I have a friend that I’ve known for 20-something years, and he had an amazing ministry. It was growing rapidly. He bought an office building and was adding on to that. People were coming to Christ. He had open doors to preach around the country.
Around this time, some of his prayers seemingly began to go unanswered. He was hoping for certain things to take place in his ministry, and they didn’t. After that, he and his team started having some difficulties. His newsletter following was dropping off, and then the giving for his evangelistic association began to dwindle. He was receiving fewer and fewer invitations to speak around the country.

Instead of saying “God, you build up, and you tear down. It’s your ministry, whatever you would have for it”, he started to become bitter. Every time I would meet with him for lunch, I could see this shift in him.

Eventually, my friend left the ministry altogether, and he left it beaten, discouraged and hurt. He tried to mask it with humor, but he had become so cynical that it was difficult to be around him. He’d moved from believing God would do great things to almost believing in nothing from God anymore. He’s not the only one, though. To varying degrees, many of us have allowed disappointment and cynicism to creep up in our heart.

That bright fire of belief that we once held in our heart has been diminished. The confidence in a God who moves mightily and can raise you up has been weakened. We must remember what Jesus promised us, “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33, ESV).

When we are beaten down and feel a seed of cynicism taking root, we should turn to this verse: “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We must not allow bitterness against God to choke his plan in our lives. We must remember his promises and encourage one another to never give up.