17 Sections

The Discouraged Heart

Chapter: 2.03
(Section 2: The Christian who has Stumbled)
Copyright Michael Bronson 1997, 1999, and 2000

Failures and setback can be very discouraging. Sometime these discouragements can be so overwhelming, you just want to give up. As you will soon see, outward appearances can be deceptive.

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Mrs. Hanover was discouraged and frustrated. Years of prayers for her husband’s salvation were in vain. He was killed in a car accident and now he was in Hell for eternity. Not only did she lose the love of her life, she had the haunting knowledge that he will be eternally separated from God. The burden of this knowledge weighed heavily on Mrs. Hanover.

Mrs. Hanover became frustrated and disillusioned with God and Christianity. Doubts crept in about God’s faithfulness and love. She felt betrayed. Discouraged, she stopped living for the Lord.

It is easy to become discouraged when it appears that God does not care and is not listening. It is hard to send up consistent prayers when it appears they are going no higher than the ceiling. Mrs. Hanover responded to her discouragement the same way many of us do.

Five years later, Roger Sims approached Mrs. Hanover and told her an amazing story. He had been hitchhiking when Mr. Hanover had picked him up. As they began to talk, Roger started to share his faith in Jesus Christ. The message was so compelling that Mr. Hanover pulled over to the side of the road and accepted Jesus as his Savior. Later on that day Mr. Hanover was killed in a car accident. (Source: Power for Living, Jan. 30, 2000, and More Precious Than Silver, by Joni Ereckson Toda.)

This story makes you wonder how often God hides His answers from us. It makes you wonder if many of our "unanswered" prayers have been answered after all. We may be greatly surprised when we get to Heaven and find out everything God had actually done for us. We will probably wish we had been more consistent and faithful in our prayers.

Why does God hide some of His answers from us? Your guess is as good as mine. It seems like He could have saved Mrs. Hanover a great deal of sorrow and discouragement if He had revealed the exciting news to her much earlier.

We know from the Bible that God is not a mean or sadistic person. We know that He loves us and cares for us. Since He is genuinely interested in our welfare, I have to believe He has a special reason for His silence. Unfortunately, we will probably never know the reason until we enter eternity.

There are two lessons we can learn from this story. First, the problems we face may not be as bleak as they appear. God may have some surprises in store for you. Second, you should be obedient to God regardless of what’s happening around you. Your actions should be based on God’s promises instead of how things appear to you.

The original Star Trek pilot (The Cage) provides us a good example of how appearances can be deceptive. In this original episode, Captain Christopher Pike (not Captain James T. Kirk) was the Captain of the USS Enterprise. He had been captured and held captive on planet Talos 4 by the Talosians. Captain Pike made several escape attempts, but failed every time. He even tried blowing a hole in the wall of his cage with a phaser.

It wasn’t until later that Captain Pike discovered that things were not as they appeared. The Talosians were using illusions to make him think that his escape attempts were ineffective. They used illusions to make him disregard what he knew to be true. When the Talosians stopped using illusions, Captain Pike saw that his phaser did blow a hole in the wall of his cage.

I believe that this is similar to what’s happening in our lives. Sometimes God wants us to trust Him so He doesn’t reveal everything to us. Sometime Satan wants to discourage us so he creates an illusion to hide the truth from us. Therefore, the next time appearances seem to contradict the promises of God, follow God’s promises. Be obedient to what you know to be true and ignore misleading perceptions.


Interesting Side Note about Star Trek

Many people are unaware that the network rejected Star Trek’s original pilot episode. They said that the pilot (The Cage) was too "cranial." The network asked that another pilot episode be written. A new pilot (Where no Man Has Gone Before) was written and, as they say, the rest is history.

The Cage wasn’t aired for many years. In fact, many people didn’t even know about this lost pilot episode until Menagerie 1 and Menagerie 2 were aired. Menagerie 1 and Menagerie 2 took scenes from The Cage and blended it into their storyline.


Other Chapters in this Section

Rising out of the Ashes
Shooting your Wounded
The Discouraged Heart
The Overwhelmed
Picking up the Pieces
I've Fallen and can't get Up
Secrets of Resisting Temptation
The Table Cloth (leaving our past sins behind us)
Guard Your Thoughts

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