Why Are You in Despair?

The battle for right thinking is hard; sometimes, it is very hard. Prolonged trials challenge the faith of a believer but have the potential to produce spiritual growth and nearness to God. Many of the Psalms illustrate this as the psalmist pours out his heart to God with words of anguish and fear alternating with praise for God and hope for His help.

As a prime example of this, Psalm 42 reflects much of what has been on my heart recently. I have felt anguish and fear after finding another breast lump. However, the Holy Spirit is bringing truths to my mind that challenge my thoughts, resulting in a spiritual war that is difficult, but bound to produce good.

Psalm 42

1 As the deer pants for the water brooks,
So my soul pants for You, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God;
When shall I come and appear before God?
My tears have been my food day and night,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
These things I remember and I pour out my soul within me.
For I used to go along with the throng and lead them in procession to the house of God,
With the voice of joy and thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.
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.
O my God, my soul is in despair within me;
Therefore I remember You from the land of the Jordan
And the peaks of Hermon, from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls;
All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.
The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime;
And His song will be with me in the night,
A prayer to the God of my life.
I will say to God my rock, “Why have You forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?”
10 As a shattering of my bones, my adversaries revile me,
While they say to me all day long, “Where is your God?”
11 Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why have you become disturbed within me?
Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him,
The help of my countenance and my God.

I long for God to comfort me and help me again feel the peace that is beyond my human understanding. My tears have been falling frequently as I struggle with my thoughts. Satan buffets me with temptations to question what is going on and why God feels that I need yet one more trial. I need you Lord! Where are you? Help me to find you! Part of me knows the truth that You are always with me, but another part of me cannot sense this. My heart pants and my soul thirsts for the living water that I once tasted, as I feed on my tears of grief instead. (Verses 1-3)

From “The Panting Hart” by Charles Spurgeon

The hart pants after the water brooks because it has a recollection of the coolness of the streams from which it has drunk beforehand therefore it longs to drink again.

Adding to my difficulty is the fact that I am homebound and no longer able to attend church or gather with other Christians elsewhere. I used to be able to worship with them weekly and enjoy the Easter and Christmas celebrations including group singing of Christmas hymns, the raising of our like-minded voices of praise for the Gift we have been given. As I remember these times, my heart breaks, and I pour out my grief to God through many tears. (Verses 4-5)

A voice in my mind asks me though, “Why are you in despair? Remember what you know to be true about God. He is the God of hope, and you can have this hope again.” Thankfully, as a believer, I have living inside me the Holy Spirit, a helper who brings to my remembrance the things Jesus said (John 14:26). Challenging my fears with these truths is the key to the hope that will dry my tears. (Verse 5)

From “Deep Calls Unto Deep” by Charles Spurgeon

Note well that the main hope and chief desire of David rest in the smile of God. His face is what he seeks and hopes to see, and this will recover his low spirits.

However, Satan is not done with this battle. It seems as if as soon as I am comforted, I succumb once again to feelings of despair. My thoughts return to the ones that disturb me. I admit this to God, knowing that I cannot hide from Him. I cry out for comfort from His deep wells of love as deep groans of pain flow from my heart to His ear. Knowing that He does not want me to be in despair, I turn to Him for strength to bear wave after wave of suffering. (Verses 6-7)

I know that God is loving, sovereign, and wise, and I can therefore trust Him. Although He already knows my burdens and allows them for reasons known to Him, He invites me to come to Him with them in prayer. As my Rock, His immutability comforts me as changes in my life tempt me to be afraid. Preaching truth to myself instead of listening to thoughts that cause despair is what I must do in order to be filled with joy, peace, and hope.  (Verses 8-11)

Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me? 
Jeremiah 32:27

7 thoughts on “Why Are You in Despair?

  1. Kim, the battle is strong. No doubt about that. I don’t have the answers to why so much suffering comes to any of us. I do know the battle, though, and the paradox is we are weary from the very conditions that have us crying out and then wearied by the enemy’s ploys. We know all the truths and promises. Believe them. Trust God. Believe God. Yet all keeps raging. I ‘know’ the battleground is the mind and yet I get tripped up so often, too. And if it is not one area fussing at us, it is another when our symptoms are multiple. Endurance and, as they come, tears do become our prayers. Remembering God’s bringing us through in the past remains our hope for what is current. Continuing prayers for a breakthrough only God can bring. xo L.

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