One day, the Devil laid out his gleaming, razor-edged tools upon a worn and ancient wooden table. He announced a "fire" sale and carefully marked the price upon each tool:
ANGER: $100, RESENTMENT: $400, HATRED: $600, etc.
Each tool sold almost as quickly as it was placed upon the table. Toward the end of the day, a crooked old man in tattered rags approached. The man eyed the tools that remained, but was taken by a certain tool at the end of the table. The tool resembled the two long and bowed fangs of a viper. Its chrome-like pointy tusks caught the sun and sent flashes of blinding light everywhere. With one hand, the old man blocked his eyes from the glare and with the other, he reached for the tool. As he grabbed hold, the tool's steely, needle tips nearly pierced his hand. This seemed to please the old man. He snatched up the tool and held it to his chest. With a glint in his eye, the man asked the Devil, “How much for this one?”
“I’m sorry, that tool isn’t for sale,” the Devil replied.
Without hesitation, the man said, “But I’ll pay double.”
The Devil narrowed his eyes and hissed, “Sir, I’ve told you, that tool is not for sale, nor will I ever sell it. It is the most useful tool I own and without it, I wouldn't be half as effective in my work. With that tool alone, I can accomplish my every task. Now good day, sir.”
Dejected, the man looked once more at the shiny tool, then slowly placed it on the table. With almost a whisper, he said to the Devil, "If I can't buy it, would you, at least tell me its name?"
A slow and wicked grin grew across the Devil's face. "Of course, old man, its name is... Discouragement."
Perplexed, the old man wondered out loud , “Why is this tool so important to you?”
The devil responded, “It’s more useful to me than any of the others. When I can’t bring down my victims with the rest of my tools, I use discouragement, because so few people realize it belongs to me. Nothing paralyzes a person, nothing stops someone in their tracks like discouragement and hopelessness. Discouragement and hopelessness are no respecters of persons. They keep the unemployed unemployed. The homeless homeless. The sick sick. They can even draw the most powerful ministry to its knees. When overcome with discouragement and hopelessness, the person can’t pray, they can’t worship and they become a victim of their environment. Discouragement and hopelessness drains their victims of courage, vision, faith, expectation and the will to make a difference in the kingdom of God . If I can get you discouraged and hopeless, then I have successfully neutralized you. You are left with only enough energy to feel sorry for yourself.”
Many men and women embark on the journey toward God and salvation. It is something exciting or something new, a new form of energy, boldness and desire to pursue that which our hearts long for. However, as the journey ensues, many run out of steam, and eventually give up. Trials and difficulties plague our every step in our attempt to climb the Mountain of God.
In times of discouragement, we need to be reminded to keep holding onto the courage we began with, irrespective of the obstacles and challenges that may cloud our paths. We are 'Saints in the Making', clay pots still being molded, and for those who persevere till the end, the reward of Heaven awaits them.
"We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed."
2nd Corinthians 4: 8-9
"So do not lose the courage you had in the past, which has great reward. You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what He has promised."
Hebrews 10: 35-36
"Don't let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust in me."