Anne of Green Gables, common cold, despair, hope, O Holy Night, word of the week

Despair: To Lose All Hope or Confidence

My God, My God,
why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
Psalm 22:1 (NKJV)

Doubt and despair. How could I have fallen from such great heights of wonder and delight in two days?

The common cold has descended upon my head and throat and chest. Weighing me down; tempting me to despair. You may laugh at me or you may hurl curses at me depending on how deep your struggle with doubt and despair.

I used to find comfort and challenge in the quote from Marilla Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables, “To despair is to turn your back on God.” But I’m not so sure about it anymore. Often the root of my despair rests in a sense that God has abandoned me to this germ-infested, pain-ridden world, full of brokenness and irreparable damage. Death and dying trumps life and living so many times that it’s simply impossible not to lose hope.

Even Jesus, anguished over the where are you God question:

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34 NKJV)

Jesus died on the cross. He surrendered to death and joy did come in the morning, but the hours in between still were marked with grief, doubt and despair.
 
Am I willing to w[rest]le with the despair long enough for it to bring new life?

I am not encouraging anyone to have an affair with despair, but at least let hopelessness do its work, let it bring you to your knees. Let the dark envelop you so that the light shining in the darkness means something–really truly gets into your heart, soul and mind.

And then once we’ve honestly poured out our wailings day and night, the gentle spirit will whisper a simple thought: Hope. Hope again.

 
 
O Holy Night (John Sullivan Dwight)
 
Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here come the wise men from Orient land.
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need,
to our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King, Before Him lowly bend!
 
 

 

6 thoughts on “Despair: To Lose All Hope or Confidence”

  1. Kel, this is a gut-wrenchingly honest post, and I appreciate your stark vulnerability. I don't know if I would say that death trumps life so many times that it is not possible not to lose hope, but it sure feels that way sometimes. I think ulimately if we know Christ, we can't lose hope. We just misplace it. He IS the hope, and if we have Him we always have hope, even if we can't perceive it, because by His Spirit, He lives inside us. We can't lose Him, ergo, we can't lose hope. As the lyrics to O Holy Night (American version) imply, the light of faith always exists. Even the Kings were "orienting" themselves to the Light. (Orient means East or sunrise). So as Christians, let us turn our hearts eastward to the sunrise, to the Sonrise, and when we do, we will see the light of His countenance, which always overcomes darkness. Thanks for this meaningful post!Love,Lynni

  2. Kel, I agree with Lynn in that this is a gut-wrenchingly honest post. And I too appreciate your stark vulnerability! As one who is just coming out of a very long, seven-year-wilderness experience, I knew despair. I too thought of Marilda's line: To despair is to turn your back on God. No. I never once turned my back on God. I knew He was carrying me; there for me; and I held on tightly to the hem of His Garment.Thank you for a beautiful post, Kel. Thank you for your heart!

  3. Lynni- I love how God orients us to Himself through shining the light in the darkness…I hesitated to post this "confession"…but I think it's better to admit our struggles and process the darkness so that we will be able to see the Light in the morning…Hope is born out of despair.

  4. Diane- Thanks you for admitting that the way is a wilderness, sometimes quite an extended one at that…truly God is with us through every dark and bright season…despair is just one way of admitting our desparate need for His everlasting arms!

  5. Kel–how ironic………sitting at home today with a sinus infection myself. Blech! How funny that we equate/connect our physical health to our spiritual lives sometimes. The line about letting 'hopelessness do it's work' really resonated. I just read in Oswald today about the danger of stepping in to stop God's work in others' lives because we want to keep them from despair. We are such humans, eh? I always love my visits with you.

  6. Sorry you are feeling poorly. I hope you feel better…I am little by little getting there…I had fun posting a link to your blog and reading some of your archives today…I like your poem about not being and A to Z kind of gal…I like order, but I rarely can keep everything in order…I can relate 🙂

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