2 Cor. 4:8, We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

As I read this verse, it amazed me how consistent Paul was in his walk. Have you ever been troubled on every side of your life? Usually, we have troubles in one or two areas but there is at least some stability in the other areas. Paul states that he was troubled on every side. I’ve been in this situation once or twice in my Christian walk and it was a very difficult time in my life. However, I remember drowning myself in the Book of Psalms and feeling the Lord’s presence through it all. Psalm 27 was especially a blessing to me during these difficult times. My discouragement lasted but a short time and was replaced with that peace which surpasses all understanding (Phil. 4:7). Paul said that although he was troubled on every side he was not distressed. The Lord brought him through – a peace was evident by his testimony in 2 Cor. 4:8. Can you say that about your trials?

Paul continues to say that although he was puzzled and perplexed about the situations around him, he was not in despair. As he looked at his circumstances, he was not without hope because Paul knew that the Lord was in charge no matter how much chaos was in his life. Can you say that, dear Christian? What did Paul have that you don’t have? Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isa 26:3)

There’s the word “trust” again. When we trust in the Lord to take care of each situation in our life, He provides us with a peace that is perfect. Isn’t that just like the Lord? He does not provide just a little peace or just enough to get by at the moment. The Lord provides that perfect peace. What do we need to do to receive that perfect peace? Our minds must be stayed on the Lord. Noah Webster says that the word stayed means “fixed; settle; sober.” That depicts a heart that is focused on the Lord; a heart that has been reading the Word and is not swayed by life’s billows. NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psa 119:105)

The Christian’s life is like an ocean. There are times it is calm and beautiful. There are also times of storm where the waves come crashing down. But remember, my friend, the Lord Himself calmed the seas (Mark 4:39) – He is the Creator of those same seas. He can and will calm the troubled seas in your life. You must trust in Him and lean on Him during these troubled times. Again, that word trust comes into play. When we try to figure out our circumstances on our own, we are overwhelmed by it all. We become consumed with our own problems. The Lord doesn’t want us to be in this state of turmoil. God will work in your situation – it may not be the way you think or expect, but He will work in your life! That is why He tells us to trust in Him and not try to figure things out for ourselves. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Pro 3:5) (emphasis mine).

Remember that God’s ways are not our ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isa 55:9) Our Father in Heaven sees the big picture. I once read that if we viewed a train running down the tracks from an airplane, we would be able to see where the train had been and where it was going. This helps us to visualize how God sees our lives. He can see where we’re going – in fact, He knows the beginning, middle and end of our lives. It cannot get any better than that. The Lord wants to help us through our trials – He knows the outcome and is capable of providing just what we need to make it through! What great comfort that is!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Joh 14:27)

I cannot stress enough how discouragement can be alleviated in our lives if we just spend more time at the Saviour’s feet. How? Get in the Word, Christian! It is the Source for healing!

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Joh 14:27)

Jesus promises to give us peace as born-again Christians. What a lovely and wonderful thing to give someone. Can you give peace to someone else? The only way I can personally give peace to someone else is by not making their life miserable, I suppose. But this is not the peace that Jesus is talking about here. This peace is a rest and quietness from within which goes beyond what a human being can give another. I cannot provide rest and quietness to anyone’s heart. Only the Lord can do that.

How can we as Christians receive this peace that Jesus promises to give us? This peace starts out in our lives the moment we repent and ask Jesus to save us. This peace is knowing that we will never have to worry about going to hell! There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Rom 8:1)

But there is more peace to follow – Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (Mat 6:31) (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. (Mat 6:32)

Are you afraid, Christian? What are you afraid of? Unpaid bills? Not knowing what the future holds? Enemies of the cross? Oh dear one, nothing can happen to us without the Lord knowing about it.

1 Pet. 3:12-15, “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. (And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; (But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”

Discouragement comes from lack of trust. Have you ever noticed some believers who never let anything get to them? When everything seems to go wrong in their life, you would never know it by their actions? Yet other Christians seem to live a life of constant defeat. What is it that makes the difference? I believe there are two important things a Christian must do to rid himself of discouragement.

(1) Trusting the Lord to take care of one’s problems, no matter how desperate the situation appears, is one key to ridding ourselves of discouragement. The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. (2Sa 22:3)

(2) Filling ourselves with the Word of God is the second key to ridding ourselves of discouragement. Christian, are you stricken with an illness which will be with you until the Lord takes you home? Fill yourself with the Word of God – take comfort in the Scriptures! Encourage yourself with the Word – this was the greatest achievement of the author of Psalm 119, in my opinion. No matter how desperate the circumstances were in his life, he encouraged himself with the Word. DALETH. My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. (Psa 119:25) This man’s spirit was so down (down in the dumps, if you will) but he knew that God’s Word would quicken him (make him alive) again.

As born-again believers, we have received the Holy Spirit to not only teach us but to comfort us. It is the Spirit that makes us alive in Christ. If we feed the spirit, we will be encouraged in our spirit. However, when we feed the flesh and dwell on our circumstances, we reap discouragement. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Rom 8:11)

You may believe that this is easier said than done. However, Job was stricken in so many ways yet God encouraged Job to remember who HE was. Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (Job 40:9) God knows exactly what you need – so much so that the Holy Spirit prays for you when you just can’t! What a loving God we have! Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. (Rom 8:26) God knows our troubles and sorrows to such a depth that He provided His Spirit to make intercession for us because He knew that we would not be able to put into words just how discouraged we are! What love the Father has for us!!!

Be encouraged – Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? (Job 40:9) This same God is looking out for you!

All the way my Saviour leads me,
What have I to ask beside?
Can I doubt His tender mercy,
Who through life has been my guide?
Heavenly peace, divinest comfort,
Here by faith in Him to dwell!
For I know, whate’er befall me,
Jesus doeth all things well.

Fanny Crosby