Part of it was my tendency to tie my sense of self-worth to accomplishments. If I'm not accomplishing anything meaningful, then I reason that I don't have any meaning. That's a lie. "The love wherewith He loves the Son, such is His love for me" says the old hymn. (Jesus speaks of this in His prayer in John 17.) God's merciful love is just that - merciful. It's not based on what I do to earn it. It's based on His faithfulness and my heart that turns away from sin to seek His face. He loves me by grace - a gift that has been purchased not by my sighs or deeds, but that has been purchased by the precious blood of His Son. I can rest in that. If I look for meaning in anything outside of God Himself, I will be dreadfully disappointed.
The other part of my discouragement lies in the fact that this broken world is...broken. It's tiring! It's an uphill battle and an upstream pilgrimage. Jesus didn't deny that. "In this world you will have trouble," he told his disciples. "But take heart! I have overcome the world," he then told them. Indeed, in the midst of my discouragement, the hope that stood before me was no "dream," "philosophy," or "goal" - it was a Man who stood and beckoned me to follow. The only hope that I have rests on this One, who is both God and Man. "We rest on Thee and in Thy name we go." It was only the Lord who gave me the strength to bear up this past year at work. It was only the Lord who will continue to give me the strength to bear up in the future. He is my Strength (Psalm 22:19). He is my song (Psalm 118:14). He has become my Salvation (Exodus 15:2).
Hear me, please, Father. I need You. I feel lost... I feel meaningless, as I struggle in this fallen place and don't even understand what I am doing. I try to lead others, but I don't even know the way. But You told me that I do know the way - Your Son told me, "I am the way."
Have mercy on me, Father, for [this] feeling.. Save me from despair and from tiring at doing what is right.
I desperately need You to teach me, Father. The only hope I have is that You have redeemed me - "You said, 'Seek My face' and my heart said to You, "Your face, O LORD, will I seek." You caught me as I fell without a plea and said, "Come, follow me." In the silent movie, the mediator reached out his open hands to the one without a single hope and asked, "Will you come to me, Josaphat?" And my heart leapt as it reached out to You - I will come! [You have redeemed me from die Tiefe!]
Open my eyes to see - teach me the way - lead me so that I may follow. "I would have lost heart had I not believed that I would see the LORD in the land of the living." My only purpose, I find in You. Be near me, I pray. My only meaning, I can find in You. Take care of me, I pray. Have mercy upon me and make me trust in You - my only strength, my only song.
Because I do not see, I'm tempted to lose hope. I'm tempted to feel like all my efforts are in vain and all my heart a waste. Show me that that isn't true. ... Let my heart hide in You. Let me only go on if You are indeed Lord of my life.
Let me not despair in the way - You are my Captain. I look desperately and expectantly to You to lead me to a better country.
Cleanse and purify me, Father, by Your truth - Your word is truth. Show me where I fail, strengthen me to do what is right, and change my heart to do it. Help me, comfort me, and save me by the mighty hand of Your mediator. Your servant faints with need for You. Come help me - do not delay. Give my heart wisdom, my mind understanding, and my soul the will to follow You.
Ah, but the blood of Your Son - the blood of Your Precious, Perfect Son - Your Only and Beloved Son - His blood alone cleanses me in Your sight. I can stand without fear by the blood of Your Son. Let me take my stand upon the Rock - set me upon it, Father - "And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around." "You have set me high upon a rock."
Father, give me a heart of prayer to walk with You - to know You - and to be Your daughter. Give me a heart to do Your will so I might delight myself in being Your daughter. Open my eyes to see that You alone are my God and Savior, my Captain, my Shepherd, my Lord.
Draw me under the shadow of Your wings and let me hide there - now and forevermore. Amen
"My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it." John 17:15-16