I received this email today from a friend, Dave McCarty, who leads a ministry called Gospel Frienships. I found his counter-intuitive insights helpful.
“When I’m discouraged by circumstances, I’m always confident of what’s best for me and those I love. [It is when I lean on my] own understanding. My biggest need is not changed circumstances, but a changed heart: fresh conviction of the sin of independence and unbelief in His promise to work all things together for my good, and His glory. Unbelief in the perfectness of His plan for me. Discouragement is not a picture of humility, but of… pride.”
Wow. I had never thought of discouragement as a fruit of selfish pride. I wonder if what I call being discouraged may often be a form of adult whining over my will not being done. Maybe discouragement is another opportunity for fresh repentance and simple, childlike, gospel faith in a all-good, all-loving, all-sovereign and all-wise Father.
Now, when Dave speaks of being discouraged, he is not saying that there is not a time to be sad or to grieve. Those are normal emotional responses to the brokenness of living in a fallen world. The discouragement he is talking about is the experience of not getting my own way and pouting about it like a spoiled child. It is a type of frustration produced by prideful anger.
So, I think Dave is right, and especially about this: I am more in need of a changed heart than I am of changed circumstances. Can you relate to that?