“O love the Lord, all you His saints—for the Lord preserves the faithful and plentifully rewards the proud doer.  Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the Lord.”

Psalm 31:23-24

They always travel together and love to visit our house; but, they won’t stay too long when we let Him answer the door.

Discouragement.  Disappointment.  Disillusionment.  Depression.  Despair.

What a miserable band they are, infecting others with their downward, dampening ways if given the slightest opportunity.  Although posing as visitors when they enter the door, they soon take the owner hostage and begin tormenting him/her with their hellish hoots and howls.

“Don’t you know there’s no hope.  Give up.”

“Can’t you see that others don’t care?  You’re in this thing all alone.  What’s the use of trying?”

“Yea, even God—if there is one—has forsaken you.  You’ve done too many things wrong and He’s given up on you.  Go ahead; throw in the towel and quit fooling yourself.  You’re never going to change.”

Such is the mission of these “miserable comforters” (Job 16:2).

And, if we listen to them. . .forgetting who we are and Whose we are in Christ. . .it won’t be long before we’ll pose no threat to the enemy, whose goal in life is to “steal, kill and destroy” anything and anyone whom He loves (Jn. 10:10a).

But, oh, dear Pilgrim, it need not be that way.  A thousand times no!

David—a “man after God’s own heart” (I Sam. 13:14)—had “bipolar faith” just like we do.  One moment he’s killing a lion and a bear with his bare hands and slaying a giant with a slingshot and the next minute he’s feeling forsaken by God (Ps. 22:1) and forgotten by friends (Ps. 31:12; 142:4).

Yet, during those desperate times he knew the importance of “being of good courage” and trusting the Lord.  He knew the God of Abraham “preserves (Heb. ‘natsar’—‘to guard, protect, maintain, keep watch over, etc.’) the faithful” and will “make His Face to shine upon His servant” (Ps. 31:16).

The key is to remember Who He is and what He’s promised (Heb. 11:6; Ps. 31:3, 19-20).  And, in spite of everything we must remember to “commit (Heb. ‘paqad’—‘entrust, deposit, hand over to, deliver, release to, etc.’) our spirit into His Hand” (Ps. 31:5).  That way we can know “our times are in His Hand” (v.15a) and He will “deliver us from the hand of our enemies” (v.15b) and “hide us in the secret of His Presence from the pride of men” (v.20).

Never forget, weary one, that disappointments are His-appointments and times of discouragement are opportunities for His-courage.  Surrender your life to Him anew today and then trust Him to guide and strengthen you as He has promised (Prov. 3:5-6; Is. 40:31; II Cor. 12:9-10).

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 29, 2010

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