It can be easier to start something than to finish it and is easier to get in to something than get out.

It can be easier to get into debt than get out of debt and easier to make a commitment than to keep that commitment.

It is easier to fill your diary than fulfil your schedule.

Discouragement is a real enemy. God works upon us and with us to make us more like Jesus, but there can be lingering and persistent discouragements.

Discouragement is common and powerful

Discouragement is universal, in as much as it confronts everybody. It can be deadly. It keeps recurring.

Turn to Nehemiah Chapter 4 - The background is the rebuilding of the walls of the city of Jerusalem, after having been seventy years in Babylon – in modern day Iraq – in Exile. The people of Israel needed to rebuild the walls for protection.

The workers soon became discouraged when they got the wall half way up, as they faced sarcasm – derision – invective – these are weapons to discourage God’s people. Do you ever face this type of thing?

Nehemiah poured out his heart to God in prayer – you have to be a special type of person to pray as Nehemiah did.

What might cause discouragement? That can arise when something takes longer than expected.

We can become tired or run out of energy. We become more vulnerable when we are tired. When you are half way through any piece of work, such thoughts can creep in.

Nehemiah Chapter 4 verse 10 - “They said ‘We’re tired and worn out. We can’t keep up this pace!” Our best requires rest.

Deuteronomy 25 verse 18 – “Never forget how the Amalekites . . . attacked you when you were exhausted and weary, and they struck down those who began to lag behind . . .” Is this beginning to speak to you?

When the task is more complicated than expected and when it takes longer than initially expected - that can cause frustration and discouragement.

Nehemiah 4 verse 10 – “Besides that, there is so much rubble and trash to be removed!” Imagine trying to move around with all that rubble lying around.

Yet – rubble is part of life. We can be fatigued by the work – and frustrated be what we see – but if we do not deal with the rubble, it can multiply.

We have to clean it out periodically. If we do not deal with it, it can eventually take over.

We do not always recognise rubble in our lives, but other people do.

The rubble is the stuff that keeps tripping us up – and it can be an attitude – a habit – something that wastes our time and energy.

We need to tell God about the rubble and rubbish and ask God to help us clean up what needs to be cleaned up.

“Come, Lord, and show me your mercy, for I feel helpless, overwhelmed, and in deep distress.” Psalm 25 verse 16

No. Do not give up. Never give up.

As we approach that season when we remember and recall how God sent Jesus Christ into the world – and gave Jesus to be our Saviour – our Passover Lamb – we give thanks that God did not give up on us, but drew near in mercy and love, offering forgiveness – so, let us not give up on God, and let us not give up on people.

No matter what situation you are in – know that God will never give up on you.

“Loving Father – we thank You that You are our loving Father – a Father who never gives up – a Father who remains faithful and loyal and gracious. Thank You for Jesus. Help us to be obedient and faithful to Christ and His Word – and so serve those around us, whatever their need. Lord Jesus, hear our prayer. Amen.