Pastor's Monthly Message for March 2009

Overcoming Discouragement

A characteristic aspect of people who succeed is an unwillingness to admit defeat Many a cause has been won after the cause seemed hopeless simply because there was a soul who refused to be discouraged, who saw beyond defeat the bright hope of success and believed in it.

Of course, success and defeat are both a part of life. The only persons who have never failed are those who have never tried; the only ones who have not tested the bitter legacy of failure are the ones who have not risked devotion to a cause. They who would succeed must understand defeat and not be defeated by it It is possible to know defeat and not be defeated by it, because in the words of a hymn, "There is a Balm in Gilead" there is a moment of succeeding and hope beyond all our momentary failures and despair.

Too often we are impressed by the limitations of our lives; too often we focus on failed dreams and unfulfilled expectations. Too often we see not the seacoast-the vast and hopeful bounty of the sea-but we see sand that slips through our fingers and cannot be held.

Certainly there are those who have talents and abilities greater than our own; there are those who have suffered less, who have gained more. But God does not measure us one against another. He does not value our lives in the context of others living.

As the hymn promises and persuades us:
If you cannot sing like angels,
If you cannot preach like Paul,
You can tell the love of Jesus,
And say "He died for us all".

God did not make us to be defeated. Indeed, He sent His Son as a sacrifice so that we, in the end, might succeed. That ultimate success does not mean there will not be moments of failing. But we are inspired by the light of Christ to take hope in over succeeding, to not be too quick to have failure define our experience, and to realize that failure does not in itself constitute defeat.

We are defeated only if we are stopped, only if we linger in failure and do not see beyond it to the hope of other opportunities. We are defeated only if we fail to see a brighter, more significant eternal success that ultimately will diminish every failure and save every soul who finds it out.

Pastor Hans Lillejord