Monday, April 15, 2013

Help In Deep, Dark Discouragement

“For God has said, ‘Not at all will I ever leave you, nor in any way will I ever forsake you,’ so that you may confidently say, ‘The Lord is my helper; what can any human being do to me?’”
Hebrews 13:5-6
We really need to hear these words resounding from within and through us at times. In deep and dark discouragement, where no soul ventures in going voluntarily, we hold aloft every dear intercession, with a silent desperation of a person frankly despairing.
At these times we will do anything for some respite. We feel weak; weaker than we should. And although we accept our weakness, because there is no point in fighting it, we are troubled by that selfsame weakness.
When we are in a hole, one dug down deep and so far above our heads is its top, how hard is it to extricate ourselves? It seems impossible and hardly worth the effort. Instead, we shrink into the dire necessity of an isolated forlornness, darker than we had previously contemplated.
These dark clouds that encumber our souls have gathered with surprising tenacity and coherence. These dark clouds have made a statement over us. We feel helpless against this spiritual barrage. And we have forgotten something very important.
Where is our hope? Where has our hope gone? Why does it feel so distant?
Adhering, Again, to the Ancient Truth
When our hope has vanished and it has been replaced by such a vacuum of what would be hope, we lose sight of an ancient truth: God has promised he will never (ever) leave us, nor (ever, in any way) forsake us.
The moment we have remembered this golden truth is the moment that those despairing dark clouds lift. What had previously vanished without a trace now comes back into view. In spite of our circumstance part of the burden lifts.
The best way of fighting rank hopelessness to the desperation of the soul at the end of its tether is to recall this most mighty of ancient truths.
All of our deep and dark discouragements do tend to come from our relationships; they have a relational cause. Whether it was by bad relationships in our formative years or bad relationships now is perhaps beside the point. Our need of good relationships puts us at risk, because we don’t always enjoy sound relational outcomes.
The main point is we now have access to a perfect relationship. And a relationship with God, though we are imperfect, is enough to impute God’s perfection over us.
When we are deeply discouraged, all we need to do is remember what God has said. Especially in the darkest of days and moods of gloom we are blessed by the soul-warming Presence of God.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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