A Discouraging Word

Keith KettenringChristian Living, The Uncommon Journey

This morning I sat with God and became discouraged. I’m usually a pretty determined and inspired guy. But today I feel like a failure.

If you’ll indulge me a bit of self-reflection…

I used to feel so self-assured: confident of my beliefs, proud of my spiritual acumen, satisfied by my spiritual efforts. Not today.


We’ve had a lot of drama around our house the past 10 days. Two people we’re trying hard to love have hit another rough spot. Rhonda and I are trying to deal with this situation in our own ways. I’m discouraged that it’s not going the way I think it should go. This includes wondering why God isn’t changing hearts and opening eyes to see reality. It seems that the flesh and insanity are winning while spirit and reason are ignored.

And, here’s the hard part, I can’t do anything about it.

I’ve been praying diligently for God’s mercy to prevail. I don’t see it happening.


Add to this that we’ve been battling financial challenges since the year began.

Take-home pay has been reduced in 2018. Some medical bills chip away at our limited income.

We’ve had some donors discontinue their support and others who have been slow in their usual giving. We have people promising to partner with us with nothing to show for it yet.

Our Airbnb “busnistry” is off to a slow start this year compared to a blistering year in 2017.

I am challenged to stay up with our financial obligations and yet I have to make decisions constantly related to money. It’s a stressor I don’t like to deal with.

God & Me 

Finally, I pray the Psalms about God providing for Israel even in their disobedience and rebellion. I read of His goodness and mercy and know it to be true. Yet, today, I wonder.

I’m trying to be faithful in my prayers. I sit with God in silence knowing without Him I’m nothing and then feeling like I’m nothing.

I want to make a difference in every situation of my life. However, I see how little difference I actually make. It doesn’t matter what I think, say, or pray. People carry on as if I don’t exist; as if what I do or say doesn’t matter. In the Grand Scheme, I matter very little.

I’m alone (with God) in my thoughts of uselessness, worthlessness, nothingness.

It’s a good place to be. It shows my emptiness. It demands faith to know God here, right now. Apart from Jesus Christ, I can do nothing. Apart from Jesus Christ, I am nothing. I desperately need Him, to be found in Him, to live in Him.

I don’t want people’s sympathy or advice and definitely not some scripture verse or spiritual insight that will free me from discouragement.

I don’t want to defeat discouragement. I want to know God in my discouragement. To know that he doesn’t leave me hanging but lives in me no matter what.


When I don’t know why life is the way it is or people are the way they are, I know these two realties (and wish I knew them more fully):

  1. God exists.

  2. God rewards those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11.6)

I feel like crap yet I’ll cling to these two truths… and leave all the rest of the answers to the spiritual experts.

Maybe this isn’t discouragement but simply coming to grips with reality.