“Five times I received “forty lashes less one” from the Jews. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. I spent a night and a day in the open sea”

2 Corinthians 11:24-25

The Bible tells us of discouraging events—Cain’s struggle to overcoming jealousy, Abraham not being able to see the promise while Sarah was still barren, Jacob not getting the hand of Rachel when he expected it, Moses having to wander in the wilderness, Ezra’s efforts to rebuild Jerusalem, or John the Immerser’s (Baptist) doubts while in prison, to name a few. Paul tells us of the struggles he faced during his years of ministry; struggles that would have caused some of us to give up short of the goal.

We, too, are no strangers to obstacles and discouragements. We face them in our everyday lives, and in our efforts to serve the Lord. Believers in particular face a unique set of obstacles that are aimed at stopping us from sharing Yeshua. “For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm” (Ephesians 6:12). Still, we overcome!

Don’t give up! “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10). Obstacles are just that—a thing that blocks one’s way or prevents or hinders progress. It does not stop you but does make it more difficult to carry out the task. The Adversary may hinder you but he is powerless to stop you, with God leading the way.

You are not alone! We may often feel as if we are in the fight alone. Elijah was a man of great faith and strength, but he, too, became discouraged when it Jezebel sought to kill him— “Adonai, they have killed your prophets and torn down your altars, and I’m the only one left, and now they want to kill me too!” But what is God’s answer to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt down to Ba‘al” (Romans 11:3-4).

Lastly, remember that you matter! Not as the world thinks of you, but as the Father thinks of you and prove his love toward you. “See what love the Father has lavished on us in letting us be called God’s children! For that is what we are” (1 John 3:1). Do not be discouraged, be encouraged in the Lord, and in the power of his might!