Why lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;…
Hands which hang down — that is the gesture of discouragement. Gesture addresses itself to the eye. Articulate speech addresses itself to the ear. Both tell the thoughts, feelings, purposes of the inner spirit. Consider —
I. WHY DISCOURAGEMENT SOMETIMES IS.
1. Ill health is a very frequent reason for a discouraged mood.
2. Necessary reaction from a great strain is a frequent reason for discouragement.
3. The slighter disappointments of life in most real way shadow the spirits. There are days when the sky wears a steadily disappointing grey, and when an east wind of discouragement blows steadily through all its hours.
4. The haunting fear that in some great matter which vitally affects us we have made mistake is a frequent cause of discouragement.
5. Hostile circumstances are causes of discouragement.
6. A frequent cause of spiritual discouragement is allowed sin. We talk about the hiding of God's face from us. Oftener we have ourselves hidden ourselves from God by doing what we know He cannot smile on.
II. SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH WE MAY TRIUMPH OVER THIS SO COMMON MOOD OF DISCOURAGEMENT. And we must triumph over discouragement. If we do not triumph over it, it will triumph over us. And no man can be well or do well who is in the perpetual gloom of a shadowed heart. "It is safe to say that no great enterprise was ever yet inaugurated, sustained, or completed in any other spirit than that of hope. The Suez Canal was not built, nor the ocean cable laid, nor the great war of a quarter of a century ago brought to a successful termination by men who were easily discouraged." All these undertakings, and all undertakings of any sort, must have their root in hope. There are two ways of conquering the discouragement.
1. By the law of opposites. For example, if one finds himself shadowed by ill health, he will increase both his ill health and the shadows which it casts by perpetual thought of it and constant attention to its symptoms. The way is, as far as possible, to front health, and in all right ways to determine to reach it. The man who persistently thinks toward sickness is the man who will gather about himself the gloom of sickness. The man who persistently thinks toward health is the man who will soonest get both into it and into its sunshine. I read once of a woman who said that she always went through at least two hours of worry and despondency about her trials, and when she had cried until she had a wet handkerchief spread out to dry on every chair in the room, she thought she might cheer up a little, but she never expected to be happy in this life. "Why," she said, "if I were happy I should think I had lost all my religion." Too often such is the Christian notion. But God wants us to be happy; and the way out of the gloom of petty disappointments is by thought of Him and our many blessings. For example again: Nobody need be discouraged by sin, if only one will repent of it. "There is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared."
2. Also, we can overcome discouragement by the law of faith. One tells how, in his youth, he and a young companion became lost in the maze at Hampton Court; they wandered about tired and discouraged, but they felt sure that they would find their way out presently, and they thought it would seem foolish to ask direction, though they saw an old man working not far off. They utterly failed, however, in getting out, and at last came to ask the old man if he could possibly tell them the path out of the maze. "Why," he answered, "that is just what I am here for. Why did not you say you wanted to get out before?" And he put the young men at once on the right track. And that is what our Lord Jesus is for. The steady asking of Him and the following of His directions will deliver from many of life's mazes and from its gloom.
(W. Hoyt, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;