Tuesday, November 24, 2009

H1: In the Pit of Despair

I hope that life is hard for you. It should be. Life on earth, on this cursed earth, is hard. I don't wish ill on you, but I do hope you realize that there is more than the 80 or so years (or less) that God gives us on this planet.

Despair can be my response to a situation that is perceived as hopeless. Maybe its a relationship. Maybe its a life path. Maybe its a trial. Maybe its a personal struggle.

Here are four ways that life can be hard and that we can despair:

1. Your Prayers Go Unanswered--God can respond to prayer four different ways. He can say "yes" or "no" or "wait" or He can ignore you (Psalm 66:18). I understand God will most often say "no" to my requests for: a new Mercedes, my golf slice to be corrected, or a Chipotle restaurant to be built in my kitchen. I understand this. God is not a genie.

But there are times when I feel I have a very valid request. A very good request. A very godly request, even. It is in these times that I expect God's answer to be "yes." When God answers with a "no" or a "wait" this can cause me to despair.

When I want to see someone's heart changed and God doesn't change them, I can despair. When I ask for justice to be served and its not, I can despair. When I request a trial in my life to end and it doesn't, I can despair.

2. Your Counsel is Untaken--This goes hand-in-hand with the first one. I like to counsel God (Isaiah 40:13-14). I think I have some pretty good ideas on how things should be run. I explain to God how things can be solved and how He can fix the problems that I am in. When He does not take my advice, I can despair.

3. Sin Goes Unchecked--When I look around and see evil flourishing and I see wickedness running rampant, I can despair. To see evil in the world and to see evil happen to me and to others around me, I can wonder what God is doing. Strife and contention in personal relationships seems to be endless. Sin, it appears, has no limits.

4. When God Seems Uncaring--Sometimes, it seems like God doesn't care. It seems like God is paralyzed to stop the evil, to change the hearts, to bring people back/near to Himself. How could God let sin go seemingly unchecked? When I don't see God doing anything, I can despair.

What can I do when I face such despair?

The answer tomorrow. For a preview, check out Habakkuk 1:1-4 (where these four areas of despair come from) and check out the rest of the book for the answer.

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