#013: What to Do When You’re Discouraged

Leadership Lessons from the Lesser Known

Are there times in your life when you are discouraged? Perhaps when a promised promotion doesn’t materialize, or the raise you were expecting doesn’t come through.


Or maybe you’ve done everything you can think of to build your business, but still the market doesn’t respond. There are so many things in life that can bring us to the point of being discouraged. What matters, and what is important for us, is to learn how to deal with life when we are discouraged.

There are a number of characters in the Bible that faced discouragement. In the book of Jeremiah, we meet Baruch, who was the prophet Jeremiah’s scribe. Baruch spends all day, year-after-year recording the words of the prophet, only to have some unrepentant king burn all the scrolls. Jeremiah can’t simply hit “print” to get another copy, he has to re-dictate the whole scroll to Baruch. Baruch is understandably discouraged and that is where we pick up the story in Jeremiah 45:

Jeremiah 45:1-5 (ESV)
1  The word that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to Baruch the son of Neriah, when he wrote these words in a book at the dictation of Jeremiah, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah:
2  “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, to you, O Baruch:
3  You said, ‘Woe is me! For the LORD has added sorrow to my pain. I am weary with my groaning, and I find no rest.’
4  Thus shall you say to him, Thus says the LORD: Behold, what I have built I am breaking down, and what I have planted I am plucking up—that is, the whole land.
5  And do you seek great things for yourself? Seek them not, for behold, I am bringing disaster upon all flesh, declares the LORD. But I will give you your life as a prize of war in all places to which you may go.”

Background. Baruch is the grandson of Mahseiah, governor of Jerusalem under King Josiah. His brother Seraiah was an official who served in the court of Zedekiah. As a member of a prominent family, he likely could have had a prestigious job as a government official or even in the royal court, yet he chose to serve as a scribe for the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah began his prophecy calling for Israel to repent. This call for repentance goes on for 25 chapters! The next ten chapters (26-36) describe how Jeremiah stood against those who harassed him and refused to repent. Chapter 36 records King Jehoiakim who burns the words of Jeremiah that Baruch had written and read to the king’s court. Then Jeremiah dictates to Baruch another scroll saying the same thing!

In chapters 37-44 Jeremiah prophecies destruction for the nation—still they do not repent.

Baruch’s Discouragement. Baruch says woe to me, sorrow has been added to my pain, I am weary from all my groaning, and I have no rest (v3).

Remember God’s Sovereignty. God reminds Baruch that what He built He can break down, and what He planted He can pluck up—even the whole land (v4)!

God’s Counsel & Reward. Don’t worry about seeking great things for yourself. Judgment is coming on the whole land. Your reward is your eternal life (v5)!


Regardless of the desires of this world to achieve recognition, position, honor, acceptance, peace, security, prosperity, or wealth it’s all temporary. Even the greatest of the things man creates will ultimately come to ruin.

Rather than being discouraged as you face life’s difficulties, be joyful in your eternal reward: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36).

Join in the Conversation!

As always questions and comments are encouraged. Have you faced a period of trials filled with discouragement? How did you get through it?

Category: Personal Development | Dependence on God

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.