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.