RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

Read of God’s work, and do God’s work

If you are discouraged by your situation, feel depressed or frustrated, do two things and you will find relief:

Firstly, seek God’s help, in these six ways:

(a) Read the following verses of the Quran with a faith in God’s power and His promises: “SAY [Thus speaks God] ‘O you servants of Mine who have transgressed against your own selves! Despair not of God’s mercy: behold, God forgives all sins — for, verily, He alone is much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!’ (39:53). “GOD IS HE save whom there is no deity: The One who knows all that is beyond the reach of a created being’s perception, as well as all that can be witnessed by a creature’s senses or mind: He, the Most Gracious, the Dispenser of Grace. God is He save whom there is no deity: The Sovereign Supreme, the Holy, the One with whom all salvation rests, the Giver of Faith, the One who determines what is true and false, the Almighty, the One who subdues wrong and restores right, the One to whom all greatness belongs! He is God, the Creator, the Maker who shapes all forms and appearances! His [alone] are the attributes of perfection” (59:22-24).

(b) Do some charity work.

(c) Remember those who are deprived of the blessings that you are enjoying.

(d) Visit a sick person.

(e) Stop by a cemetery.

(f) Thank God for His numberless blessings.

Secondly, consult an expert in the area causing you problems, such as finances, medical, social or family-related issues.

— Muhammad Haq, Anniston Islamic Center

Meditate on scriptures, seek out encouragers

What often leads us to a place where we feel discouraged? Is it the feeling that nothing we try to do works? Is it the feeling that no matter how hard we try, we just cannot do enough? Is it the notion that all of our work is in vain, and that whatever triumphs we experience today will be easily forgotten tomorrow? Whatever the cause, the feeling of discouragement can be one that is difficult to overcome.

As a minister, I want to say that the best way to overcome discouragement is to meditate on the scriptures, on passages like Psalm 55:22, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you,” or Isaiah 40:31, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint,” or Romans 8:28, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

While it is good to meditate on scripture and allow the depth of its truths to wash over you, sometimes we require some encouragement with “skin on it.”

Therefore, I would say to those faithful folks who are feeling downtrodden and discouraged, seek out those in your life who are able to see that which we are so often blind to see in ourselves. That is to say, seek out those folks who are always there to encourage you, those who are able to see the good in your labors, the good in your hard work—even when you yourself fail to see it. They will be the ones who embody the truth found in those words from scripture, and they will be the ones who carry you through.

— Chris Thomas, First Baptist Church of Williams, Jacksonville