I am so discouraged I have nothing to say.
Sometimes, life has surprise attacks that leave us scrambling after the hope we just recently declared. At other times, it’s a slow drain caused by an infrequent connection with the Source of hope combined with a continual fixation on the things that drag us down. Whatever the case, how can one speak of hope when we’re scraping the bottom of the well, when it feels like the words have dried up and there’s nothing left to say?
David, the author of the book of Psalms, was a man known to voice his discouragements, even while being aware of his ultimate source of hope. In Psalms 22:1, he pours out his heart with, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” (ESV)
Why is the book of Psalms one of the first books we open when we feel down and discouraged? It’s because we feel a common bond with David as he puts his pain into words. His laments comfort and encourage us because if a man after God's own heart could pour out his doubts and fears to the Lord most high, then maybe it’s okay if we do as well.
At other times, it’s a slow drain caused
by an infrequent connection
with the Source of hope, combined
with a continual fixation on the things
that drag us down
As I am comforted by David’s cry and encouraged by his deep understanding of God's care despite his despair, I get a sense of how I could encourage others through my times of struggle.
My struggle isn’t only meant to strengthen my faith. As David’s words give us courage, our words can give readers renewed strength to continue amidst their own struggles. Sharing our struggles can help others feel seen and understood. We don’t need resolutions before we can begin sharing our story. We can speak of our times of hopelessness, reminding ourselves and others where we turn for renewed hope and peace. We may not be closer to understanding, but even in the unknown, we can be assured of God’s continued faithfulness through generations to come.
So let’s not be afraid to tell our story in the middle of our struggle, in the middle of our discouragement and questions. And as Psalm 23 comes after Psalms 22, we can point to the Shepherd who will “restore our souls even in the valleys.”
As we pour out our pain to God, we will find, like David, that we return to the Source of our comfort and hope.
What do you do
when all the encouragement
all the verses of hope
sprinkled eloquently on the page,
at the foot of your bed
where sleep evades
for the fears that come,
the mistakes you’ve made,
the wrongs you spoke,
the doubts that swirl
You’re a fake,
you’re a hypocrite.
But God will not despise
my broken and contrite heart.
He gives fresh mercy
He will yet renew hope.
The promises are not lies,
for I know who speaks lies,
It is not the Giver of Life,
but the enemy of my soul,
to give up.
Create a clean heart in me,
Do not cast me from your presence.
Restore to me the joy
of your salvation.
Give me a steadfast spirit that
trusts that You are always
Mary Folkerts is mom to four kids and wife to a farmer, living on the southern prairies of Alberta, where the skies are large and the sunsets stunning. She is a Proverbs 31 ministries COMPEL Writers Training member and is involved in church ministries and music. Mary’s personal blog aims to encourage and inspire women and advocate for those with Down Syndrome, as their youngest child introduced them to this extraordinary new world. For more inspiration, check out Joy in the Small Things https://maryfolkerts.com/