Have you ever been discouraged? Not just a little bit of discouragement, but an overwhelming bucket of cold water that seems to have an endless supply discouragement. This discouragement does not dissipate with a piece of chocolate or a word from a friend, rather it has you in its grasp and won’t seem to let you go. This is where I was a few days ago. I was on the verge of tears for a good portion of my day with an overwhelming feeling of discouragement. It started small the night before and when I awoke the next morning it plagued me. I was discouraged because I had spent many hours in prayer for people and did not see the results I had hoped for. I even felt like I was letting God down because I came to Him so often with requests rather than coming to Him with thanksgiving, praise, and worship. It’s not like I wasn’t doing these things, but rather I felt like the requests and intercession were the overwhelming part of my prayer time. I prayed that morning and laid my heart before the Lord. “I don’t want to come to You with just requests, I want to walk with You. I want to worship You. I want to praise You. I want to thank-You. I want it to be about relationship, not about me being so needy. I did not want to be like the child constantly tugging at her mom’s skirt as she walked through the store, “Mom, I want that.” I realize that I wasn’t asking for a new car or anything material, but I still felt like all I ever did was ask.
I am not sure why on this particular day the discouragement was overwhelming, but it was. It was weighty. God reminded me of “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12). I meditated often on this verse throughout the day and repeated often in my head, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood.” We are not in a battle with people, rather we are in a battle against spiritual wickedness. To be honest at times the battle is bigger than we are. If we take the time to read and understand Daniel 10, we can see that Daniel prayed for three weeks and all the while a spiritual battle was taking place unbeknownst to Daniel. Rather than give up or be discouraged, Daniel kept praying.
What is discouragement? John MacArthur gives this definition. “To discourage us he (Satan or his demons) points to our failures, our sins, our unresolved problems, our poor health, or to whatever else seems negative in our lives in order to make us lose confidence in the love and care of our heavenly Father.” That’s it! Satan reminds us of all the bad things, bad things caused by sin, so that we lose sight of what matters: our faith in Christ.
“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.” (Psalm 69:13).
In this Psalm, David penned some words that he used that can help us in our discouragement.
Whom do we pray to? God
When will God answer our prayer? At an acceptable time
How will He answer it? In the abundance of His steadfast love
That day wore on, and I told the Lord how much I needed Him. I was totally dependent on Him, and it seemed in that instant the discouragement was lifted. Again I was reminded, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood.” (Ephesians 6:12).
Psalm 69 is a plea to God. David is pouring out his heart before God, asking God to answer his prayer. In the midst of discouragement, when it is overwhelming us, where do we turn? Who are we dependent on? When we fight a spiritual battle, to whom do we go to fight with us? When it seems like our prayers should be answered the way we want in our timing, rather than get discouraged we must remember that God’s ways are higher than our ways. “But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord, at an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love…” (Psalm 69:13).
(Last Wednesday (2/22/17) was the day I felt this overwhelming discouragement. I posted my blog that day about walking with God. I did not feel I had written it well nor did I feel like I had conveyed what I wanted to convey. This was not at all the source of my discouragement, but it was part of my encouragement. I also wondered if the the discouragement, the spiritual battle, was because I vocalized in this blog how important it is to walk with our Lord each day. I went to the Lord throughout the day, praying to Him and seeking His face to lift the discouragement. I was overwhelmed by the positive comments I received from those that had read the blog. God reminded me again that it’s not about me, but it is about Him receiving the glory and me walking by faith. We need God, and we must humbly admit how much we need Him. Great is His faithful and abounding love for us!)