The Strength To Conquer Discouragement -- By: Roy E. De Brand

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 06:2 (Spring 1989)
Article: The Strength To Conquer Discouragement
Author: Roy E. De Brand

The Strength To Conquer Discouragement

A Sermon on Isaiah 40:28–31

Roy E. De Brand

Professor of Homiletics
Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Samuel Beckett, the best known playwright of the “Theater of the Absurd,” wrote a play entitled, Waiting for Godot. In it the two main characters sit on the stage throughout the entire play waiting for “Godot,” a character who never comes, or if he comes they miss him. This drama evokes despair and discouragement almost beyond dramatization. People hopelessly await someone who never comes, helplessly expect something that never happens.

Such a mood might well describe the setting of our text, Isaiah 40:28–31. It was the period of the Babylonian captivity of Israel. The whole generation of original captives were dying in a foreign land. Many of the captives had by now been born in Babylon. Years of waiting to return to their homeland and Jerusalem the beloved flowed into meaninglessness. Moods of skepticism and despair set in. Discouragement led to depression. Their helplessness caused questions to crop up. Had God forgotten them? If not, why were they still there? Why no deliverance from bondage? Were the Babylonian gods more powerful than Yahweh? Was God unwilling to help them, or worse, unable?

To this despairing multitude in captivity Isaiah declared that God’s strength was available to enable them to overcome despair. Some of the loftiest words of comfort and encouragement in the Old Testament are found in Isaiah 40:28–31:

Have you not known? Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the

ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary, his understanding

is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no

might he increases strength.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men

shall fall exhausted;

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles,

they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk

and not faint. (RSV)

Here’s a powerful message for each of us who gets depressed from time to time, who gets discouraged, feels despair. God has strength to share that we might overcome discouragement. It’s a message each of us needs, for we all fa...

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