No matter what our position in life may be, we all at times encounter disappointment—and that can quickly lead to discouragement. Disappointment is simply an emotional response to a failed expectation or hope, whether because plans went awry or someone didn’t measure up. But discouragement is a state of mind in which we become faint-hearted and lose confidence in God, ourselves, or others.
When Nehemiah arrived in Jerusalem, its inhabitants were discouraged—the city wall had been destroyed, leaving them vulnerable to their enemies, and there were significant hindrances to rebuilding. But he encouraged them to start, explaining that the Lord had shown him favor by moving the Persian king’s heart to approve the project. Nehemiah’s confidence in God replaced the people’s despair and lethargy with the hope of success and motivation to work diligently.
We have a choice: Either settle into disappointment and accept our discouragement or—like Nehemiah—focus on the Lord, who is greater than any problem facing us. Although obstacles and disappointments may remain, God’s Word shifts our hope to His promises, good purposes, proven faithfulness, and sufficiency (Rom. 15:4). With His strength, we can persevere.