Bible Reading:  Psalm 119:25-32

I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word. Psalm 119:25

Three years ago, Doug’s parents were divorced. He knew, of course, that they were having trouble. He had heard the arguments. Even so, Doug never expected Dad to walk out on him and his mom and not come back. But he did.

Dad promised to call when he could. “You’re still my son,” his dad had assured him when he left. “That will never change, I promise.”

Now those words rattle painfully in Doug’s head. Yesterday was Doug’s birth­day, and Dad didn’t call.

Even if we’ve never been slammed by a bitter, hurtful disappointment like Doug’s, we all have faced smaller discouragements. Somebody fails us, something goes wrong, a plan doesn’t work, a friend says something unkind, a dream goes un­realized, we get a poor grade. We can’t avoid it. Discouragement happens.

So how do you cope? Here’s a pretty serious checklist. Which choice best de­scribes what you do when you get down?

□ I get mad at everyone, including people who didn’t cause the problem.

□ I sulk and want to be alone.

□ I throw things. If I can’t lift something, I punch it.

□ I stuff my mouth full of food until I feel better.

□ I get so mad at God that I skip devotions and avoid church.

□ I zone out with music or use the TV to drown out my pain.

Recognizing that we’re down is the first step to getting back up. God doesn’t want us to get stuck in discouragement. He has a cure. It’s not a pill. It’s actually an exercise.

Here’s what you do. You sit down with your Bible, open it, and begin reading. Or you go for a walk and think about a verse you have memorized.

The psalmist wrote, “I lie in the dust, completely discouraged; revive me by your word” (119:25). Discouragement knocks us down — God’s Word picks us up. Discour­agement leaves us in the dark — God’s Word shines new light. Discouragement yanks us away from God and others — God’s Word helps us tighten relationships. The Bible is God’s way out of discouragement. It’s how God gets us up when we’re down.

TALK: How have you used the Bible to help you up when you’re down? What has it taught you?

PRAY: God, we want to listen to your words of encouragement when we’re discouraged. Thanks for giving us your Word.

ACT: When you get to know God’s encouraging Word, you’re better equipped to pass it on. Share a bit of God’s Word with a discouraged friend today.