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What discourages you?

There seems to be no end to the reasons that may dishearten us. Let’s take a look at how the Psalmist dealt with his discouragement. Psalms 42 and 43 are companion Psalms and they reveal a strategy to deal with despair. If you are currently in a season of discouragement you may find relief as you follow the example of the the Psalmist. Three times in these Psalms he expressed his frustration, but more importantly, the solution to his despair,

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, for the help of His presence. – Psalm 42:5

Sometimes we’re unsure of the reasons why we’re in despair. The Psalmist postulated several reasons, but he couldn’t identify the specific reason so he cried out to God, “Why are you in despair, O my soul?” You may feel that way at times – you’re not alone. This feeling of unsettledness can be quite disconcerting. The Psalmist not only expressed his despair, but he gave himself helpful advice – he needed to focus on God. He needed to remember that weeping may last for the night, but joy would come in the morning (Psalm 30:5). As the Psalmist shifted his focus from his problems to God’s faithfulness, his attitude began to change,

O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill and to Your dwelling places. – Psalm 43:3

He realized that the way to overcome his discouragement was to worship God. It’s true that praise breaks the back of the mood monster,

Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy; and upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God. – Psalm 43:4

As he evaluated his condition, he again found hope in God,

Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why are you disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God. – Psalm 43:5

Hope is the anchor of the soul that can keep us from discouragement in the storms of life. This Hebrew word for hope means to wait and it implies a confident expectation or trust. Job demonstrated his faith in God in the midst of severe trials,

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him. – Job 13:15

If there is no hope in the future, then there is no power in the present. What is a situation you’re facing in which you’re losing hope? The object of your focus will affect your emotional state. Man’s ways lead to a hopeless end, whereas God’s ways lead to endless hope. When you focus on God, you discover that there are no hopeless situations – only people who have grown hopeless about them.

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