In my distress I called upon the Lord. (Psalm 18:6)
Of all the attacks of the evil one, discouragement is one of the most insidious and deadly, for it kills the joy of the Lord, which is our strength. Discouragement may not seem like a big deal compared to so many of the other fiery darts the devil aims at us, but what starts as an infection winds up a disease that weakens our faith and wrecks our witness.
Discouragement is the result of refusing to let God be God and rejecting His plan and purpose for our lives. Here is the best way I know how to explain it: Satan’s sentry Discouragement knows it can do nothing to separate us from Jesus as Savior, but it can surely loosen our grip on Jesus as Lord. Discouragement is unearthed out of unmet expectations. We anticipate one thing, but our Lord delivers to us another. We expect to be received by others, but instead we are rejected. We expect a measure of success, but instead we suffer a setback. We expect the work of our hands to be appreciated, but instead it isn’t even acknowledged.
Do you think Joseph expected to spend years in an Egyptian prison on his way to the palace? Do you think Moses expected to spend 40 years on the back side of the desert before becoming the deliverer of God’s people? Do you think Mary expected to become pregnant as a virgin in order to deliver the baby Jesus to the world? Unmet expectations are simply a result of refusing to live according to God’s timetable for our lives. Only God knows what we need and when we need it, and He has promised to meet all of our needs in the glorious riches of Christ Jesus.
How is it with you lately? Have you been doing battle against Satan’s sentry Discouragement? Here is the best way to conquer this attack from the evil one: Return to Romans 8:28 and hold fast to the truth that God is working all things for your ultimate good in His perfect timing and in His excellent way . . . not yours. Has God not earned your trust, even when you cannot trace Him? Has He not proved faithful in the past, having plowed the painful path to yield an abundant harvest?
Remember this, and recall the words of the psalmist, “In my distress I called upon the Lord . . . [and] He heard my voice. . . . He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me” (Psalm 18:6, 19). Don’t let Discouragement drag you down; trust in the Lord who delights in you!
This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN