Fran is struggling with discouragement. I imagine you’ve been there at times yourself, so listen in to see how Jesus helps her learn to defeat discouragement.
Last night Fran had unloaded all her problems on her friend, Louise, and Jesus reminded her it was a great deal better to tell him, rather than discourage others by complaining to them. After all, Jesus can handle it, and he can help.
This morning, however, that discouraging feeling still lingers as she gets herself and the kids ready to leave the house. “Come on, kids,” she says wearily, “you’re both dragging your feet today. We’re going to be late.”
“Lord, I just can’t beat that discouraging feeling,” she tells Jesus as she drives to work. “Problems just don’t go away that easily,” she says. She feels guilty for feeling discouraged, but what can she do? She is discouraged.
At that moment a song comes into her mind: “We give a sacrifice of praise. . .” She hums a few lines. “A sacrifice of praise. . . hmm. I guess I should praise the Lord,” she admits to herself. “But I don’t feel like praising God right now.” As soon as she says it, she knows how wrong she is.
“I don’t feel like it,” she says to the Lord, “but that’s what it means to give a sacrifice of praise—praising when you don’t want to. It requires a sacrifice of my emotions.”
“Praise God,” Fran mumbles to herself. She remembers her alphabet method, and halfheartedly, feeling like a hypocrite, she begins: “I praise you because you are A: Almighty; I praise you because you are B: Benevolent; I praise you because you are C: Caring; I praise you because you are D my Defense.” And on she goes through the alphabet, praising God while driving down the road, forcing herself to offer a sacrifice of praise.
As she pulls into the parking lot, she begins to feel a lighter spirit. Things don’t look quite so bad. She has made some inroads toward defeating the discouragement that was making her so miserable.
Are you discouraged today? Try a sacrifice of praise. It really does make a difference. The Psalmist said, “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God” (Psalm 42:5).