Feebleness, brokenness, trouble, mourning—all these things brought low David's spirit. He felt dry, without direction, as if he had learned nothing over the years. "As for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me" (Psalm 38:10). David was saying, "I've lost my spiritual understanding. I can't reach God as I used to!"
I know just how David felt. I have led evangelistic crusades in which thousands at a time have come to Christ. I have helped lead multitudes of drug addicts and alcoholics to deliverance in Jesus. My life has been full of many rich blessings. But often, within days of these events, I have become overwhelmed with discouragement and ended up thinking, "Lord, I haven't accomplished anything for You!"
That's the work of Satan's spirit of discouragement. It makes us a target for the powers of hell within moments of our greatest spiritual victory!
This heavy, demonic spirit laid David so low that he was dumbfounded in God's presence. He said, "But I, as a deaf man, heard not; and I was as a dumb man that openeth not his mouth. Thus I was as a man that heareth not, and in whose mouth are no reproofs" (verses 13-14).
The Hebrew meaning of this last phrase is "a man who has no more answers or arguments left." David was saying, "Lord, I'm too discouraged to even lift my hand up to you. I can't pray, because I'm too confused to speak. I'm drained and empty. I have nothing to say."
David voiced the universal cry of the righteous soul that endures an attack of discouragement: "I am ready to halt, and my sorrow is continually before me" (verse 17). The word "halt" here in Hebrew means "fall." David was telling God, "I'm not going to make it, Lord. I'm at my absolute end and I'm about to fall!"
We can talk to God all we want about our feelings of failure. We can tell Him about our despair over our sins and foolish mistakes. But we are never to entertain the thought that He has abandoned us.
David is our example of someone who became discouraged but kept his faith. Even at his lowest point, David would not allow himself to wallow in unbelief. He cried, "For in thee, O Lord, do I hope: thou wilt hear, O Lord my God" (Psalm 38:15).