Models for Combating Discouragement

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 73:26)

Literally the verb is simply fail, not “may fail.” This God-besotted psalmist, Asaph, says, “My flesh and my heart fail!” I am despondent! I am discouraged! But then immediately he fires a broadside against his despondency: “But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

The psalmist does not yield to discouragement. He battles unbelief with counterattack.

In essence, he says, “In myself I feel very weak and helpless and unable to cope. My body is shot, and my heart is almost dead. But whatever the reason for this despondency, I will not yield. I will trust God and not myself. He is my strength and my portion.”

The Bible is replete with instances of saints struggling with sunken spirits. Psalm 19:7 says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul.” This is a clear admission that the soul of the saint sometimes needs to be revived. And if it needs to be revived, in a sense it was “dead.” That’s the way it felt.

David says the same thing in Psalm 23:2–3, “He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” The soul of the “man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14) needs to be restored. It was dying of thirst and ready to fall exhausted, but God led the soul to water and gave it life again.

God has put these testimonies in the Bible so that we might use them to fight the unbelief of despondency. And we fight with the blast of faith in God’s promises: “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” We preach that to ourselves. And we thrust it into Satan’s face. And we believe it.