Answer to despair - Hope 103.2

Answer to despair

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsSaturday 20 Jul 2013Morning Devotions with Chris WittsLifeReading Time: 0 minutes


In the United States back in 1983 a company called “United Technologies” decided to do something to lift the morale of their employees. They sent out a letter to each employee to affirm them and re-state they were valued members of the company,and each had a part to play. Some of the staff felt they didn’t amount to much and were irrelevant. And so here’s what the boss said to them. “How important are you? More than you think. A rooster minus a hen equals no baby chicks. Kellogg minus a farmer equals no corn flakes. If the nail factory closes,what good is the hammer factory? The most skilful surgeon needs the ambulance driver who delivers the patient. Just asRogersneed Hammerstein,you need someone,and someone needs you”.

It’s a message we need to hear from time to time,because life has a habit of getting us down,and we forget to count our blessings,and we forget the good things of life. I want to think for a moment about overcoming despair,and it’s basically about the way we think,with God’s help. There are some issues outside our own control,but the way we choose to think is entirely up to us. The apostle Paul when in prison wrote some very encouraging words. “May you always be joyful in your union with the Lord. I say it again. Rejoice. ” (Philippians 4:4). Paul was writing to a church to thank them for a gift,and he turns it into an opportunity to lift their spirits,and give them a new way to think,as he does for us today. It doesn’t always work,but so often how we think certainly does influence the outcome in our lives.

That’s why Paul said “rejoice in the Lord”. Seems strange to rejoice when life is going badly for us,but we are told to rejoice in the Lord. And that is an excellent piece of advice. In Psalm 139,we read David who asks what is life all about,and he prays “Lord,You are all around me on every side. You protect me with your power. Your knowledge of me is too deep. It is beyond my understanding”. When we picture the majesty and power of God,we are lifted up from our despair. Then we picture Jesus Christ coming to the world. Jesus,the living God,clothed in a flesh and blood person. A person we can imagine. There a few reasons why we can rejoice. And in those moments of despair pray to God. Take Him for real and do as Paul suggested. “Don’t worry about anything,but in all your prayers ask God for what you need,always asking Him with a thankful heart. And God’s peace,which is far beyond human understanding,will keep your hearts and minds safe in union with Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). We can believe that God answers our prayers,because He said He would,even though answers don’t come in the way we envisage. The important message here is that God gives us what we need,instead of what we want. And there’s a big difference. We have a mighty God who listens to us all the time,and shares every moment of our lives. And that’s a wonderful comfort,especially when life is hard or we feel overwhelmed with a problem.

We all face troubles of some kind,and in that moment of difficulty it’s easy to despair and turn to other solutions and ignore the Lord God who has the answers. Paul says “Fill your minds with those things that are good and that deserve praise; things that are true,noble,right,pure,lovely and honourable” (v8). So we are to set our minds on these things. Paul says to guard your soul. Don’t buy another set of troubles to get out of the one that you’re in. Preserve your integrity at all costs.

I read of an army chaplain who once posted a sign on the door of his quarters that said “If you have troubles,come in and tell us about them. If not,come in and tell us how you did it”. It’s all about the way we think and respond. With Jesus in our lives,we have solutions. Because as Paul said “if you do these things,the peace of God,which passes all understanding,will be yours”.