I’m going to date myself… do you remember Hee Haw? One of their skits was a group of men who complained about how hard their life was & sang a little ditty. “Gloom, despair, & agony on me! (WOAH!) Deep dark depression excessive misery! (WOAH!) If it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all! (WOAH!) Gloom despair & agony on me….”
We snicker, but when life crushes in on us… especially for long periods of time… that IS how we feel isn’t it? I’ve been there & you probably have also. One of the things I love about our God is that He doesn’t hide the faith heroe’s struggles. I suggest even Jesus struggled with despair! Heb 4:15-16…
We do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy & find grace to help in time of need.
I wanted to take you to the verse we’ll end with so you’ll know through the message we’re moving from despair to hope! But let’s go back & observe some examples of despair in Scripture, then what God has given us to defeat it. You turn to Psalm while I read two other passages (Chapter in a moment)
Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, & he did not do it. 4 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, & he was angry. 2 And he prayed to the Lord & said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God & merciful, slow to anger & abounding in steadfast love, & relenting from disaster. 3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” 4 And the Lord said, “Do you do well to be angry?”
Job 3:1 After this Job… cursed the day of his birth. 2 And Job said: 3 “Let the day perish on which I was born, & the night that said, ‘A man is conceived.’ 4 Let that day be darkness! May God above not seek it, nor light shine upon it. 17:13 If I hope for Sheol as my house, if I make my bed in darkness, 14 if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’ & to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’ 15 where then is my hope? Who will see my hope?
Ps 77:7 Will the Lord spurn forever, & never again be favorable? 8 Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? 9 Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?
1 Ki 19:2 Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me & more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” 3 Then he was afraid, & he arose & ran for his life … 4 (Going) a day’s journey into the wilderness & came & sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 5 And he lay down & slept under a broom tree.
Jonah was in the throes of despair when God forgave sin! Point: Sometimes in blessings… that aren’t what we want… we can fall into despair. Job was in despair after losing all but his life. Point: It can come upon us as a result of unforeseen tragedy. The Psalmist questioned if God had forgotten him. Point: Despair can cause us to question God Himself (These are NOT accusations, but questions). Elijah fell victim to despair because of opposition as a result of honoring God. Point: Just because you love Jesus doing His work doesn’t mean you are spared.
No one, including ministers, are exempt from the feelings of despair & despondency to the point of wanting to die. In fact, some believers think it a sign of weakness or spiritual immaturity if they feel like giving up. Those thoughts & emotions are normal for all of us as the Scriptures we’ve read show. But our goal today is not to spend time focusing on the despair of life, but the hope we’re given in Christ!
Paul wrote to Timothy the following (1 Tim 4:13), “Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.” When Scripture is read publicly… in worship… The Spirit enlivens it… making it sharper than any two edged sword (Heb 4:12). Then we read in Ro 15:4,
“Whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that thru endurance & through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”
I am going to read a passage, then give you the reference… so if God speaks to you, the last thing you’ll hear is Chapter & Verse to write it down.
Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. 8 “As for me, I would seek God, & to God would I commit my cause, 9 who does great things & unsearchable, marvelous things without number: 10 He gives rain on the earth & sends waters on the fields; 11 He sets on high those who are lowly, & those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success. 13 He catches the wise in their own craftiness, & the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end. 14 They meet with darkness in the daytime & grope at noonday as in the night. 15 But He saves the needy from the sword of their mouth & from the hand of the mighty. Job 5:7-15
Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail & the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold & there be no herd in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation. 19 God, the Lord, is my strength; He makes my feet like the deer’s; He makes me tread on my high places. Hab 3:17-19
A bruised reed He will not break, & a faintly burning wick He will not quench; He will faithfully bring forth justice. Is 42:3
The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. Psalm 9:9-10
For He will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will lift me high upon a rock. 6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, & I will offer in His tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing & make melody to the Lord. Psalm 27:5-6
I sought the Lord, & He answered me & delivered me from all my fears. 5 Those who look to Him are radiant, & their faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, & the Lord heard him & saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, & delivers them. Psalm34:4-7
The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in His way; 24 though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. Psalm 37:23-24
God is our refuge & strength, a very present help in trouble. 2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, 3 though its waters roar & foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Psalm 46:1-3
Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, & you shall glorify Me. Psalm 50:15
Cast your burden on the Lord, & He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22
You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book? 9 Then my enemies will turn back in the day when I call. This I know, that God is for me. 10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise, 11 in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Psalm 56:8-11
For God alone my soul waits in silence; from Him comes my salvation. 2 He only is my rock & my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken. Psalm 62:1-2
You who have made me see many troubles & calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. 21 You will increase my greatness & comfort me again. Psalm 71:20-21
My flesh & my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart & my portion forever. Psalm 73:26
As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him. 14 For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. Psalm 103:13-14
The Lord upholds all who are falling & raises up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
When you pass thru the waters, I will be with you; & thru the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk thru fire you shall not be burned, & the flame shall not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. Isaiah 43:2-3
As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you… Is 66:13 (“Father” in Ps 103:13-14)
Let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, & He will bind us up. Hosea 6:1
The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; He knows those who take refuge in Him. Nahum 1:7
Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will (touch) the ground apart from your Father. 31 Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Mt 10:29-31
Come to me, all who labor & are heavy laden, & I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, & learn from me, for I am gentle & lowly in heart, & you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, & my burden is light.” Mt 11:28-30…
I conclude with my favorite…
Blessed be the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies & God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. 6 If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort & salvation; & if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. 7 Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. 2 Cor 1:3-7
IN CONCLUSION… When you fear, are afraid, stressed, in trial & uncertainty… I implore you, no… I BEG YOU… go to God through His Word. Meditate long on the Scriptures. Ruminate on them deeply. Press them into your mind, heart, and soul. Pray them to Him. He will sustain you by The Spirit and His resurrection power!