In the Depths of Discouragement

The prophet Jeremiah had been speaking the word of God to the people, confronting them about their sin, warning them about God’s judgement that would come upon them unless they repent and turn from their ways. The people did not listen and also mocked, scorned and persecuted Jeremiah. When we come to Jeremiah chapter 15, we read discouragement pour out from the prophet throughout the chapter and his cries to God emphasising that even with no wrong that he has done to the people, they treat him so.

The prayer of a discouraged servant

In verse 15 we see him praying and pleading for himself – “You understand O lord, remember me and care for me. Avenge me on my persecutors. You are long-suffering -do not take me away, think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.”

Jeremiah is burdened and overwhelmed, what does he do? He takes his heavy heart to God in prayer. And he says “You understand O lord.” Yes, the Lord does understand, we can go to God in prayer with all that is in our hearts and know that He can truly understand our pain and our plight.

We also see Jeremiah pleading with God to avenge those who persecute him – how often do we long for God to put into place those that make life difficult for us? Although we often wish to see some sort of retribution to those who do no good to us, God’s focus is beyond the temporary to the eternal. Jeremiah calls God as long-suffering here, Jeremiah knows that God is one who is patient with the people giving them time to change their ways, because He is a God who loves and desires for all to turn to Him , so we see His mercy and patience in prominence in the midst of the people’s disobedience.

We read in verse 16 “When your words came to me, I ate them; they were my joy and my heart’s delight, for I bear your name, O lord God Almighty.”

Jeremiah trusted in God and delighted in His word, but that did not mean the path he had to take was easy or his troubles automatically disappeared. There were times when the pain was all too much for Jeremiah.

In verse 18 we read “Why is my pain unending and my wound grievous and incurable? Will you be to me like a deceptive brook, like a spring that fails?

This verse is filled with the heaviness of Jeremiah’s discouragement and despair. And he questions God in the process. In Jeremiah 2:13, God told Jeremiah that one of the sins of the people was that they have forsaken HIM- the spring of living water. God calls himself the spring of living water. And although Jeremiah believed him to be the spring of living water, in the trenches of discouragement we see Jeremiah question that very same truth and He pours out his ‘why’ questions.

Jeremiah reproaches God and questions if God is instead a spring that fails him. Why is God like a deceitful brook, appearing to have water but turning out to be dry. Why is God silent in the midst of Jeremiah’s pain and suffering?

For us: When we get discouraged, it is easy to go down the route of frustration and eventually find ourselves questioning God – ‘why me’, ‘why now’ or ‘why this Lord’?

The Response of a gracious God

God answers Jeremiah. We read in verse 19-21

“Therefore, this is what the Lord says; If you repent, I will restore you, that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them. I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue you and save you declares the Lord. I will save you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the grasp of the cruel.”

God is not angry with him for being discouraged, He reassures Jeremiah that he will strengthen him, be with him and rescue him but what did Jeremiah have to do first. He had to set his heart, his mind and his words right with God. God calls him to repent. Jeremiah had to purge those doubtful thoughts of God from his heart and mind. Faith and doubt cannot co-reside. Mathew 12:34 says “Out of the overflow of the heart pour out words from your mouth. What is in our heart will be the utterance of our tongue.

For us: We cannot fight off feelings of discouragement on our own but we can surely take them to God and trust that He will strengthen and restore the faith in us to keep walking in His path. All we can see is our immediate circumstances but God sees the big picture. We might not understand the why and we don’t have to because God comprehends the past, the present and the future.

We see Jeremiah’s prayer to God in the mist of his pain. Let’s just take a moment and look at Jesus prayer, when he was on the cross, at the height of his pain and persecution.  After all that he went through and was going through – He prays “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23: 34).

For us: When I read this, it convicts me, that all too often I do not respond in a Christ like manner to those that make life difficult for me. How do we pray and show grace to those who make our ministry or our faith walk challenging, do we lose sight of the grace God has extended towards us?

With God’s response to Jeremiah from verse 19, “If you repent, I will restore you, that you may serve me; if you utter worthy, not worthless words, you will be my spokesman. Let this people turn to you, but you must not turn to them.

We are reminded of a promise of restoration when we repent. Following Jesus is not a call for perfection but an honest relationship with Him, which includes taking our doubts and struggles to Him and asking Him to change our perspective with a repentant heart.  

It reminds us of our purpose – to serve and glorify Him. We can so often be singularly focused on our circumstances that we forget all that Christ did and continues doing for us – may we look at people and situations through the kingdom lens and extend grace to others.

We are reminded that unless our words edify, purify, uplift and glorify we cannot truly be representatives for Christ. We cannot claim to know God and love Him if our words and actions do not testify to that truth.

We are reminded that we should not conform to this world, God is not interested in us becoming more like the world but more like Christ.

Fill us with your Spirit Lord, so we can carry on with what you have called us to do.

God Bless.

