How To Overcome Discouragement

There is nothing worse than believing for God to bring change in your life and feel like nothing is happening.  I went through that years ago as I was believing God for the restoration of a relationship with a girl and it seemed like things were only getting worse.  It caused me to enter into a deep depression.

Have you ever been there?  You’ve been standing on God’s promises and believing for change but not seeing anything happen?  It can get very discouraging and if we aren’t careful it can allow a root of disappointment to spring up in our heart.  This root of disappointment can make our heart sick and cause us to leave a place of expectancy which will keep us from receiving the promise of God we are believing for.

I want to share a verse of scripture the Lord ministered to me in my journey that I believe will really help you:

 Proverbs 13:12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.

Did you catch that?  Hope deferred makes the heart sick.  The Bible actually says when we are believing for something and we don’t see it, it can make our heart sick.  The first time I read that verse it encouraged and discouraged me all at the same time.  I was encouraged because I knew why I was depressed.  My answer hadn’t come so my hope was deferred and it had made my heart sick.  I had at least figured out the problem.

The part that discouraged me was the rest of the verse that says when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.  Getting my prayer answered and the relationship restored was my desire.  I realized the girl I was interested in had a say in the matter and she didn’t want to be in a relationship with me so what was I to do?  I wondered, “Is this verse actually saying your heart can only be healthy when you get answers to prayer?”

This was early on in my walk with God, so I didn’t know much, but I knew enough about God that He wanted my heart to be healthy even if I wasn’t seeing the answer I was believing for.  But what did the rest of the verse mean – When the desire comes, it is a tree of life?   As I sought God, I asked, “if getting my desire to come in the form of a restored relationship is the tree of life, what do I do?”

The Lord then showed me something that changed me forever.  Throughout the scripture, the tree of life is symbolic for the cross.  It was at the cross that Jesus became cursed with sin, sickness, poverty, depression, failure, etc. so we could become blessed in every area of our life.  It’s called the divine exchange.  The Lord then spoke to me that “I have to learn to magnify the cross greater than my loss.”

God showed me the finished work of the cross would heal my broken heart and bring me to a place of wholeness.  The outward manifestation we call answers to prayer usually doesn’t happen until we come to a place of wholeness in our heart first.  The tree of life brings wholeness.  When we apply the tree of life to the bitter waters of our heart it will bring healing just like it did for Moses when he applied the tree to bitter waters at Marah in Exodus 15:25.

This is what God did for me in my story. He healed my heart and showed me about his great plans for my life. He also showed me that the finished work of the cross had already provided a wife for me and as I sought Him, I would meet her. This provided peace for me in the midst of a hard time as I learned that the relationship I was believing to be restored was never God’s plan for me, but Ashley was! Years later if given a choice, I’d choose Ashley over the other girl in a heartbeat! God knows what He’s doing.

God has rigged the system to make sure we win!  The cross is the ultimate trump card because Jesus paid for all of our loss at the cross!  He also provided restoration in every area of our lives!  This principle has changed how I face disappointment.  Now when I pray and don’t see an immediate change to my circumstances, I begin to magnify the finished work of the cross in my heart.  I rest in God’s promises and know that even if I can’t see change on the outside yet, I can see it on the inside.  The tree of life has provided my breakthrough and if I put my focus there, the bitter waters of my heart will turn sweet and I will receive the answer to my prayer. 

I hope this has encouraged you today!  I’m believing that God strengthens you in His grace and that as you spend time in His presence, He provides wholeness for your heart.  As we learn to keep our heart healthy on the inside, we will receive our breakthroughs on the outside.  If you would like to learn more, listen to this audio message here.

Also, if you need additional teaching about promises that God has made available through the finished work of the cross, check out our series on spiritual authority. We talk about healing, finances, peace, and principles to receiving from God.

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