Slightly Obsessed #200: God Sees Your Despair

God said, ‘Because he has loved Me, therefore I will deliver him.’

– Psalm 91:14

She was well-dressed, beautiful, and accomplished.

She had just flown across the country to teach at a conference and looked fully the part.

Sharp. Witty. Color-coordinated.

And she may have left with that image safely in place, except that she happened to be introduced to a group of women who had been through loss too terrible to imagine: the death of a child. These brave women had come together to write their stories, and as each shared her individual loss, the corporate pain was palpable. The tears flowed freely, and the walls of brave faces came down, heartbreak made holy by the faith with which they faced each day.

The speaker sat and listened, eyes red. It was then she shared the depth of her own pain, the desperation of her own losses exposed by this gentle fellowship of suffering.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Despair, it seems, is a common, if unspoken, condition of the human soul. On the field of pain, we are all equals.

But God has not intended for us to stay there, because we are not meant to lead lives of quiet desperation. Desperation should be, instead, the thorn in the flesh that drives us to our knees in search of God. He has promised that we will find Him when we search Him out with all our hearts. Sorrow turns a complacent heart into a seeking heart.

Despair, as the Psalmist discovered, it is the schoolmaster to lead us to hope.

 This concept is so powerful he expressed it three times in the space of two Psalms:

Why are you in despair, O my soul?

And why have you become disturbed within me?

Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him

For the help of His presence.

– Psalm 42:5,11;43:5

Psalm 62:11 tells us, “Once God has spoken; Twice I have heard this: That power belongs to God.” In Psalms 42 and 43 we read not once, not twice, but three times that we should question the power of despair over us. We should fight for hope, look for deliverance, and praise Him in all things.

Are you in despair?

He sees it. He hears your prayers in the night. Power is His, and you are His. Hope in God, for you will again praise Him for His restoration.

 

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