Topic: Nehemiah 1:1-11
Discouragement can feel like a big weight on our shoulders. It slows us down and makes work more difficult. It can diminish our enjoyment of life.
People drag us down when they regard our best efforts as unsatisfactory. A steady stream of criticism from a family member, neighbor, or co-worker can affect how we feel about ourselves.
Dissatisfaction with our actions can also prove discouraging. Maybe it relates to a personal weakness we can't overcome or a high personal expectation we've failed to meet. Either reason can cause discouragement.
Past disappointments cause some of us to have little hope for the future. Financial pressures, declining health, and painful relationships take a toll on our emotions.
The life of Nehemiah teaches an important lesson about handling discouragement. He was a Hebrew living in Persia and serving as cup-bearer for the king. Nehemiah heard a report about the poor condition of Jerusalem and the plight of the Jews. He was deeply affected. In his disappointment over their situation, Nehemiah turned to the Lord in prayer. He knew only His great God could change the situation. In the same way, our discouragement should drive us to cry out to the Lord.
Nehemiah praised God's awesome character, confessed his sins and the sins of others, recalled divine promises, and presented his request. Let's follow Nehemiah's example and take our disappointments to the Lord in prayer.