I know far too well just how often the adversary uses this tool. For the past 19 years, I have been doing a daily radio broadcast in India in my native language of Malayalam, a language spoken by 38 million people. In a given year, anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 letters are received from those who listen to the broadcast.

 

Nearly 75 percent of these letters consist of people sharing the difficulties they are facing, their agony, disillusionment and hopelessness. They write in requesting prayer for these things. Yet what is alarming is that on a daily basis, an average of 25 letters come with the news of someone contemplating suicide, yet the person will wait until hearing back from me before going through with it.

 

Of course, a response is quickly sent and our staff prays. By the grace of God, only one person who had written in has actually committed suicide; all the others responded to the help given them in Christ's name.

 

This epidemic of the soul is not just one found in India, but all over our world. Discouragement knows no boundaries, whether rich or poor, educated or illiterate. We as human beings, no matter what caste, creed, culture or nation we come from, all face struggles in life.

 

I remember when I first began to realize this. It was in Singapore in 1971, when I attended an international Christian leaders meeting. The guest speaker shared how he recently suffered from a mental breakdown and ended up in the hospital for treatment. When I heard that, I was shocked! I couldn't fathom it. I could not understand how a preacher, an ordained minister serving God, could have had a mental breakdown. It didn't fit into my theology at the time. But as I grew in the Lord, I came to realize that this was not an uncommon thing. Discouragement and depression happen to a lot of godly people.

 

No matter how high a mountaintopexperience we may have had, no matter how many revelations we may have received, no matter how many times the Lord has stepped in to rescue us before, we remain weak and fragile human beings.

 

No amount of gifting by the Holy Spirit or being baptized in the Holy Spirit, no amount of casting out demons or performing miracles, no amount of Bible knowledge or preaching will keep us from discouragement. It comes to the best of us.

 

Consider Jonah. Regarded as a prophet of God, he was sure to have heard God share some remarkable things with him. He experienced the Lord's grace and salvation from the belly of the fish. He saw how He lavished mercy rather than wrath upon the people of Nineveh. He saw God do incredible things in his day. Yet even after all of this, he became so discouraged that he prayed to die (see Jonah 4:3).