Are you discouraged? [1]

“Then [the leaders of] Judah said, the strength of the burden bearers is failing, and there is much rubble; We ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.”

Praying black woman

Memory Verse: Nehemiah 4:10 “Then [the leaders of] Judah said, the strength of the burden bearers is failing, and there is much rubble; We ourselves are unable to rebuild the wall.”

The Word for Today devotional by United Christian Broadcasters (UCB) says

The story of Nehemiah highlights four major sources of discouragement. Let us look at the first of them: Fatigue. The people in Judah said, ‘The strength of the labourers is giving out.’ In other words, they had worked themselves to exhaustion.

They were worn out physically, mentally, and emotionally. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking that discouragement is strictly a spiritual problem. We say, ‘Maybe I need to recommit my life to God’, when in fact the real problem is we are burned out.

We need rest and renewal. Indeed, sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is relax, go to bed, or take some time off. When do fatigue and discouragement surface? Look at verse six: ‘So we rebuilt the wall until all of it reached half of its height’.

Do you know when you are most apt to get discouraged? When you are halfway into a project! Everybody works hard at first. The Bible says the people ‘worked with all their heart’ (v. 6 NIV 2011 Edition).

Why? Because of the newness of the project. It was exciting and novel, but after a while, the newness wore off and the work got boring. Life settled into a routine, then a rut, then a ritual. Be careful: when fatigue walks in, faith walks out!

That’s why the psalmist said, ‘He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul’ (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV 1984 Edition). Fatigue is one of the biggest causes of discouragement, and it often shows up about midpoint. It is why we leave so many projects unfinished. Bottom line: if you need time off, take it!

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