Feeling discouraged

For me, it’s horribly discouraging when there’s so little interest in the Christian message, or when things keep going wrong, or when people just leave the church without saying anything. Or when nobody takes any interest in what’s happening in your life, and it’s all one-way conversations as they talk a mile a minute about themselves but never ask about you.

You can get to thinking, “What’s the point?” or “Why bother?” I can imagine Jesus thinking that too, when most people only took an interest in him when he did miracles. When he preached the Christian message most people cleared off and didn’t want anything more to do with him. His very own hand-picked disciples often didn’t care much for what he said and did either. They often misunderstood him, and saw him mainly as a leg up for themselves in the kingdom. The religious authorities wanted him dead, despite the obvious evidence that Jesus was fulfilling many of the Old Testament prophecies that they knew by heart. The general public never let him get a moment’s rest, in their endlessly self-centred quest to get a healing or a demon removed. And when Jesus needed people the most, they either fell asleep, ran away, reported him to the authorities or denied ever knowing him. And at the last, just before he died, he felt utterly deserted.

So Jesus knows all about being discouraged. He sorrowed unto death at one point. I imagine him wondering, then, why on earth his Father had sent him in the first place when most people weren’t the least bit interested in his message, and the few people who could have been a great support to him, like the the religious leaders, scoffed at him and told lies about him. Clearly, there was no one Jesus could fully trust to understand him, be sensitive to his needs, or try to grasp what he was really saying.

And it’s a bit of a shock when that dawns on us too, isn’t it? That really most people are incapable of knowing our needs or taking an interest in what makes us tick, including our closest friends, our parents and even our spouses. But maybe that’s exactly what we need, to realize there isn’t a human being alive (or dead) who can satisfy our deepest longings and desires.

At which point, the Father appears through the mist of our tears and discouragement, just as he promised. He comforts those who mourn, because without his comforting arm round our shoulder, there isn’t any other help strong enough and concerned enough for us. But we always have him. Our Father.


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