Life is not always what we want it to be. Whether it be global pandemics or personal battles, this life can be quite unpredictable and frustrating. I don’t think any of us could have imagined what 2020 would hold for us nor the trials we would face. Maybe it isn’t just this year that is affecting you. Maybe it is years of disappointment, a broken relationship, a lost job, or something that happened 15 years ago. Whatever it is, you and I need to face it head on so we can move forward into joy and hope. Continue reading as we learn the difference between healthy grief vs. bowing to despair.
A Burnt Down Life
Growing up, most of us see the future with hope-filled eyes. We have big dreams and a vision for what our lives could be. Then we become adults and realize life is not as easy as we imagined. Challenges and tragedies arise, sometimes even before adulthood, and we are left to face the wreckage of a burnt down life. This could be as simple as unmet expectations or as tragic as the death of a loved one. We cannot see all that life will hold for us but despite hardships, unknowns, and looming question marks, we can choose hope. We can refuse despair, that sneaky voice that tries to seduce us into depression’s bed.
The Trap of Tragedies
The trap of tragedies or disappointments is that we often do not know how to move past them. Over and over we rehearse these scenarios in our minds – what we could have done, what they should have done, and that place becomes our home. If it isn’t a tragedy, it’s an unmet expectation or dead dream we feel may never come to pass. Each of these must be grieved, mourned, and then viewed correctly from God’s perspective. If they are not grieved correctly and yielded up to God, they can become idols – false gods offering solace yet providing none.
Cry it Out Then Give it Up
King David, one of my favorite people in the Bible, was a pro at this. He went through rejection, death threats, betrayal, and loss yet he turned to God. He wasn’t ashamed to say he was angry, hurt, confused, or upset. Throughout the Psalms, you can see him processing his pain with God. The rawness he expressed shows the level of deep trust and intimacy he had with the Father. This dude would complain and rant in prayer but 99% of the time finish in worship and in praise. Like David, It is not enough for us to cry it out or to share our pain with others. You and I must offer up our soul’s sorrow to our Creator. He is refuge, a place of solace for the hurting.
Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.Psalm 62:5 NKJV, a Psalm of David
Will You Bow?
One day I felt despair and hopelessness creeping in after facing a “seemingly” impossible situation. My soul wanted to curl up in a ball and cry in self-pity. I heard the Lord say, “Will you bow to despair and be overcome with gloom, or will you bow to Me, the God of all hope, and be filled with hope and joy everlasting?” In that moment, I made hope my only option. God had never failed me. Only He is worthy of my worship. I knew what would happen if I yielded to despair for a second. God had already pulled me out of depression once. I wasn’t going back. Yes, the facts gave me every reason to be upset but God is greater than facts. He is GOD! As my soul yielded to His voice, I felt His peace – peace that passes understanding.
When you and I bow to despair and agree with self-pity we become their slaves. (Romans 6:16) This is what the enemy wants. He doesn’t want us worshiping God like David and becoming hopeful, encouraged, or people after God’s own heart. Instead, he wants us to harbor the hurt, the pain, and disappointment. This is like getting bitten by a snake but instead of seeking medical attention and removing the venom, you decide to curl up in a ball and slowly (or quickly) let it kill you. That is what despair and hopelessness do. They tell you that you are a victim and cannot rise above.
Their goal is to paralyze you from moving forward through whispering lies like, “You can’t get past this. It is too hard. You can’t let this go. Things will never change. There is no hope for this situation. You’ve done too much. It’s too late.” It also has you bow down by disguising itself as grief but it is not grief. Grief is a normal human emotion in response to loss or disappointments. It’s okay to cry and mourn but we must get up. Giving up is not an option. As we walk through grief, big or small, you and I have a choice whether to hope in God or partner with despair. This cannot be avoided.
Truth, Grief’s Ally
As we process disappointment and grief we must partner with truth. We receive truth through reading the Word of God and listening to His voice. You and I must get alone with God and ask Him the nitty-gritty questions. We must become vulnerable and allow Him to speak truth into our grief so we can walk THROUGH the pain. It doesn’t happen overnight but it works. We must do this because the enemy is constantly trying to propagandize us and deceive us with his lies. He doesn’t want us to heal or recover. His goal is to keep us broken and oppressed but Jesus came to set captives free and comfort all who mourn!
“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”Isaiah 61:1-3 NKJV
This is what He came to do and He is still doing it. Hope and healing belong to you through faith in Jesus, yet God cannot restore you unless you yield up your sorrows and disappointments. So what is holding you back? More lies? If you feel like your soul is stuck, bowing to your pain, start with worship. Worship will get you moving. Like oil, His presence will usher you forward and smooth the path before you.
Verbally come out of agreement with hopelessness and despair – (NO! You must go! I reject you in Jesus name and I come into agreement with Jesus, the God of all Hope!) Read Psalm 42 over and over. This is the Psalm God gave me on my journey. It will encourage you and cleanse your soul! When you trust and hope in God, you have every reason to be hopeful despite an unknown future.
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NKJV
“Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.” Psalm 42:5 NKJV