HOPE IN DESPAIR￼
“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, in so much that we were despaired even of life: but we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us”2 Corinthians 1: 8-10
No other statement infuses a reminder that there’s hope even in times of despair like the words of Jesus which He said to His disciples in John 16:33, the master speaking said: “this I say to you that in me you might have peace, in the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. Oooh, what a word of refreshing!
Jesus’ statement paraphrased is like saying “Challenges may come but no matter the challenge, keep this in mind, I have overcome for you”. The world is full of negativity—negative energy, negative vibes, all over the place and because of this it’s important we know where to find hope in times of despair. Being reminded of God’s promise(s) is matchless to any other method of finding hope. God’s word naturally triggers hope. The word of God is our hope.
Like an anchor, our heart when firmly fixed to the hope of the word that does not fail can be certain to find safety, refuge, defence, comfort, when the ocean of life seems to be raging. And you know what? The anchor doesn’t fail because it cannot. God and His word are one. For His word to fail is for Him to fail.
How about if I’ve been holding on to hope for long and still I can’t see anything happening? To be very honest I’ve never been at a point where I’m experiencing protracted delay or despair. What the word says is that “weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). The word of God already gives an impression that despair is supposed to be short compared to the length of time during which a man experiences God’s goodness. Weeping may take the night but joy is coming at day and will last through the rest of the time. A woman is never in labour pain all her life; it’s for a period. She may be pregnant for 9 months and then the whole process climaxes on the day of delivery, but once she’s delivered her baby, she breaks out in joy. And so I believe it is not God’s will for believers to go through protracted sufferings. So what does a believer do in cases where things are overly delayed? The word of God asks us to resist the devil. Many times believers pray as though it is God causing a delay when in the real sense there’s a demonic operation causing things to be delayed. The believer must engage in discernment to know when it is just a natural course of things happening or there’s a demonic activity causing the delay.
Like the pregnant woman who during that period may experience some discomfort, I believe also that times of despair can be in a way similar to this—when a man is experiencing discomfort because of what he’s about to give birth to. Thus, if peradventure a believer is going through protracted difficulties, bible wisdom teaches us to look ahead and not focus on the situation; to be grateful for the joyful things that the seeming pain of the present will bring in the future. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!!
2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”. What a perspective to have.
FURTHER READING: 2 CORINTHIANS 4:11-18
CONFESSION: I boldly declare that my hope in God’s word remains ever sure, ever strong. I declare that my light affliction is always for a moment (no matter how seemingly long it may be). I declare that it is not forever, and I look forward expectantly to the great joy that will proceed from it. Amen.