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Hope vs. Despair

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If you, like me, empathize in the extreme with the sorrow and suffering of others, human and otherwise, then the constant trouble in today’s world may be causing you to experience an inner conflict of your own. That is where I have found myself lately and it was quickly leading me down the road to despair. Despair is the complete loss or absence of hope. And, as Marilla says to Anne, “to despair is to turn your back on God.” This is not at all what I believe or the state of mind I want to live in. I’ve had to do some work to realign my mind and heart with what I know to be true. This is what is helping me:

The first order of business is to remember that it’s not about how I feel, it’s about Who God is. And the only way to know Him is to read His actual Word. The Psalms are a good place to start. Read them aloud, pray them. And remember, the beautiful parts of the world are what reflect His nature, not the ugly.

Next, acknowledge that my despair isn’t helping anyone. There’s a part of me that has been afraid to let go of my intense feelings. What if, without them, I will fail to help? Maybe I won’t be as compelled to give and pray if I don’t feel all of the misery? But, as my daughter said, “lots of people give and pray without feeling this way.” That is true and got me thinking: I’m always going to feel something; I am a feeler, God made me this way. But, I am just as capable of feeling hope as intensely as I feel despair. The problem with despair, when left to run amok, is that it diminishes hope and will snuff out the last little flicker if we let it. How much better it is to help and pray with great hope!

Last, but not least, don't let the epic, world-sized battles overwhelm and paralyze me. We all know people in our tiny corners of the world, those in real life and those we’ve connected with on social media, who are fighting battles and need our attention and care. I will do better at tending to those. Besides being helpful to them and pleasing to God, it will keep me from thinking too much about myself, which is always the better way.

Make no mistake—if I could, I’d change things in a heartbeat. Everyone and everything on the earth would live in peace and plenty. But, you know what? It was changed in a heartbeat! The first heartbeat of a baby born in a manger. And He brought with Him the promise of an eternity of peace and plenty. Meanwhile, we wait, in empathy with others, not in despair, but in hopeful trust. We hope for a better now as well and pray 1 Timothy 2:1-3 like never before. We live in this world but we view it with an eternal perspective. Emmanuel, God with us, Hope of heaven.

 

 

Wishing you all a most blessed Christmas season,

Mary

{...pray for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior. 1 Timothy 2:1-3}

 

 

 

 

 


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