A Cure for Discouragement
“Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God.” (Psalm 38:15 NIV)
The Psalmist David is discouraged. He’s in a lot of trouble because of people, because of the enemy, and because of his sin. He will not remain discouraged forever, however, because in the midst of his complaint, he expresses his faith in God: “Lord, I wait for you; you will answer!” Can we do the same?
Notice that David confesses his sin (verse 18), thus keeping short accounts with God to ensure that the channel of blessing from the Lord is not blocked; for the Bible says that if we regard iniquity in our hearts, the Lord will not hear (Psalm 66:18). Today we have even more liberty to run to God when we have failed, for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross once and for all time did away with the continual animal sacrifices that were necessary to atone for sin in David’s day. Moreover, we have the great promise in the New Testament that if we confess our sins, the Lord will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So David lays out his complaint, telling the Lord all that he is facing. Contrast this with what we sometimes do when we tell our problems to everyone else but the Lord, or only resort to prayer after we have worn ourselves out with worry and the resulting sleepless nights. A sure antidote to getting discouraged is not only to tell the Lord our problems, but to then ask him for help as well! David said, “Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.” And we know the Lord heard him, because the Bible says that his ear is attentive to our cry (Psalm 34:15). Further, in the New Testament, the apostle Peter exhorts us to cast our cares upon the Lord because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).
The Lord said that in this world we would have tribulation, so it should come as no surprise when we face trials of many kinds. Of course, this can end up in disappointment for the believer. Haven’t we all been there—feeling down and negative? The thing is that we can’t stay there, wallowing in discouragement and self-pity. In fact, we can’t really serve God effectively from a place of prolonged discouragement. It doesn’t work.
We have to take heart and be strong in the Lord by dealing with unconfessed sin, telling the Lord what we’re facing, asking him to help us, and then waiting in faith for him to answer. We have to pray, “Lord, I’m taking my eyes off the problem and putting them on you. You are able to bring me through this, Lord!”
Hasn’t he brought us through in the past? He is able to do it again!
Read Psalm 38.