Finding Hope in a Moment of Despair
Have you ever been slammed with news that left you reeling? Emotions high and hope seeming to slip through your fingers?
I’ve had so many moments like this.
...news from a doctor
...a fight with a family member
…”no” to a long awaited prayer
These moments happen often, and yet, for so long, I let my emotions rule my response. Anger. Fear. Sadness. They were all a version of despair.
But as I sit here today and reflect on my response to yet another instance of bad news, I am taking a moment to consider what brings me from despair to hope.
What specific actions help me to stand up to the lie of defeat?
You don’t have to be swayed by despair. Christ calls you to live in hope and in victory. Here’s how:
1. The Grace to Feel
One of the biggest lies in a moment of despair is that you are wrong for feeling it. We are told to live in hope and to live in victory, but that doesn’t mean you cannot feel.
It simply means that you bring those feelings to the Lord and trust that He is with you.
When you receive bad news, when you are hurt by a friend, when you are disappointed with an answer, allow yourself the grace to feel it.
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Jesus himself experienced these emotions.
He wept when Lazarus died.
He threw tables in anger when the temple was misused.
Emotions are a natural response and it is okay to feel them.
But don’t allow yourself to get stuck in them.
Have a good cry. Or punch your pillow a few times. But then it’s time to move forward and give it to God.
2. A Prayer for Strength
When we go through difficult times, it is so important to remember where our strength comes from.
I know that when I get upset, I oftentimes let my mind drift its way through all the things I can do to fix the problem.
I put my energy and my focus into my own strength.
And time and time again, I fail to find peace because true peace comes from surrendering our pain to God.
So when you are in a moment of despair, take it to God.
It may be a feeble prayer of just a few words. But God knows your heart and He knows your intention. In fact,
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. -Romans 8:26
When you cannot think of the words to say, simply placing your heart before God is enough. The Holy Spirit will intercede on your behalf.
I find it helpful to write out a prayer that I can say when my emotions are too high. You can find Prayers for When It’s Hard to Pray in the Free Resource Library.
I like to put these somewhere I can find them when I need them. They help me to focus my mind and my heart on God and in doing so to surrender my heart and find the strength to move forward.
3. Memorize Healing Words
One of the greatest ways to overcome the lie of defeat is to have Scripture at the ready.
When Jesus was in the desert, he was tempted by Satan. And every time that Satan tempted Him, Jesus replied by quoting Scripture.
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” -Matthew 4:10
When we are threatened by our emotions, we are being tempted by Satan.
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“You can’t do this”
“You are a failure”
“You won’t get through this”
Whatever it is that Satan is throwing at you, you can take your stand, just like Jesus did, with Scripture at the ready.
Take a moment and consider what tends to hinder your hope? What pulls you into despair? Once you have discovered that, you can find Scripture to combat it.
I love to repeat Philippians 4: 4-9 because it reminds me that in order to find peace, I need to focus my mind on what is good.
Find Scripture and memorize it so that you are ready to take your stand against the lies of defeat and the overwhelming despair.
4. Reach Out
God created us to be in fellowship with one another. He knew we would need the support of friends to help us weave through the ups and downs of life.
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When things are good, we rejoice together. When things are hard, we mourn together.
Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. -Romans 12:15
When you are threatened by despair, it is so important to reach out to someone. A friend, a mentor, a pastor, a fellow church member. Find someone and simply reach out.
We are meant to carry each other’s burdens. We are called to walk alongside our brothers and sisters and to point them to Christ.
Think of one person you can reach out to when you are in a moment of despair. Find someone who will listen, but not let you wallow in your pain. Find someone who will point you to your loving Father and remind you of your hope in Christ.
Hi Nicole, Loved this just as I love everything you do! I just made a chart that had the thought or lies I believe and across from it the scripture we can use to replace it! God has put like thoughts on our hearts!
Blessings and smiles,
Thank you so much, Lori! I definitely love the chart that you created! It is definitely a great resource! Thank you for stopping by! 🙂
You continue to bless me. I have known despair and He delivered me through His Word and by prayer of friends and family. Thanks for linking up with us at the #LMMLinkup this week.
