Our friend Fran has been struggling with discouragement this week. You’ve been there, too, haven’t you? Jesus has shown her several steps to take that will help defeat discouragement, including sharing her complains with him instead of with others, offering a sacrifice of praise, staying away from discouraging people, and just plain working hard.

Now one of Fran’s coworkers comes over to talk to her about a billing problem. Just as she is leaving, Fran feels an urge to ask her, “Sue, is everything okay? You look kinda down.”

“Huh—oh do I? I’m sorry, it’s nothing…” she starts to leave.

“If you need to talk, I’m a good listener,” Fran encourages her to open up.

“Oh, you don’t want to hear my troubles, Fran,” Sue says. But Fran insists that she does. So, Sue tells her about her problems with her husband. “I’m pretty sure he’s got some affair going, Fran. He’s never home; he makes up all these crazy excuses; and he never touches me anymore. He hardly speaks to me. I expect him to walk out on me and the kids any day now.”

“Sue, are you sure you’re not just letting your imagination run wild on you?” Fran asks.

“No, that’s what I thought for awhile, but a friend saw him in a bar a couple of times with this woman from his office. I think he’s having the typical mid-life crisis, and he’s going to dump me and the kids for some young bimbo,” Sue says drearily.

Fran talks with her a few more minutes, and then says, “Why don’t you come over to my house tonight, and we can talk some more.” Without realizing what she’s done, Fran has reached out to someone else whose problem is much bigger than hers. Sue seems so appreciative. “Fran, I really didn’t mean to dump on you, but I sure could use a friend.”

“You’ve got one, Sue. I’ll see you tonight.” After Sue leaves Fran spends a couple of minutes praying for her. Then she thinks to herself: “What happened to my discouragement?”

“You know, Lord,” she says to Jesus, “I almost forgot about the things that were bugging me. I mean, my problems look pretty small compared to Sue’s.”

She remembers a verse from Proverbs 11:

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).

Again, Fran realizes, Jesus knows what he’s talking about. And again, she acknowledges what a difference it makes to have Jesus by her side all the time. When she simply obeys him, he can take those discouraging feelings away and give her again the joy of her salvation.

He’s by your side, too, if you know him as your Savior. Why don’t you practice his presence more every day?