In the Depth of Despair

You have known what it is to experience grief that is so unbearable that you can see nothing other than sadness. You have experienced a major loss in your life such as being fired from your job or the death of a loved one. You may have been violated through rape or robbery. You have known rejection from those that you counted dear to you.

What do you have left after going through some of the most miserable events that could be afflicted on anyone? Your emotions are in turmoil. You feel like there is nowhere to turn. You cannot even think of a way to remove the heavy weight on your heart. You are debilitated by poor health.

You have hidden your pain under a jolly mask. You forced a smile when it is nothing more than a physical expression that has been conjured up just to fit in with the rest of the crowd. You are most miserable. In the privacy of your bedroom, you will allow yourself to respond emotionally while being in the depths of despair.

All of us have had to deal with unfortunate circumstances. At some point, some of us have had to face the worst life offers. Perhaps you have found yourself described in the above paragraphs. Even though you feel like you have adjusted, behind your closed doors something may haunt you.

This is when a difference can be noted between the Christian and the non-Christian. I have heard it often said by Christians that they are sympathetic to the non-Christian for not having God’s help in time of need. Today, we can only address the Christian while hoping that the non-Christian accepts Jesus Christ as Savior and wants to obey him as Lord.

In response to those who claim to be Christians, allow me to quote Billy Graham who said, “if you truly believe, you will truly follow.” The Bible encourages believers to rejoice always under all circumstances. Allow me to explain. Rejoicing under terrible circumstances does not mean we run away from our personal depths of despair. It does not mean that we play mind games with ourselves! This kind of rejoicing focuses on God and not circumstances. To rejoice in bad times needs to be grateful for the comfort that the Holy Spirit offers.

Rejoicing in despair is not a contradiction of terms. It is a weapon to fight off misery. To rejoice is a confirmation of our personal relationship with the Almighty God. When one rejoices, that person becomes confident that there is more to life than despair. Rejoicing is the opposite side of the coin from misery. It is the eternal view prepared for any of us who know Jesus.

All of this having been said, how does one cope when they are in the depths of despair? How can a person help himself when he feels there is nowhere to turn? What does a person do when he feels so lonely or abandoned?

Acknowledge the pain that you are experiencing while attributing it to the work of Satan.

Understand that God is not the person who afflicted you with this despair.

Correct your thinking away from the misnomers that is likely to attack anyone.

When you pray while in the depths of despair, briefly relate to God what you are experiencing, but spend most of your time worshiping him. After all, God is omniscient, omnipresent, and all-powerful.

Avoid telling God what to do. Submit to his will whatever is happening.

Talk more to God about your despair than the time you spend talking to other people. That means that you focus on God instead of despair.

Allow the Holy Spirit to be active in your life at a time in which you may decide you want nothing to do with God. The Holy Spirit is the source of all comfort. Draw from him what you need.

Let your complaints to God be complete and full, telling him how unfair the source of your despair is. He will agree with you that which you are experiencing is unreasonable. Remember that God is on your side.

Make prayer your first retreat and not your last. What the world offers is inferior to the strength you will gain by a closer relationship with God at your time of despair.

Jesus said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Take these words literally. The Bible says that he experienced everything that anyone else has experienced. In his despair on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Put into your mental picture that at all times, after the despair, there is victory. This victory understands the meaning of what is happening to people, the odd twist of circumstances, or the hate thrown at you. This victory from God says you will get through this; you will find a way. Because of Jesus you can have hope, you can rejoice when reaching out to him. He will help you to be stronger.

Your life is not over- it is just bruised badly. New opportunities can be there for you. Better experiences will walk you away from the depth that despair wants to suck you into. Some people exaggerate their despair by ruminating over them time and time again. Let your thoughts acknowledge the cause of despair while not rehearsing it in your mind.

God is bigger than your despair! God cares more than you do about your despair! God hates what it is for you to experience despair! When seeing God in a different way, you will also see your despair differently.

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