also got his fill of his situation by stating “Surely, O God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. You have bound me – and it has become a witness; my gauntness rises up and testifies against me. God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes…God has turned me over to evil men and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked. All was well with me, but he shattered me; he seized me by the neck and crushed me…My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.” Job 16:7 – 9, 11 – 12, and 17:1. If that’s not discouragement I don’t know what is!

No matter where Job turned he couldn’t find any answers to his plight. He stood alone. Yet Job’s faith was so strong that he stated “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in Him” (Job 13:15). Job acted and believed obediently regardless of his circumstances.

Finally the Lord had enough of the give and take between Job and his friends and got personally involved. For four chapters he asked 78 questions to Job like “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4) and “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2). Job’s response was “Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” (Job 42:3). The end of the story tells how the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first (Job 42:12).

Job is a wonderful story of faith. Here was a man who lost his possessions, his family, his health, and all hope. Yet he stood firm, despite the exhortations of those closest to him. He never gave in.

Over the years we have seen several of our members suffer hardships. Several have experienced a loved one becoming sick, some have suffered the death of a friend or family member, others have had to endure the loss of their jobs or businesses, and several have lost hundreds or thousands in the stock market. These setbacks can easily lead to despair and discouragement.

Two of the bylaws regarding Christian walk of The Fellowship of Christian Sportsmen are to pray for needs within our membership body and to bear other members burdens. Now, more than ever before we need to encourage each other, pray for each other, and help financially those who are worrying where their next mortgage payment will come from. I leave you with two verses to ponder:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6 – 7).

“What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action is dead” (James 2:14 – 17).

Categories : Devotionals

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Bible Verse of the Day

A little that a righteous man has Is better than the riches of many wicked. For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, But the LORD upholds the righteous.