Discouragement dial – turned up

By Dave Henning / September 19, 2023

“Discouragement is not an object.  It’s not something you can see or touch.  It doesn’t have weight or mass, but that doesn’t stop it from holding you back and weighing you down. . . .  Your discouragement dial really gets turned up when you don’t have any control over the situation.”- Kyle Idleman

“[Elkanah] had two wives; one was called Hannah and the other Peninnah.  Peninnah had children, but Hannah had none.”- 1 Samuel 1:2 (NIV)

In Chapter 3 (“I Wasn’t Expecting It to Be Like This: The Discouragement Dial”) of When Your Way Isn’t Working, Kyle Idleman observes that we only get a few chapters into this life before we start to realize how little control we actually possess.  We start off thinking our stories will unfold in a certain way.  But our stories never go as planned.  That’s when discouragement sets in.

We meet Hannah, one of Elkanah’s two wives, in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel.  Due to infertility, Hannah found herself unable to conceive.  And her inability to do anything about it turned up her discouragement dial.  As a result, discouragement compounded her problem.

Especially since, in Hannah’s context, a woman’s primary purpose centered on bearing children.  In addition, society at that time felt no compassion for women like Hannah.  Above all, society looked down on women unable to bear children.  Even considered such women cursed by God.  Hence, Pastor Idleman explains:

“When life isn’t working the way you hoped it would, discouragement sets in and you almost immediately begin blaming God.  Discouragement will try to convince you that what you’re dealing with is God’s fault and that you can only conclude he is against you.”

In conclusion, Pastor Idleman believes it’s likely that Elkanah married Peninnah after Hannah was unable to bear children.  Thus, when things failed to go his way, Elkanah took matters into his own hands and added a second wife.  So, at this point, he chose more than planning things his way.  Instead, Elkanah did things the anti-God way.

Today’s question: What things turn up your discouragement dial?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Compartmentalize discouragement?”

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Dave Henning

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