DEALING WITH DISCOURAGEMENT
Even though I have dealt with people all over the world since late 1968, lately I have been wearied by my sister’s continual requests for medical help (anything ranging from “diagnosis please” to Band-Aids). They ask for pain tablets, powder for heat or other rashes, creams for fungus, milk or vitamins for heat boils—all this from every one of them–so much so that I finally told one sister I wouldn’t/couldn’t deal with her mother’s painful leg when I had no way of knowing what actually happened. I was beginning to feel smothered—mainly because it seems I can never just have a normal conversation with anyone anymore.
Last Sunday night, after our evening services, I simply disappeared and went back to the apartment, and of course one younger lady knocked on my door to ask to come in to talk. I was kind about it, but I told her no. About half an hour later, after I had rested a bit, two others came just to chat a while. That was refreshing. They did not want me to do anything, other than listen to their report of what they had been doing the past week.
The very next day in my evening English class, I was trying to help the few ladies who come for extra practice to know how to study the assigned Scripture reading so they will not just call words they don’t understand.
The reading happened to be Deuteronomy 1:9-15. At the time it didn’t dawn on me to think of the class exercise as an answer to prayer, but later I realized it was. I started by asking the ladies to read the passage to me in their own language first and then asked them some questions to help them understand what it was about.
Who is speaking? How do you find that information? To whom is he speaking? What is the problem? What was the solution? How many men were chosen to be judges or overseers? How did God bless these men to be able to do the work?
I helped the sisters to conjure a picture in their minds of what it might be like to judge more than a million people from morning to evening—day-in-and-day-out. Some would take Moses’ advice (judgment or command) and some might not, yet they required Moses’ time to ask.
Then I asked them who had suggested to Moses that his job was too great to endure. They all smiled when I reminded them it was his father-in-law, Jethro, (Exo. 18:13-24). I showed them how to look for Jethro’s name in computer search engines and where to read more about him. Only a few have smart phones, and even fewer have computers, but they could see how I searched on the class computer. They could read the passages I pointed out. They could answer the questions.
I used my Bible Soft program to search some related passages, showing how that Moses had been a prophet and a judge for God’s people since they left Egypt, but after forty+ years he grew weary of their continual coming. He even dared to ask God if he had given birth to the Israelites and had carried them in his womb. That was discouragement at its height. I asked them if we sometimes discourage each other like Jethro and the people had discouraged Moses. In my own mind, I wondered if I could truly be used, and yes, even abused at times without complaining. Do I take my problems to God, or do I murmur like the Israelite people did? Maybe this was a lesson to help me not to be discouraged with “their continual coming.”