Christians and despair

I posted this in response to a comment on my post “Does the Body Have Faith to Share?” in which I expressed despair.  I want to use it as its own post because we Christians are not good at dealing with people who have reach the point of despairing.  In fact, I have heard it said that the one thing that Christians are not allowed to do is despair.  And yet . . .

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” – Jesus

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” – David (Psalm 22)

How long, O LORD, must I call for help, but you do not listen? Or cry out to you, “Violence!” but you do not save? – Habakkuk 1:2

Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? – Jeremiah 20:18

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” – Isaiah 49:14

Why, O LORD, do you reject me and hide your face from me? – Psalm 88:14

There is a reason these sorts of passages are found throughout scriptures. Christians need to encourage each other, but we have GOT to stop shaming people for those times when pain and suffering brings them to the point of despair. Jesus himself knew what it was like to be so overwhelmed by his suffering that he accused God of leaving him alone and unprotected. When we do not allow each other to express these sentiments, we do not stop people from feeling them; we just make them suffer in silence. Sometimes life is truly too much for us. Sometimes God seems to be failing us and although in our heads we know that God is faithful, our hearts see no evidence of it and break. The body has been told to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15). Sometimes a person really does need to be told to buck up and stop feeling sorry for themselves, but more often we need to resist the urge to deny or minimize a person’s trouble and pain and do like Job’s friends after God chastised them: “They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the Lord had brought upon him” – Job 42:11.

4 thoughts on “Christians and despair

  1. So true, so true. Dare I say it, especially in the African American culture. Too often we are mandated to suffer for the Lord since He is so well pleased with our despair! Fortunately, there are some of us out here who understand that in life there will be suffering from time to time but who wrote the rule that it has to be perpetual? Weeping may indeed endure for a night, but joy will eventually come. Check out Peace Becca.

  2. I agree that many times people are uncomfortable and do not just want to sit with someone who is grieving and needs to grieve. Grieving is natural and we only see through the glass darkly, so there are times where we will not understand the what or why and times that we are profoundly hurt as some of the prophets were. God can handle it as we cry out to Him. He will always show those who trust in Him and His Word, a way through.

    1 Corinthians 10:13 KJV There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able ; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

    Job’s friends missed the entire message of all those chapters. It was not the Lord that brought anything on Job, it was satan. The friends continued to blame God. And we may be tempted to blame God, at times of confusion, but Job never fell to that temptation. That is the lesson of all those chapters. The friends did not truly console Job by blaming God. God consoled Job when Job cried out to Him.

    Job 1:22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right , as my servant Job hath 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept : lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right , like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went , and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job . 10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before

    Hebrews 11:6 KJV But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

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