We tend towards discouragement because we do not think rightly about our position in relation to God’s wisdom and sovereignty. We see big circumstances and an inadequate God. We feel the weight of responsibility from God rather than viewing that responsibility as a gift and a privilege. We want the end of God’s reward and glory without the process of learning to lean on Him and finding Him sufficient for our every need.
Difficulty need not lead to discouragement and despair. Trials are real and certain (they will come). But the adequacy of God is even more real and certain.
As Kent Hughes has well said,
“Christianity, from Golgotha onwards, has been the sanctification of failure.” [Muggeridge] Peter, the great rock, rose from the rock heap of failure. Our failures bring us face to face with the weaknesses and inadequacies that lie within, so that God’s strength can be made perfect in our weakness.
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)
It is in the breaking of these clay vessels, our failures, that the riches of Christ are exposed for all to see. It is primarily our failures that create in us a poverty of spirit and thus make us fit receptacles for the blessings of the kingdom of God. That is why “Christianity, from Golgotha onwards, has been the sanctification of failure.”
We do not lose heart in ministry and life because we are adequate for the task. We are not. We do not lose heart in ministry because God is adequate for the task and is working His eternal, divine purpose in our lives.