Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I've been thinking a lot lately about discouragement.
Maybe, because I've found myself discouraged. About an assortment of things.

It's kind of like a box of assorted gift cards.

There's cards for birthdays and anniversaries. Cards for weddings and new babies. There are get well cards in the box as well as sympathy cards.

Circumstances that have led to my discouragement have been a true assortment. I've had my pick.

This morning around 5:00, I woke up and remembered an allegory I read in the book, "The God of All Comfort" by Hannah Whithall Smith. The book was written in the 1800's.

She begins the allegory with a definition of discouragement.

"Just as courage is faith in good, so discouragement is faith in evil; and while courage opens the door to good, discouragement opens the door to evil."

The allegory:

"Once upon a time Satan, who desired to entrap a devoted Christian worker, called a council of his helpers to decide on the best way of doing it and to ask for volunteers. After the case had been explained, an imp offered himself to do the work.

"How will you do it?" asked Satan.

"Oh," replied the imp, "I will paint to him the delights and pleasures of a life of sin in such glowing colors that he will be eager to enter upon it."

"That will not do it," said Satan, shaking his head. "The man has tried sin, and he knows better. He knows it leads to misery and ruin, and he will not listen to you."

Then another imp offered himself, and again Satan asked, "What will you do to win the man over?"

"I will picture to him the trials and the self-denials of a righteous life, and will make him eager to escape from them."

"Ah, that will not do either," said Satan, "for he has tried righteousness, and he knows that its paths are paths of peace and happiness."

Then a third imp started up and declared that he was sure he could bring the man over.

"Why, what will you do," asked Satan, that you are so sure?"

"I will discourage his soul," replied the imp triumphantly.

"That will do, that will do," exclaimed Satan, "you will be successful. Go and bring back your victim."

Later on in the chapter she writes:

"The truth is that discouragement is really, in essence, a "speaking against God," for it necessarily implies some sort of failure on His part to come up to that which His promises have led us to expect of Him."

So how do we get rid of it? How do we walk away from discouragement when our circumstances are taunting us to give up. To complain against God?

"It is never worthwhile to argue against discouragement,
" Smith states. "There is only one argument that can meet it, and that is the argument of God."

She reminds the reader of David and what he did when he found himself in circumstances that were screaming out discouragement.

"He found his city burned, his wives stolen, when he and the men with him wept until they had no more power to weep; and when his men, exasperated at their misfortunes, spake of stoning him."

And then Smith gives us the " but..." I love it when, no matter how bad things seem, God reminds us that He has always gives us a "but..."

And that "but..." is always Him.

"But David encouraged himself in the Lord, his God. And the result was a magnificent victory, in which all that they had lost was more than restored to them.. This always will be, and always must be the result of courageous faith, because faith lays hold of the omnipotence of God."

So, now I know my argument.

My argument isn't in hoping my circumstances will change. My argument isn't in that tomorrow I'll feel better. My argument can't be in the hope that someone is going to come along, pat me on the back and encourage me. Nor in the idea that there is something that can get my mind off my circumstances. Like shopping, watching television, a trip to the beach, or picking up a new cause.

I've tried all that!

And it doesn't work.

My argument, for God, has to begin with remembering and asking myself the same question that David asked himself in Psalm 42:11.

"Why are you cast down, O my soul?
And why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
For I shall yet praise Him.
The help of my countenance and my God."


  1. I will read that again to make sure I grasp it. Thank you. Love you. MJN

  2. So very true. I love those verses. I've used them so often. LOVE YOU MaryLois