“Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again- my Savior and my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you… But each day the LORD pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.” (Psalm 42:5,8)
The Psalmist had every reason to be discouraged. His faith was being attacked by his enemies, he was suffering physically, and he was not in Jerusalem where he longed to worship God.
There are many reasons for discouragement today. Hatred is surfacing everywhere. Politically, our nation seems split between party lines and each party is unwilling to work with the other to accomplish anything. There are health issues, money issues, relationship conflicts, work stress and unfulfilled desires and dreams. The list goes on and on. We each have our own circumstances that drain our positive outlook on life.
In my last blog, I related that focusing on God’s promises for my future really helps me. But there are other ways to fight discouragement. The Psalmist tells us how he takes courage. The Psalmist described his miseries and why he was discouraged, but he also remembered what he needed to do in response. He focused on God and his unfailing love. He chose to put his hope in God. He remembered God and his character. He sang his songs in the night, songs of praise.
My biggest take away from this Psalm? I have a choice. I can focus on the depressing stuff or I can focus on God and his character. I can focus on God’s promises. I can focus on my new Identity in Christ.
Shifting my mind to God and the truth is not easy. It is a battle! My mind habitually zeros in on all that is wrong. I begin to feel sorry for myself. I am robbed of joy. As my thoughts continue down that road, I experience depressing feelings that tempt me to quit……to quit believing God’s character because he doesn’t change my circumstances. I stop trying to do anything except make myself feel better. I become self-focused.
What we think about is so important, not because it make us feel better, but because in doing so we are fighting the powers of darkness. Discouragement is one of Satan’s biggest tools to weaken our faith. If he can discourage us enough, we might give up the good fight. This renders us harmless in the battle, and Satan scores a victory.
I don’t know about you, but I do not want Satan to win in my life. I want to fight him with everything I have. And fortunately, I have the Holy Spirit living in me to equip me for battle. When I am blue, I have to remember. When I am blue, I must choose to pray for help to change my focus. I need to pray for a passage or verse to give me hope.
When I have hope despite my unpleasant circumstances, I win against Satan. I am a witness for Christ. I am a light in the darkness. I bring God to glory. Let’s fight the battle together and choose to remember God, his character, and his promises when life presents us with discouraging situations. Let’s remember what the gospel has done for us