I experienced a particularly heavy attack of discouragement at a certain point in my life. It happened when I was as close to Jesus as at any other time.
One morning, as I was preparing a sermon, I was overcome by an intense despair. It came out of nowhere, weighing me down. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't shake it.
As I sat at my desk with my Bible open, I tried to continue working on the sermon but I couldn't get anywhere.
Suddenly I was bombarded with doubts about my ability to put together a true message from the Lord. My mind was flooded
with horrible thoughts that told me, "You don't understand Paul's writings. You haven't grasped the ‘old man’ and ‘new man’ concepts. You don't comprehend ‘dying to sin’ when sin still exists. How dare you presume to preach God's Word?"
I sat there for three hours, determined to dig out a message but nothing came. By mid-morning, all the words on the pages of my Bible seemed to run together. My mind was confused and my spirit was dull, unable to hear anything from the Lord.
I sank deeper into despair and became convinced I had nothing to give the people in our church. So I closed the Bible and left my study.
As I walked around the house, my discouragement only grew. I tried to figure out why it had come upon me in the first place, but I didn't have a clue.
Finally, I went into my prayer room and sat on the floor. I couldn't even muster up a word to say to the Lord. Instead, I cried out to Him from my spirit: “Lord, I don't know what to do. I feel so down I can't even reach out to You, yet I know I've never loved You more than right now. Please help me."
When the devil comes with his spirit of discouragement, he bombards you with one lie after another. By the time he's finished, you're crying, "Oh, God, I'll never make it!"
This is just what the devil did to me. While in prayer, I endured his bombardment of hellish lies for about half an hour. Then God's still, small voice broke through to my spirit with these loving and compassionate words: "David, you're greatly loved. Don't worry, My hand is upon you. You are under severe attack, but do not fear. You don't need any strength of your own for this battle—I have everything you need!"