Listen to the edition of Alive in Christ Radio: Breaking the Bondage of Despair
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What is despair?
Despair is best defined as, “suffering without meaning.”
In other words, we feel so low, so useless, so defeated that even the shade of black does not come close to truly describing our deep—dark physiological abyss of overwhelming emotional pain and internal suffering.
- Have you ever cried so long and hard that your tear ducks have ceased to produce tears?
- Have you ever felt so abandoned and all alone; feeling no one understood, no one cared?
- Have you ever felt so ashamed of your past mistakes that your future seemed meaningless?
- Have you ever come to a place, time, or circumstance where you believed your life was beyond redemption?
- Have you ever dipped so low that you truly believed you would be better off dead?
If you have answered “yes” to any or even all of these conditions, you have experienced despair. Did you know that you are not alone? Oh, you may have thought you were all alone, but believe it or not your suffering—your despair has been shared by many before you. You may be surprised to know that biblical legends like Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, Abraham, Jacob, his son Joseph, Moses, David, his son Solomon, Naomi, Ruth, the apostle John, the apostle Paul, the apostle Peter, the apostle Mark, Jesus’ brother James, Jesus’ mother Mary, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ not only experienced the vast darkness and loneliness of despair, but ultimately were lifted up out from—delivered from that blacker-then-black pit of despair.
Do you know why we are still here; although we have suffered such greater physical and emotional despair? In a word, “hope!” Even the tiniest mustard seed of hope produces just enough meaning for us to play another day. I recall a true story about a young U.S. military intelligence officer who was captured and imprisoned by our enemy. He watched and heard as most of his comrades were brutally tortured and killed all around him. In his dark, cold, and damp four-by-eight foot cell, he had no family, no friends, no church, and no hope; or did he? He felt the despair (suffering without meaning) of knowing he was next in line to suffer an excruciating death at the hand of his captors. He thought he might simply take his own life, rather than be tortured, shamed, and murdered by those who had already snuffed out the life of his best friends. He felt alone, abandoned, and overwhelmingly afraid. So, how was this courageous soldier able to find and cling to a single, razor-thin slice of hope? His hope was in God. His faith kept him going. He had nothing, but yet he had everything; he had God.
On the floor in his tiny cell there was a drainage grate. One day, in desperation to find a way out, he was able to loosen the lid of this 12-inch drain cover. Once removed, he stuck his head down into the drain-hole and noticed that a thin ray of sunlight was somehow able to bounce up underneath his cell and it shined upon a single blade of green grass. For the first time in three years he saw color. He saw life. He saw light. He saw the color green. From that instance until the day he was finally rescued (four years later), that blade of green grass in tandem with God’s unfailing love became his life-sustaining hope.
You see, although the walls, bars, and chains of the enemy prevented him from physical escape, from freedom, they could not keep God out!
Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love
Romans 8:31-39: 31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
35 Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In the book of Joshua, chapter 10, with God’s help Israel won the battle against five Amorite armies (10:1-14). Joshua told his men never to be afraid, because God would give them similar victories over their enemies. The same God who empowered Joshua and his troops and led us in the past will help us with our present and future needs. Reminding ourselves of God’s faithfulness will give us hope for the struggles that lie ahead.
5 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and 6 my God! Now I am deeply discouraged, but I will remember you—even from distant Mount Hermon, the source of the Jordan, from the land of Mount Mizar.
7 I hear the tumult of the raging seas as your waves and surging tides sweep over me.
8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.
9 “O God my rock,” I cry, “Why have you forgotten me? Why must I wander around in grief, oppressed by my enemies?”
10 Their taunts break my bones. They scoff, “Where is this God of yours?”
11 Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God!
Have you ever noticed that some of who have become so used to struggle have lost the hope of experiencing better days. In the book of John, chapter 5, verse 6, Jesus asks a question to a sick man, “Would you like to get well?” At a glance, this question may seem strange. Of course he would want to get well…wouldn’t he? But after 38 years, this man’s problem had become a way of life. He had no hope of ever being healed and no desire to help himself. Have you ever felt lost like that? Many have. Unfortunately, a loss of hope has led some people to abandon their faith. But God wants us to keep asking.
Matthew 7:7: 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.
God want us to be willing to stick with him.
John 15:4-8: 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
In closing, when we need hope and encouragement, Peter’s words offer joy and hope in times of trouble, in times of despair. He based his confidence on what God has done for us through Jesus. We’re called into a living hope of eternal life.
1 Peter 1:3-6: (The Hope of Eternal Life): 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
Our hope is not only for the future; eternal life begins when you believe in God and join His family. The eternal life we now have gives us hope and enables us to live with confidence in God.
You see, our hope is in our faith. Our faith is on God, the Holy Spirit, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is always with us, and for us. Jesus knows all about despair (His ultimate sacrifice for us on the cross) and all about almighty victory; as He is now seated at the right hand of God. We have hope when we have faith; when we believe.
Jeremiah 29:11: 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
As Christians of purpose, let us know that God will provide (Jehovah-jireh), let us stand firm in joy by the glorious name of Jesus Christ, and never again allow ourselves to lose hope. For our hope is in our faith that we are eternally blessed and anointed by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who will never fail us, nor ever abandon us. The next time despair comes knocking, call upon the almighty power and perfect hope of God, and forever break the bondage of despair.
May almighty God bless you always,
Founder, Executive Publisher
Christian Times Online
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