Despair of ever being saved, “except thou be born again,” or of seeing God “without holiness,” or of having part in Christ except thou “love Him above father, mother, or thy own life.” This kind of despair is one of the first steps to heaven.
The person characterized by a despairing heart has a propensity to make an idol of easing pain, feeling good, and creating comforts. This person may find themselves making conscious and/or unconscious statements like “I deserve!” or “I’m totally helpless!” The person who chooses to not deal with a despairing heart may be characterized by a victim mentality, an inordinate need for security, self-pity, strained relationships and a propensity to self-medicate or escape through fantasy or self-destructive behavior. Others might comment that their behavior or moods are melancholy, or down in the dumps, when relating to others they can be distant, isolating, draining, or self-absorbed.
The main art in the matter of spiritual living is to know how to handle yourself. You have to take yourself in hand, you have to address yourself, preach to yourself, question yourself. You must say to your soul: “Why art thou cast down-what business have you to be disquieted?” You must turn on yourself, upbraid yourself, condemn yourself, exhort yourself, and say to yourself: “Hope thou in God” -instead of muttering in this depressed, unhappy way. And then you must go on to remind yourself of God, who God is, and what God is and what God has done, and what God has pledged Himself to do. Then having done that, end on this great note: defy yourself, and defy other people, and defy the devil and the whole world, and say with this man: “I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance, who is also the health of my countenance and my God.”
The very structure of being human is such that we can only be what we were created to be and are called to become by resting transparently in God. This means, among other things, that being rightly related to God is the only way truly to be oneself. If we fail to rest transparently in Him – that is, if we fail to have faith in God – then there will be a fundamental misrelation at the center of our existence and this is the condition of being in despair (Bruce Baugus).
Despair is the perfection of unbelief.
Our vision in the mountain should be our comfort in the valley. In days of rapture, we should store up the lights for days of depression. In solitude the memory of the sanctuary should gladden us. It matters little how dry and weary the land is, so long as we are sure that God is ours.
Desperation can endure any difficulty as long as it has hope. Desperation will look under every rock possible for hope. It will pore over the Internet and empty its pocketbook or wallet just for a glimmer of hope. It will consult every false teacher in this world and experiment with every opportunity just for a ray of hope. Enduring, all-sufficient hope is the promise Jesus offers us when we place our trust in Him.
So often our disappointment from foiled plans is only the hidden love of God in action saving us from greater destruction to ourselves.
Christian, it does not need to be this complicated! Do you really think the infinite lover of our soul has neither the desire nor power to keep you from despair? Didn’t He promise you His joy (Jn. 15:11)? Didn’t He promise you true life? So, not to minimize any of our trials, but when we despair, we can’t blame God. The trial is only made worse through our own choices and ignorance or unwillingness to do it God’s way and His ability to bring joy despite and through the trial (Jas. 1:2). We choose the bad attitude. We choose the unhealthy conversations. We choose to the bad theology. We chose to be ignorant of biblical teaching. We choose to exhibit unbelief in the promises of God.
It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.
Many times great difficulties precede special works of God. You can even say that God wins His greatest victories in the midst of apparent defeat. This can be clearly demonstrated in the life of our Lord on earth. When Jesus was crucified and placed in the tomb, it looked like the forces of unrighteousness had triumphed. However, it was in this time of apparent defeat that our victory for our salvation was won. This time of apparent defeat was followed by the resurrection of Christ.
Discouragement is dissatisfaction with the past, distaste for the present, and distrust of the future. It is ingratitude for the blessings of yesterday, indifference to the opportunities of today, and insecurity regarding strength for tomorrow. It is unawareness of the presence of beauty, unconcern for the needs of our fellowman, and unbelief in the promises of old. It is impatience with time, immaturity of thought, and impoliteness to God.