Life is hard at times.
The challenges we face come in varying shades and degrees. There are times when we feel as if we are on “top of the world” and then there are those seasons in life when it seems as if the world is crashing down on us.
It’s in these dark times that the possibility of succumbing to despair exists; feeling as if the hope for a better tomorrow is out of our reach.
Causes of Despair
Despair can show up in our lives after a job loss, a devastating illness, a financial crisis, the death of a loved one or the end of a meaningful relationship.
We can see our own personal struggles illustrated in the stories of dynamic people in the Bible who held onto their faith during difficult times. Faith walkers such as Sarah, Joseph, Abraham, Job, and Noah teach us that faith is about being able to go through the storms of life and resting fully in God during the process.
The power of despair can also take root in our minds and spirits when we look at the chaos that exists in our world and the daunting times we live in. The mounting social issues we witness and experience individually and collectively as a society are at times heavy and burdensome, and provides a gateway for fear about the future.
When we look at the social issues affecting our world such as homelessness, racism and political discord we must remain connected to God. And remember who he is in the midst of it all.
An issue of hunger can cause us to reflect on how God provided for those who suffered in what seemed like impossible situations, the woman with the jar of oil, the feeding of thousands with five loaves and two fish and the manna that poured out from the heavens.
In challenging times, despair is always present inviting us to give up, to lose hope and to test our faith.
Many times we can find ourselves wrestling with our doubts and beliefs. Parents who are struggling to keep their children housed in a safe environment, innocent people killed by those who harbor hatred in their hearts and minds or when leadership in the highest offices of our lands engage in behavior that conflicts with our own moral compass; despair can set in.
But as people of faith, we must remain steadfast.
We must remain mindful and grateful for the good that still exists in our lives and in the world despite what is happening around us. Every challenge is an opportunity to grow, to strengthen our character and to learn valuable lessons.
Life happens just as it is supposed to as “ there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven.” ( Ecclesiastes 3:1) It’s in these moments we must trust in God, the process we are going through and our faith even when we don’t understand why.
What To Do During Times Of Despair
- Pray. Keep an open and ongoing line of communication with God. Be willing to listen as well as share with Him your worries and concerns.
- Remain faithful. Trust and believe everything is going to work out for your best interest. Remember that faith reminds us that God is in control.
- Maintain a heart of gratitude. Practice being grateful for the good things in your life. Keep track of them in a journal or on your phone and read your list often to remind yourself of your blessings.
- Work to find solutions. Do your part to make your situation better and when you have done all that you can, surrender the rest.
- Connect to community. Surround yourself with trustworthy people who you can talk to openly about your struggles, concerns, and plans.
Tara C. Pray
Tara C. Pray writes over at wordsbytara.com. She's currently hosting the Pen*Paper*Write Journaling Series and working on her first book. You can learn more about her by visiting her site or by following me on Instagram.