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Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Joy of Hope Out of the Temptation to Despair

CRISES of purpose and relationships on the rocks: two key aspects of life when life turns against us. And then there is the inexplicable disharmony of many threads of life that just seem a confused mishmash.
Whether by grief or depression or anxiety — or a perfect storm of all three — or it’s the reality of despair over a life situation that can’t be changed, we all need hope. God knows and so do we.
We search for hope because we cannot handle despair. And hope is found on loan when we find something that works; even for the day. Such a short hope inspires hope of a longer hope.
The helplessness of despair is an unconscionable blight on the human condition. So many I’ve talked to say words to the effect, “I could not believe life could be this bad… no matter what I tried, it felt I couldn’t loosen the grip of this.”
Despair is real as it is lived through the passage of time and the space of existence in the body, mind and soul.
But, because God is always near, a solution, too, is always near. Nearer than we’re inclined — especially in despair — to think.
As the psalmist says, “My lips will shout for joy when I sing praise to you — I whom you have delivered.” (Ps. 71:23)
When we pray for the help of delivery, and we keep searching through God’s Word, and we wonder with endeavour into what we can do, God is faithful and he leads us by his Spirit.
But we also need to be wise and know when to push forward. Some days are meant to floor us. Some days we’ll not have the energy or inclination to challenge the nemesis. And if we don’t give up, trying each day to do the best we can, we will overcome through the delivery that our Lord brings us through.
The joy of hope brings an expanse of awareness for the goodness of God. From this we see that life truly is a wonderful thing, even if the evil one would want to wreck the experience.
The joy of hope out of the temptation to despair is hope enough not to settle for giving up.
Such joy is taken on loan — a real possession of the soul — even in helplessness. We simply need to ask God and be prepared to grasp it. It costs nothing but a willingness to accept it.
The joy of hope is a free gift we may possess even at the time of asking.

© 2015 Steve Wickham.

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