Faint of Heart, Yet Fighting for Joy

At times, even the servants of God grow faint of heart. I have had my fair share of those moments. Yet, even in the worst of times when we despair of life itself, we must remember that our hope and strength is in God who raises the dead. Such gospel truth is the means by which the Spirit lifts the heart and sustains our joy…

2 Corinthians 1:3-11 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort.

“For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again. You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.”

Resources for the Discouraged Servant of God

John Piper, When the Darkness Will Not Lift (Free E-book) (Amazon)

John Piper, When I Don’t Desire God (Free E-book) (Amazon)

Charles Spurgeon, “The Minister’s Fainting Fits,” a chapter from Lectures to My Students (Read Chapter) (Read Overview of Chapter)

 

J. Ligon Duncan, “The Underestimated God: God’s Ruthless Compassionate Grace in Pursuit of His Glory and His Minister’s Joy”  (See also: J. Ligon Duncan, “God and Your Ministerial Discouragement” (Listen to Audio))

 

John Piper, “Spiritual Depression in the Psalms” (Psalm 42)

 

Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is near to the broken hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.”

The following is an excerpt from John Calvin’s commentary on Psalm 34:

“Jehovah is [near] to those who are broken of heart, he will save those who are bruised of spirit.  David here exemplifies and extends still more the preceding doctrine that God is the deliverer of His people, even when they are brought very low, and when they are as it were, half-dead.  It is a severe trial when the grace of God is delayed, and all experience of it so far withdrawn, as that our spirits begin to fail; nay more, to say that God is [near] to the faithful, even when their hearts faint and fail them, and they are ready to die, is altogether incredible to human sense and reason.

“But by this means His power shines forth more clearly, when he raises us up again from the grave.  Moreover, it is [necessary] that the faithful should thus be utterly cast down and afflicted, that they may breathe again in God alone.  From this we learn also, that nothing is more opposed to true patience than the loftiness of heart of which the stoics boast; for we are not accounted truly humble until true affliction of heart has abased us before God, so that, having prostrated ourselves in the dust before him, he may raise us up.  It is a doctrine full of the sweetest consolation, that God departs not from us, even when we are overwhelmed by a succession of miseries, and, as it were, almost deprived of life.”

Whatever My God Ordains Is Right

Dear Refuge of My Weary Soul

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