40 thoughts on “In the Depths of Discouragement

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  1. Awesome reminder to show the same grace and mercy to others that Jesus has shown to us. He is patient and we should be the same way. And thank you for the prayer for God to fill us with His Spirit, so we can effectively fulfill the purpose He has for us. Thanks Manu! ❤️✝️

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  2. This is a subtle but cuts deeper post to be reminded to “focus beyond the temporary to the eternal,” Perth Girl! Yes, especially when we experienced the same situation as Jeremiah. Thank you for these Godly wisdom approaches to leave it to GOD, never to vent it to Him, and repent in humility. GOD fights for our battles and fortifies us. The harder part indeed is forgiveness as JESUS did but we have to pray for Him who renews our hearts and minds. Blessings to you and your family!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, they are relatable. We get to learn about the heart of God and we are reminded to not just view things from our perspective but an eternal perspective.

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  3. Powerful message.💜 Thank you, this is very thought provoking, as we know that we will be held accountable for each idol word spoken. What a lovely encouragement to be more mindful of the words we allow to come out. God bless you & the work of your hands.🙏🏼✝️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, Malinda. Each idol word spoken will be held accountable and that is a reminder that unless there is a true change from within only then what comes out of our mouth will be different.
      Blessings to you 🌺🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, I reblogged your post on my site, because I read someone else had tried to do it. I’ve never done this before, but know that others must be able to see it, because it’s gotten a like. Please check it on my site and make sure that I’ve properly represented you and your work. Lol, as I wasn’t quite sure of what I was doing. Thanks again for this powerful very relevant word. So many great thought provoking nuggets! Love to you, Malinda💗✝️

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Lol, I’m so glad to hear this! It’s good to know someone else struggles too. I’ll figure it out sooner or later. There sure has been a good response on the repost. All Glory to our Lord & Savior! God bless you.💜✝️💜

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Such good reminders in this post, Manu. This makes me want to be more intentional about reminding myself that God understands and that there is a bigger picture than what I can see. Your posts are always so timely. Thank you!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your post reminds me that God is under no obligation to tell us “why” but that He will most certainly help and answer us when we ask, “Lord, how shall I respond?” Thank you Manu for all the hard work you put into studying and writing on Jeremiah!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A very good way to approach God when we are struggling with our why questions. How will we respond ? I hope to honour Him with my response but I know all too well that my strength or my determination will not sustain that.
      The Lord is gracious and if we take our struggle to respond to Him in the way we should, He will help us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amen! When I am discouraged and frustrated my first response is not prayer and depending on God, it is trying to make sense of it myself. Only when I come to the end of myself do I say, “Lord, how shall I respond?” Praise God the time between me trying to make sense of things and going to God is lessening, but I still have a long way to go! Can’t wait for next Friday’s post!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am the same Mandy, my instinct is to try on my own rather than to turn to God but it is an area that I have been improving on and like you still have a long way to go. But the important thing is we are aware of where we are at, know the direction we are to go towards and while we are in this path, God besides being with us blesses us with others who share in this journey and are a source of encouragement.
        Thank you Mandy for being so encouraging and supportive 🤗

        Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful reminder it is to know that we can seek God, even with a heavy heart. There have been times when I felt so discouraged and didn’t even want to pray. But we can trust that God will be there with open arms.

    It can be difficult to endure suffering especially when it seems that our pain is being dragged out. But when we remember that God is fully in control at all times, it helps us to lean into Him as we allow Him to handle our battles.

    The part about forsaking God, the spring of living water, really struck me. I fear today we too seek to fill our thirst in so many ways, yet we forget to turn to God Almighty, our true source.

    We can be too quick to point fingers at God and question why He allowed things to occur. I am sorry to say I have done this. It grieves me to think of how I have not always shown the Lord the respect He deserves.

    But I am thankful to see in this story how God was not angry with Jeremiah. But He lovingly steers Him in the right direction. What a valuable reminder this is to take every thought captive.

    And what you said about “Following Jesus is not a call for perfection but an honest relationship with Him, which includes taking our doubts and struggles to Him and asking Him to change our perspective with a repentant heart.” – this is priceless. Remembering this helps take a whole lot of pressure off of us, as we cling to Him and allow Him to transform us.

    Thank you for this encouraging post. I always feel uplifted when I read your posts. Blessings, dear friend! 🌸💕

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  8. Manu, A well thought out and referenced post. It is important, to be honest, lament if we are overwhelmed, but to maintain faith and understand that God loves us and has this. We are blessed that God’s mercies are new every morning. Blessings! ✨💗🌼🌺

    Liked by 1 person

  9. all too often I do not respond in a Christ like manner to those that make life difficult for me.whooops!! i stand guilty as charged.

    May we all do it the Jesus way. It is hard but worthwhile

    Thank you for sharing

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Georgetta. I am going through the book of Jeremiah and there is so much to take away from it. I love the way you put it, yes, we can respectfully reason with God.

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  10. Knowing there were times when the pain was just too much for Jeremiah brings this girl hope! We all have been there! I’m so thankful I can repent and watch God replace any feelings of doubt with His powerful faith! Thanks, Manu, for this post! It’s a much needed one with all that’s going on around us all these days. God Bless ya, my friend! 💜

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It gives me so much hope too. As you said with all that we are surrounded by today, doubt and discouragement is something we can feel often but we are reminded to take those to God so that He can minister to those questions and feelings, leaving no room for Satan to get a foothold.
      Thank you Renee.
      Blessings back at ya, my friend.

      Like

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