Discouragement comes when we lose our motivation to keep on going. This can happen when we focus on the mountain in front of us and think it is too steep to climb. It can happen when we are in the valley and it is too dark for us to see our way out. It can happen when the battle has gone on for a long time and we just feel like we can’t go on. In looking for encouragement in the Scriptures, the first place many turn is to the book of Psalms. “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.” (Psalm 23:1-6 KJV) God is the loving Shepherd. We are His sheep and we can look to Him with confidence to lead us, guide us and protect us. Even when we are climbing that steep mountain, in the deep valley or the battles just keep coming, God is with us. God may not change the situation but He has promised to remain with us throughout the bad times. When those bad times come we need to take refuge in the One who can help us. “But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.” (Psalm 5:11 KJV) We experience joy in God’s presence. When we put our complete trust in God we will be content with whatever God allows in our lives. “I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:7-11 KJV) What are your eyes focused on? Christians should always focus on the Lord and then we will be able to rejoice even in times of trouble. Re-read Psalm 23 and know that God takes care of His sheep.