Discouragement. The persistent nemesis that endeavors to score our souls, aiming to shred our faith. No matter where you are in life, discouragement seems to find you. Threaten you with its taunting lies, pressuring you to succumb to its doubt-laden grip.
Recently I had entered the sparring ring with this ugly foe, going several bouts before realization hit—I’m not prepared for such a fight. Not on my own. So I called for back-up, meaning I prayed. And the answer came in such an unusual, magnificent way.
But first, a little background. I kinda want to set the stage.
David was a man who knew triumph and loss. Hope and discouragement. So I’ve been reading through Psalm and other books that listed David’s life. And I came across this.
Only a few chapters after David gets blessed by Jesse and then sequentially killed the giant Goliath, he finds himself in a tough spot. So tough he actually declares “that there is only one step between me and death.” (1 Samuel 20:3) David was out of sorts. Saul was trying to kill him, and David was struggling. How could he honor the king that God had anointed while that very same man had been plotting his death?
So then David visits the priest. While there, David asks, “Don’t you have a spear or a sword here? I haven’t brought my sword or any other weapon…” (1 Samuel 21:8) Now, David is a warrior. In fact, he is the captain of the king’s army. Saul is after him. Saul’s men are after him. David should know better than to remain unarmed. Wouldn’t you think the guy would have some sort of defense?
Then it struck me. When the craziness of life hits, how often do we find ourselves unprepared? Scary circumstances arise, and we look at our empty hands and think, “I got nothing. I can’t stand against this.”
But don’t give up hope! Because you’re about to get your sword.
The priest replied to David, “The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom you killed in the Valley of Elah, is here; it is wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod. If you want it, take it…”
The VERY sword David slew Goliath with, had been wrapped up in cloth and basically shoved in the closet! Not set under glass and on display. Not carried in parades all over Jerusalem. That sword represented one of the greatest showdowns in history, and it was buried under cloth. Forgotten.
How often do we do that to our God-given victories—just wrap them up into the folds of our minds, forgotten and unappreciated. It’s time to shake the dust off and bring them to the front of our thoughts.
So of course, when David realized the sword had been stored there, he nabbed it. Saying, “There is none like it; give it to me.” He knew it was special. When that sword was placed back in his hands he probably relived that moment of glorious triumph over the enemy. Remembering the awesome victory God had worked in his life, being infused with faith afresh.
Just like David, we need to grab that sword and carry it with us, being ever ready to wield it against discouragement’s attacks. Your sword would most likely NOT be one of steel or iron, but perhaps it’s a memory. A time when God had miraculously delivered you in a tough situation. Or maybe it’s an actual object. Like mine.
My sweet daughter was diagnosed autistic when she was three. There were developments supposedly beyond her reach. Challenges, professionals had projected, she may never overcome. One of those obstacles was potty-training. This one is personal for me, because it was rough. Rough on my daughter because, at the age of seven, she knew it wasn’t normal to be in diapers. At that time, she was mostly non-verbal, but just because she couldn’t express her frustration with words didn’t mean it never shown in her dejected expression, her sorrow-filled eyes. We prayed and believed. Month after month. Diaper box after diaper box. And even though it felt hopeless, we continued to hope. Then one day, it clicked. And she never had an issue again. She never even had an accident! When God does something, it’s HUGE.
But like most, I’d forgotten what a colossal triumph that was for our daughter.
One recent afternoon, I was feeling discouraged about our daughter’s progress. It just seemed she had SO much more obstacles to overcome. Every hindrance seemed to glare at me, mocking. With my eyes watering and my hopes floundering, I went into the garage for something…then I saw it.
The diaper box.
I’m not exactly sure why we still had one. It was broken down and stuffed into another box but I had spotted it. And I remembered. I thought of those days we struggled and cried. Those moments I’d gathered my daughter close and whispered God would help us.
That diaper box had become my sword. A reminder of God’s mighty hand in our lives. Since that encounter in the garage, I had used that to fight discouragement when a situation arises which tries to knock me out of faith. God is listening and He is faithful. So when God works the miraculous, I choose not to wrap it in unbelief, but rather put it on display in my mind.
Just as the Psalmist says, “I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old.”
So tell me, what’s your sword that you wield in the face of discouragement? OR what has God done lately in your life that you find oh-so-awesome?