"I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint." Psalm 77:1-3
This week begins the fourth week of my "Summer in the Psalms" series of messages. I will be camping out in Psalm 77 all week. This Psalm is timely and insightful because it shows how to battle discouragement.
Christians are not immune from discouragement and may, in fact, be prone to discouragement for several reasons:
1) We tend to care more than other people
2) We tend to care more about other people
3) We have intimate knowledge of a God Who has the power to "fix things" but sometimes doesn't
4) We are under constant attack from the Enemy who continually attempts to discourage us
5) Faith is a journey that doesn't have clear mile markers and progress can be hard to measure
6) There is a constant dynamic tension between the work of grace God has accomplished in our lives and the awareness of how much more growth needs to happen - this "holy dissatisfaction" is necessary but hard to manage.
7) We are called to accomplish a task that is never completed and often overwhelming
8) We hold ourselves and our leaders to a high standard and therefore, are often disappointed
I could go on, but I think you get the picture!
Psalm 77 is a Psalm of Aseph. Who was Aspeh?
Aseph was one of the three musicians who worked for and with King David. He and his cohorts were responsible for developing inspiring worship to maintain the spiritual climate of God's nation and His people.
Sort of a big job, eh?
If Christians are prone to discouragement (and they are) how much more so for the "point people" who serve on the front lines of ministry?
Discouragement not properly handled will lead to despression. Over the seens I have seen many good and effective ministry people knocked out of the game by perpetual discouragement that morphed into depression.
Before I depress you with these thoughts, let me get to the good news! Aseph discovered how to work through discouragement before it became depression.
Read and meditate on Psalm 77 and see if you can find out how he did it. See what the Spirit says to you.
That is what I will be sharing throughout this week in my preparation for Sunday's message. But here's a hint - devotion has to trump emotion.
Be encouraged today!