“Will the Lord reject forever? Will he never show his favor again? Has his unfailing love vanished forever? Has his promise failed for all time? Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion?” Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?" Psalm 77:7-13
One of the signs of discouragement is a loss of perspective. Things in your headlights look bigger than they actually are and objects in your rearview mirror look better than they were. Perception often does become your reality and when you are seeing life as overwhelming it becomes overwhelming. As life overwhelms you it crushes the hope out of you giving rise to discouragement.
Another sign of discouragement is the use of exaggerations - “Will the Lord reject FOREVER?” – In your calmer moments you know better than that. But pain or problems can cause you to panic and lose your perspective. “Will he NEVER show his favor again?” Seriously, you know better. “Has his unfailing love vanished FOREVER?” Really? Uh, no! I think you get my point.
When you hear yourself or someone else using exaggerations like this, especially in regard to God, you should recognize that as a sign of panic. It is evidence of discouragement and a loss of perspective. If you don’t make an intentional effort to address the panic and regain perspective it will become a downward spiral feeding on itself. Unless it is confronted and dealt with it will descend into depression.
Should you recognize this panic and loss of perspective and you realize you are discouraged but can’t shake it by yourself, call a friend or your pastor. Like Aseph in this Psalm, the best way out of panic is to get perspective back. See how he gets a hold on his distorted view of reality and focuses on God – "Then I thought, “To this I will appeal: the years when the Most High stretched out his right hand. I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God?"
Big problems are put back into perspective when you regain your focus on a BIGGER GOD! His power and His presence will help you get back your perspective. Once you have your perspective back your panic will ceases and you hope will begin to return.
I have had this happen to me. I know about panic – even panic attacks. Losing perspective and plunging into discouragement in no fun. Thankfully, each time I have been able to regain my perspective, remember the goodness of my God and reconnect with Him!
Maybe you have to. Maybe you have lost your perspective and are overcome with panic. Perhaps you are there now. If so, this message is for you. Let me remind you to stop focusing on your big problems and start remembering you have a bigger God!