When My Heart Is Discouraged

October 22, 2013 · 8 comments

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by Christina Fox

I sit at the beach watching the boys and their friends play in the sand. The rhythmic sound of the waves crashing on the shore is soothing to my weary heart. It’s ironic how relaxing the roar of the waves is on this side of the water. Yet I know if I were to step into the waves, they would pick me up and toss me to and fro. I’d be knocked over and pushed right back up on the beach, leaving scratches and burns on my skin from the sand, rocks, and seashells.

That’s how life feels lately. The waves of life have tossed me around leaving me bruised and worn. Discouragement seems the theme of my life this year. It weight is heavy and its pull is strong as it threatens to pull me out into a riptide of sorrow and despair.

To Kiss the Waves

I recently shared these feelings with a friend and she reminded me of this quote from C.H. Spurgeon “I have learned to kiss the waves that push me against the rock of my Redeemer.” To be honest, my heart feels too sore to want to step into the rocking waves and greet them with a grateful kiss. I’d rather seek solace and find comfort than be battered and bruised.

But this quote reminds me that healing for my wounds and the peace I seek in my trials are found not in fleeing from the waves but from where the waves can take me. The disappointments and discouragements of life ought to push me to Christ. These pains ought to remind me of my need for the Redeemer who was bruised and broken for me (Isaiah 53:4-5). And they ought to remind me that Christ is the source of my encouragement, peace, and hope–not my circumstances.

Yet the sorrows and trials of life are usually things I try to avoid. I resist them. I seek a solution to them. I just want them to go away. I want the water to be flat and calm; smooth and easy to navigate. But Christ calls me to step out into the waves and walk by faith. Like Peter walking on the water, Christ calls me to keep my eyes fixed on him, not on what is going on around me. I need to trust that it is he who will keep me afloat, not my own strength and abilities.

And sometimes, I really need those rough waters and high waves. James tells me to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4). Paul says something similar in Romans 5, “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (v.3-5).

And so, as Spurgeon’s quote reminds me, instead of complaining, despairing, or wallowing in my discouragements, I need to receive them with joy. They are gifts given to bring me back to where I belong. Just as Paul’s thorn in the flesh forced him to rely on the strength of Christ, my own pains and sorrows are graces that point me to Christ. He is my rock whom I can lean on when the waves of trial crash around me. “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold” (Psalm 18:12). He is also my redeemer, not only for my eternal salvation, but every day his grace saves me from my sinful desires and selfish ways. Though it hurts, the waves of trial and discouragement that push and pull at me and the bruises and scrapes I endure are all necessary and for my good.

Life is filled with sorrows and disappointments, that is certain. We can’t escape it, though many try. Nor can we can’t allow ourselves to drown in despair. Instead, when those waves of discouragement and pain come upon us, we need to yield to and kiss them in gratitude for they push us right where we need to be–against our Rock and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.


ABOUT THE WRITER
Christina Fox is a homeschooling mom, licensed mental health counselor, writer, and coffee drinker, not necessarily in that order. She lives in sunny South Florida with her husband of sixteen years and their two sons. Christina blogs at To Show Them Jesus.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tim October 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Good points, Christina. I’ve seen that Spurgeon quote as well and, like you, I’d rather embrace the Rock than kiss the wave. In fact, I think Spurgeon’s idea of kissing the wave mistakes being thankful for all circumstances with the Biblical call to be thankful in all circumstances. It’s the latter I want to do, because that is what helps me focus on Jesus and not on the circumstances that surround us.

Cheers,
Tim

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2 Melissa Deming October 23, 2013 at 10:19 pm

This is such a lovely post, Christina! Thank you for bringing that quote to my attention. I absolutely love it for it’s beauty as well as for its rebuke. It was much needed this week. thank you for sharing!

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3 Misha October 24, 2013 at 10:31 pm

I have felt very similar feelings recently… just weary and a bit discouraged. The truths you share in this post are crucial to our appropriate response. Thank you for the encouragement:)

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4 Betsy October 25, 2013 at 5:55 pm

I had never read that Spurgeon quote, but I love it. Thanks for sharing some of your heart. I can certainly relate to wanting to avoid trials rather than go through them. The last few years, I’ve wrestled with discouragement more than ever, and like you, I’m certain Jesus is using it to shape me.

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5 amy October 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

I love our Lord Jesus Christ and this – this post is a sweet gift from Him. The verses interlaced are so personal and powerful. He is my rock and my fortress and when things in this life threaten to undue me – today – I give thanks knowing that He is helping me to trust in Him and Him alone more and more. Praise be to Him for His great undeserved love.

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6 Susan November 4, 2013 at 12:42 am

That was an absolutely beautiful post that really ministered to my heart! I am so glad I found your blog! (I used to live in South Florida too…Coral Springs…but live in New Hampshire now. Enjoy the Florida sunshine! :) ).
Blessings,
Susan

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7 Sarah December 8, 2013 at 9:20 pm

Thank you for sharing this. It is never easy to talk about our own vulnerability. I have been through similar times my self and hearing this was a nice reminder. Thanks!

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