Summary: A sermon examining the proper way to deal with discouragement.
How To Deal With Discouragement
Former heavy-weight boxer James (Quick) Tillis is a cowboy from Oklahoma who fought out of Chicago in the early 1980s. He still remembers his first day in the Windy City after his arrival from Tulsa. "I got off the bus with two cardboard suitcases under by arms in downtown Chicago and stopped in front of the Sears Tower. I put my suitcases down, and I looked up at the Tower and I said to myself, 'I'm going to conquer Chicago.' "When I looked down, the suitcases were gone." (Source: Today in the Word, September 10, 1992.)
Needless to say, his enthusiasm quickly turned to discouragement. Discouragement is defined as "a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness."
A man by the name of William Ward goes a little further in his definition of discouragement. He says Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God. (Source) William Ward. Today in the Word, April, 1989, p. 18.
Our selected text records the actions of a man who had immense trust in the Father in the midst of discouragement. David says in verse 2 "when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." =- The King does not go into detail as to what he is enduring but many believe that this was written when he was fleeing from his own son Absalom. I can't imagine the discouragement that he faced during that period of his life. David had been separated from his son for several years. Now his very life is in danger because of his rebellious son. Absalom has stolen the hearts of Israel and robbed his father of his throne. Now David has fled his Kingdom, his people and his own son. Truly, this was a time of discouragement for the King.
We often find ourselves in similar situations. You may be enduring great difficulty as we speak. If so I would like to show you that it is possible to endure those times of immense discouragement.
For many, discouragement prompts them to give up and quit on God. This is a common temptation when trouble comes. Though quitting may be the easy thing to do, it is never the right thing to do! Let's examine this psalm and see "How To Deal With Discouragement”. In order to "Deal With Discouragement" we must:
I. Respect The Lord’s Position - v1 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. 2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
David says “from the end of the earth I cry to you God”. - It seems that the King feels that God is a million miles away. Not only does he feel God is far from Him, as a result of this his "heart was overwhelmed". In the Hebrew "Overwhelmed" literally means to shroud. This term has the idea of being clothed in darkness. David was facing a time of loneliness and darkness in his life. Though for a brief moment it may have seemed that God was a million miles away, David remembered where he should go in a time like this. He took his burdens to the Father.
Remember, David was a man of great power. He was the chosen King of Israel. But in his time of distress, he was humble enough to go to the Lord for help. Do you know what it is like to feel like God is a million miles away? Do you ever feel helpless and alone? Do you ever question if God even hears your prayers? Of course you do! From time to time we all go through periods where we are overwhelmed....We face days when it seems that a dark cloud is hanging over your head. How should you respond in these times? We must respond the same way David did. Turn to the Lord, Trust in the Lord and Tell it to the Lord!
- Remember what Isaiah said in - Isaiah 25:1 ¶O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth.
Our God is faithful and true and we can trust Him in times of great discouragement! Notice that, David goes on to say “lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” - David was a great man of God, In fact he was a man after God’s own heart. But he knew there was one who was higher than he was. We must comprehend the fact that we can’t overcome discouragement on our own. We must go to THE ROCK! We must RESPECT THE LORD”S POSITION!