Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Psalm 43:5
Everyone faces discouragement at one time or another, even Christians. The psalmist David was a proven warrior. At one occasion, he claims that the Lord is the strength of his life, Of whom shall I be afraid (Psalm 27:1) and shortly after he cries out, I shall one day perish by the hand of Saul (I Samuel 27:1). Elijah withstood hundreds of the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and the next day he flees into the wilderness because of the threat of a wicked woman.
When discouragement comes, it is important to deal with it immediately. As a Christian discouragement is not something that should be on parade before others. Not only does it harm your testimony but it could also be harmful to another brother or sister in Christ. We must recognize that many people around us are dealing with tough battles and need the encouragement of others in the body of Christ.
With our fast-paced living, it is very easy to allow the things of the earth to capture our minds to the point that the values of eternity become blurred. That opens the door for discouragement. When discouragement surfaces in your life, there are a number of matters that you need to recognize:
1. Like the psalmist, it is good to examine yourself to discover the cause of discouragement. Why am I cast down? You may discover that you are not truly trusting the Lord in the matter. It is easy to lose control of yourself when depression comes. Discovering the real issues involved will help in gaining self-control in the midst of the problem.
2. Discouragement is largely a problem of the mind. The resolve is to change your thinking. You must choose to meditate on God’s truths to change your mindset (Philippians 4:8). Meditate on those things that are:
A. True – that which is real, genuine and not imagined.
B. Honest – that which is good and noble.
C. Just – that which is righteous.
D. Pure – that which is clean, chaste and perfect.
E. Lovely – that which is pleasing. Ask yourself, Will this thinking please God?
F. Good Report – that which is reputable.
3. God is there. God reminds us in His Word: I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5). The two disciples on the road to Emmaus were depressed because of disappointment. There was an incredible resolve in their demeanor when Christ was in their midst (Luke 24:13-35).
4. God knows where you are, what your circumstances are and is praying for you (Matthew 14:22-27). The disciples thought they were going to drown in the sea while Jesus, recognizing their plight, was praying for them.
5. God’s timing is always perfect (Matthew 14:25-27). Just about the time the disciples thought they would all perish, Jesus came to them and calmed the storm. He is just as capable to calm storms in our lives as well. Mary thought Christ’s arrival was too late since Lazarus had already died (John 11). Just as the Lord had another plan for Lazarus and his sisters, so the Lord often has other plans in mind in our lives as well and His timing is indeed always perfect.
6. God delights to do the impossible when we are delighting in Him (Psalm 37:4; Matthew 17:20).
7. God genuinely cares for us and is concerned about your circumstances. When the Lord saw the needs of the people, He was moved with compassion (Matthew 9:36; 14:14; Mark 1:41).
8. God’s power to see to our needs is unlimited (Matthew 14:19-21; John 11:25-26, 43-44).
The cure for discouragement is in one word – FAITH. David finally arrived at this conclusion in Psalm 43:5 – Hope in God: for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the health of my countenance and my God. It is always best looking toward the future instead of the past. God not only knows our past, He also knows the future. He always knows what is best for you and is able to both guard and guide you as you trust Him. He is far greater than your feelings.
Helen H. Lemmel sums it all up nicely with these words: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.
George Stiekes held successful pastorates in churches in Michigan and Washington among other places. He currently resides in North Carolina and blogs at Reverent Reflections. We recommend his ministry and republish his material by permission.