Hope Even in Despair
The next morning, I accepted an invitation and went to a birthday party on the weekend before Mother's Day. Wonderfully, I took a seat beside Emily, the friend I met several years ago. She was one of my friends who had ever lived in despair isolation. Emily considered that experience as up and down in her life. And she now believes that there is Hope even in despair.
Many years ago, Emily, a teenager girl, drove from a far distance to talk with me. I have never met a girl who had so much going for her. She was rather pretty. She was well dressed. She had completed 12 years of school and graduated with a grade point of almost four (4.0). As a talented artist, she had received a full art scholarship from a Christian university. I was surprised that one person could have so much! While talking with her, I realized what I saw on the outside was not matching what I was beginning to see on the inside. Finally I said, "Have you ever wept prior to sleep at night when you had bad days?" Emily began to realize that she couldn't cover up her inner feelings that struck her as the blues of life.
We've all faced up and down moments in life. Everyone has their down days, and a certain amount of despair is normal, even in the healthiest personality. It's only when one can't free himself from despair that the problem becomes serious.
Despair is actually a defense against anxiety. It is a reaction against the fear and stress of trying to cope in an unfriendly world. If either the world outside or one's emotions are too threatening, a person may repress his feelings and become depressed. And tears are a wonderful gift of God for dealing with stress, and at times they also accompany despair. Tears help to express shame or sadness, and they help to relieve despair. Severely depressed people have been known to weep for hours or even days. Emily shared that experience.
In fact, each of us has a certain amount of emotional drive, and this emotional energy is usually directed toward another person. When the depressed person feels cut off from others, he turns his emotional investment back into himself. He lives in despair isolation. Like a snail, he withdraws into his shell and lives by himself. He can be lonely in the midst of people, and he pulls back from those who try to help him. This despair can be so severe that he feels everyone is criticizing him. He fears that others are talking about him and putting him down. This fear is even injected into his spiritual life.
The despair isolation Emily experienced was transferred to her feelings about God. This caused her to doubt God's love and she felt that God was far from her. In despair, Emily said, "Lord, I feel so alone. I feel all tied up in knots. I don't know what to do. Please come to me; reach out and help me". The conflicting feelings were so overwhelming in her that she couldn't find the strength to cope. Emily couldn't sense the presence of God although God was there. But in a moment, Emily turned to God for relief when she confessed that nothing in heaven or earth is more desirable than God. Now, Emily can live with Hope even in despair when she always holds on to God--hope in all circumstances.
Dear friends! Have you ever lived in despair even though you have so much and don't need anything? Have you ever experienced down days in life? Come to God. Be opened with Him. Be honest with Him. Let Him teach you, guide you, and bless you. Let Him counsel you. God Himself is the only Source of Hope to those who seek Him for help sincerely. If you would like to know more about Source of Hope, please click here.
Esther L. May 9 2001
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