In the classic book The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith, the author tells a story of a meeting between Satan and some of his servants on the subject of how to make a certain good man sin. One demon said he could make the man sin by showing him the pleasures and delights of sin, but Satan said that wouldn’t work, because the man had tried it and knew better. Another demon said he would show the man that being good was all difficulty with no reward or happiness, but Satan said that the man had walked in virtue and knew that “Wisdom’s ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace” (Proverbs 3:17). Another demon said, “I can get him to sin. I will discourage his soul”. “Yes!” said Satan, “Now we can conquer him.”
Discouragement is so subtle and so encroaching. It’s like mold. A couple of years ago, the lower level of our split level home got mold. We didn’t know it until the mold had worked its way through the walls and through the backs of the bookshelves that were on the walls. We not only had to have an expensive drainage system put in, but we had to replace carpet, and lost bookshelves and rows of books, because the mold had moved, little by little, taking over more and more ground. That’s how discouragement works. It starts in one area and somehow works its way into everything.
I’ve been dealing with discouragement lately. It seems to me that a lot of things are not going the way I want them to be. I started to say “not going the way they should”, but then I remembered that if everything in my life is in God’s hands, then it must be going the way it “should”, even if it doesn’t look that way to me. But there are times when circumstances get hard to deal with. And the funny thing is, it’s not the big stuff. The big stuff, like cancer, is somehow easier to find the strength for. But the little stuff, especially when there are several things all at once, that’s what pulls the energy and positivity out of me. (Spell check says “positivitiy” isn’t a word, but I like it, so I’m leaving it. So there, computers. You’re not in charge yet.)
There are things that are hurting me, and I don’t know how to make it stop. The only way I know to make the hurting to stop, is to stop caring, and I can’t do that. And there are situations that are just out of my control, but I’m still afraid and feeling like I don’t see a light at the end of the proverbial cliched tunnel.
Obviously I have more learning to do…
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6
(Well, I said at the outset that this blog was going to be honest and open. This is me, being honest and open.)