Discouragement is a real obstacle to our progress in life. Just when we think things are beginning to go in our direction, something happens, and we suffer a setback. We all know what discouragement feels like because we all have to deal with it. Did you know that Jesus dealt with discouragement when he lived on this earth? These words are written about Jesus, "I have labored to no purpose; I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing” (Isaiah 49:4). Jesus expressed his discouragement at times, "O unbelieving and perverse generation...…how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Matt. 17:17). Jesus knew what it felt like to be despised and rejected, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46).
It is important to remember that Jesus lived like us in a human body with the full gamut of human emotions, and though he did not sin, he knows our weaknesses. He never strutted across the stage of human history as the Roman conquerors did. He identified himself with us—the common person. He lived in obscurity and fulfilled the will of his father.
How did he respond to the discouragement? That is an important question because we need to know how Jesus dealt with a real problem like discouragement. The answer is found in the latter half of the same verse in Isaiah, “Yet what is due me is in the LORD's hand, and my reward is with my God." (Isaiah 49:4).
Jesus trusted God with the future, with his work and with the problem. He never abandoned his faith, nor did he turn away in cynical unbelief though he was tempted to do so. He deliberately chose to trust God with each setback. What an example for each of us.
How many times are we disappointed with the results? We want more. We want a different outcome than the one we got. Jesus’ attitude is, “This is not what I expected or hoped for, but nevertheless, I will contend myself with what the Lord says is due me. This is not the reward I had my heart set on, but I will accept and receive with joy the reward God gives.”
I don’t know what setback you are experiencing right now, but whatever it is, the best way to respond to it is the way Jesus did. Look to God and say to him, “Whatever is due me is in the Lord’s hand.” This mentality embraces a sovereign view of God. He is greater than my problems or even my opponents. God is watching out for me, and I can trust him with all my disappointments.
When we are discouraged, we often feel the Lord has forsaken us. Israel felt this way, “But Zion said, "The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me." (Isaiah 49:14). These feelings are common, and God knows we can face them. This is why he told Israel he would never forget them, “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me” (Isaiah 49:15-16).
God is always mindful of us, and he will never forget us. I hope these words will impress you today with how much God loves you.