Before discovery of a cure, a disease must be identified.
“I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me. And if thou deal thus with me, kill me, I pray thee, out of hand[in modern English-at once], if I have found favour in thy sight; and let me not see my wretchedness.” Nu. 11:14,15.
Moses wallowed in a sea of complaints from the children of Israel. Time after time the complaints filled his ears. No more. He lost hope of them changing. He lost hope in God’s power to deal with them, and he knew of certain he couldn’t. Moses sank in despair to desiring death above life.
Moses has company in his despair. The people esteemed Ahithophel’s counsel as one who talked with God but quickly the fickle feelings of the masses changed and we find, “…when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed…he arose, and gat him home…put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died…”2Sam. 16:23;17:23.
Job, David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Jonah, and even Paul dealt with despair. It’s understandable with those who do not embrace God, for, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not…man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he… If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” (Job. 14:1,2,10; 1Cor. 15:19).
But how does the believer explain the despair embracing him/her?
Job lost his wealth, his children, and his health. He begins to question, as we all would. “When I lie down, I say, when shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope…mine eye shall no more see good…My days are past, my purposes are broken off…the grave is mine house…corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister. And where is now my hope?”(Job. 7:4-7; 17:11-15).
Jeremiah laments as Israel receives the Lord’s wrath. “I am a man that hath seen affliction…my flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones…set me in dark places, as they that be dead of old…I can’t get out…my chain heavy. Also when I cry and shout, he shutteth out my prayer…he hath made me desolate…He hath filled me with bitterness…broken my teeth…covered me with ashes. And thou hast removed my soul far off from peace: I forgat prosperity. And I said, My strength and my hope is perished from the LORD.” (From Lam. 3:1-18)
Despair results from a vitamin deficiency affecting the brain. The vitamin is Hope. A myriad of adverse life circumstances, including sickness, death, sin, weariness in the battle, fighting what appears as a losing battle, rebellion, loneliness any and all begin to drain the spirit and mind of the hope a believer has in Christ. If not cured, despair depletes the needed vitamin and the believer is left weakened and faint.
Paul, in 1Corinthians 10:13, leaves us with a first dose of hope. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”
What you are going through is common to mankind. God is faithful. He promises deliverance and strength. He will pour hope into your despair. And tomorrow, Lord willing, we’ll take another dose.
Praying by the end of the week, may we all be filled with the fullness of hope found in Jesus Christ and no longer walk diseased by despair.
If you find yourself in despair and needing prayer, leave a note, no need for details, and I will be glad to pray for you. Also, a fellow blogger, T. R. Noble, Inside the Cup, has a community prayer on her blog. Leave your request there and many more will join us.