One of the biggest reasons we get discouraged is due to something that is completely under our control. It's perspective. A temporary loss of perspective can throw our lives out of kilter. I thought about that as I re-read this part of the story of the Hebrew people in Numbers 11:
The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, "If only we had meat to eat! We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. but now, we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna. Numbers 11:4-5 NIV
I shake my head in disbelief every time I read this passage. Talk about a loss of perspective. "Fish at no cost?" Are you kidding me? You guys were slaves...lower than the animals in the eyes of your masters. The Israelites had gotten their perspective so out of whack that they forgot God's provisions--deliverance from slavery, parted seas, water from rocks, manna in the middle of a desert.
But you and I can get the same attitude about our lives. Sometimes I'll start to feel sorry about my "sad lot in life" then God sends someone or something to jerk me back into line. I have plenty to eat, clothes on my back, relatively good health for a 43 year old, an amazing wife, very good kids...I could go on and on. How can I get discouraged about my life when I read of those who go to bed hungry at night or the ones who wake up day-after-day to face the same terminal illness that has plagued them for months?
It may seem old-fashioned but the best remedy for discouragement is the regular practice of--wait for it--thankfulness. That's right. Just simply acknowledging all you have been blessed with by God can take the gloomies and turn them into a right attitude. Your heart becomes full of the right thoughts and, unlike our Hebrew friends above, you develop an appetite for God. Otherwise, our cravings turn to things in this world that bring nothing but more frustration, more discouragement. And, if we aren't careful, we find ourselves longing for enslavement yet again. Now, who in the world would want that?