It has been awhile since I have had those type of experiences, but I remember enough to know that these are excellent steps that will help many others. I would never want to go through a tragedy or crisis without God holding me and carrying me through to the other side, however long it takes.
I love this post – God intended us to be relational and I think so often we feel bad casting our burdens on someone else that we can feel alone. Grateful to be reminded of His love for us.
Definitely, Madalyn. Thanks!
Wonderful post. So often we feel overwhelmed, and we just need to keep these things in mind.
Thank you for sharing your disappointments, as much as how you overcome them. Both are so valuable and a service to the rest of us. Sometimes knowing others are not going from one high point to another is what counters the lies from our enemy. Being honest and transparent is a gift we can give others. Thanks Nicole:)
Great points, Gretchen. I think transparency is SO important. Thank you for your input! 🙂
Nicole, I just love everything about this post. So practical and filled with such truth. I’m all for allowing yourself to feel and have emotions. Yes, even Jesus knew that there were appropriate times for anger. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!
Thank you so much, Jen! Thanks for stopping by 🙂
Great points … I think I’m an avoider when despair happens? I try to busy myself, and keep my mind off the tragedy that’s happening. I’ve also been ingrained from an early age to “get away.” When my dad died (when I was four), my aunt took my mom and I on a vacation to “get away” and escape. After my grandma died in April, I went on a trip to California, just by myself. Traveling is, for me, a great way to clear my mind and gain a new perspective. It doesn’t have to be a super long trip. Roadtrips are great, too.
I’m not saying we should avoid our problems, but it’s good to just not think about them for a while. We’ll have to deal with them, eventually, but a moment to just relax and unwind … sometimes, that’s all it takes to face a challenge with new perspective.
Everything happens for a reason, I believe. xoxo
Great point, Nicole. Putting things in perspective can be so important. Thank you for sharing 🙂
It’s true, sometimes I just need to cry about something first – or cry to God about it – and then I can move forward after that.
Yes, crying can help so much! It’s amazing the release of emotion and the peace that can come from it! Thank you for sharing, Sarah!
I love your action steps. The hardest one for me is to reach out but amazing what comes back in return.
Reaching out definitely takes courage and strength, but God provides! And it is SO amazing what happens when we do reach out!
Thank you for this! I’m currently in a season of mourning as I’ve been told it will be difficult for me to have more children.
I’m glad you could find encouragement here, Nicole. I hope that you can find hope and peace during this difficult time.
Thank you for this. I have to see a doctor in February to see if I have MS. I will employ some of these tips!
Facing doctors is tough, but God does give us strength and grace. Praying you will find hope and peace in the coming weeks, Jennifer.
Thank you for this! I would love to share this in my page with your permission.
Sure, Betty! I would love for you to share it 🙂
This is so timely for me (I just received bad news about my dad’s health yesterday). Thank you!
So sorry to hear about your dad, Cindy. I’m glad you could find some encouragement here!
This is such a nice reminder! I especially like praying – it always works for me.
Prayer is powerful! Thanks, Ana!
Sometimes the hardest part is reaching out. And the hardest thing is often the vital thing. Thank you. Praying for the name of who God wants me to reach out to.
It definitely can be the hardest part, Joy. But I do think God will reveal it to us in His perfect timing. Thank you for stopping by!
This is beautiful, and I especially love the idea of repeating affirmations that help focus our thoughts on what we want to feel, rather than what we are feeling at the moment.
Definitely, Kirste. Thank you!
When I am trying to find hope, my first step is to pray. Praying helps calm me down and focus on what I need to do.
Prayer is so powerful! Thanks for sharing, Brittany!
Thank you for this. I want to be better about memorizing scripture for this very reason. It’s so powerful to pray His word! God bless!
Yes it is, Natalie! Something I’m working on this month, there is so much power in Scripture 🙂
What a great outline! We all experience pain. This is a wise way to address it. Thanks
Thank you, April! Very true, pain is something that we can all understand.
Your points are excellent. All of these helped me after our son died (28 years ago). We have had tragic death in our church this week- I wii share this on Facebook .
I’m sorry to hear about your loss, Carol. I’m so glad you could find some encouragement here.