[Note: This EMPulse was initially intended to focus of discouragement. But the more I wrote, the more I realized it was about Despair. Thus, the shift to despair, which is far more lethal than being discouraged.]
I didn’t think it would ever end— this despair, this gut wrenching emptiness. The anguish had taken over my body, my soul…, my very reason for living. Will this ever end? How can God let this happen to me?
In the loss of a wife, a parent, a daughter, the grief is understandable. But betrayal? That’s a whole ‘nother kind of anguish. It hits us like a 10 lb. sledge hammer; how can this be happening? Stunned, we try to make sense of it all; but nothing is clear.
Discouragement is something that hits each of us at some time or another in our life. Things just don’t work out the way we had hoped. But despair leaves us with nothing, emptiness, totally alone within ourselves. A child dies, a promotion denied, expectations & hopes— smashed upon the rocks. We’ve all been there. But what to do about it? Some suggestions—
1. Give in to the grief. You can never recover from your grief unless you let it have full sway over your heart. Reel in its devastation. Feel the depths of it grip.
2. Talk to a safe-person. Not necessarily your lover or spouse. NEVER your child. Find someone who holds your confidence and open your heart to them. Cry. Sob. Weep. NOT to someone who will try to “fix it,” but to one who will simply let you be you in this moment.
3. Cry out to/at God. You can blame Him. But you know it’s not His fault. Cornelius VanTil once said “The only way we can slap God in the face is if He picks us up and holds us in His arms.” ‘Nough said.
4. Give it Time. Sometimes… lots of time. Whoever said Time heals all wounds, was right. And, truly, some pain never leaves us.
5. Hope. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; [2 Corinthians 4:8-9] The hardest thing I have ever done is to hope in the midst of the darkness & despair— truly The Dark Night of the Soul, [c. 1577-1579. Saint John of the Cross], takes on new meaning once we’ve been dashed upon the rocks.
6. Make Decisions. Like what? No, wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. This topic is so important that it will be the focal point of my next installment.
For now, if you are just entering your despair, feel it deeply. If you are in the midst of your grief, grieve. If you are just recovering, somewhat, don’t beat up on yourself for not handling your pain better. The Psalmist David once wrote—
[Note2: These suggestions are in no way sequential, complete, or final. Facing despair is far more intricate than this article infers.]
Why art thou cast down, O my soul?
and why art thou disquieted in me?
hope thou in God:
for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
~ Psalm 42:5. (AKJV)