Lately I’ve had moments when I feel a wave of despair come over me. I know you have been there too. But, one thing that is new for me is that the Lord, in His graciousness, is allowing the Holy Spirit to speak these truths to me in those very moments and His truth brings peace. Every.single.time.
In the past, the despair has completely taken over. But recently, it’s almost as if I can see it coming and I immediately begin speaking these truths to myself. Speaking these truths, preaching the gospel to myself, those are ways the Holy Spirit is helping me to find hope in despair. I know it is His work in me, nothing of myself, because usually I can’t scrape up enough hope to pull myself out of despair.
When you feel the despair creeping in, when you can’t see past the next moment for fear of what tomorrow looks like, say these truths aloud with me. I’m right beside you speaking them to myself as well!
How to Find Hope in Despair
1. I trust you.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding…” Proverbs 3:5. When I acknowledge to the Lord that I trust Him, I am in essence reminding myself that He is in control and I am not. He is sovereign. He is faithful and I really can trust Him with the details of my life. Even when a circumstance appears to be negative and heart wrenching, He is good and He has my best in mind. Truly, friends, we just cannot lean on our own understanding. My understanding of the situation is so flawed and flesh filled. Keep repeating over and over again, “I trust You, Lord!”
2. I am loved.
“Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God.” 1 John 3:1. For God so loved ME that He gave His son for me. For your children. For your family. For the world. Sometimes I just need the reminder that I am loved by the creator of the universe. This isn’t being selfish and greedy to remind yourself of God’s love for ourselves. We live in a fallen world and let’s face it, often we feel unlovable! We know the depths of our despair without Jesus and we know we are lost without Him! But, because of the blood of Jesus I am loved unconditionally!
3. Nothing can separate.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” Romans 8:35. Sometimes I need the reminder that nothing, I mean nothing can separate me from His love. Not my angry outbursts at my children, not my selfishly made decision, not any of the secret sins our hearts harbor. God’s love for me is not based on what I do. Praise Him!
4. God is bigger than any evil in the world.
“Depart from me, all your workers of iniquity; for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has heart my supplication; the Lord will receive my prayer. Psalm 6:8-9. Do you hear David’s confidence in this Psalm? He was praying in a time of distress, according to the notes in my Bible, and that is quite obvious from the wording of the entire Psalm. David knew as He was praying that God would handle the evil doers. Do I have that same confidence in the Lord to fight the enemy of my soul? We may not be in a physical battle, but the battle is very real!
5. God is bigger than my deepest, darkest sin.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.” Psalm 51:1-2. Here is another Psalm where David acknowledges his great sin, yet He knows God is bigger. He knows God can cleanse Him and forgive Him. In the midst of our despair, we must not lose the hope that repentance and forgiveness are ours through Jesus!
6. In this world I will have trouble, but Jesus has overcome the world.
“In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. Often, from our viewpoint, it doesn’t look like Jesus has overcome much of the evil in this world. But, what I lose sight of is that we know the end of the story. We know the victory we have in Christ. We know what eternal joy is ours for the taking. We must keep our eyes on the finish line and not be distracted by what is on the sidelines.
7. His grace is an ocean and I’m sinking.
“He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9. His grace is boundless, friends. We just can’t wallow in our sin or our bad circumstances. We must preach the gospel to ourselves, that Jesus came for sinners just like me. Jesus came that we might have life abundantly and WITH HOPE.
8. I’m fixing my eyes on You, Jesus.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2. We learn very fast, when we look at ourselves too long, that we were never meant to gaze inward. We were made to look at Jesus. We were created to bring Him glory. We were formed, in the image of God, to be His image bearers. What does He look like? We must gaze on Him to see this life more clearly.
9. Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. When we remember where we have come from, when we remember the sin in our hearts, when we look to the grace of God, we can’t help but be hopeful. Sing the song if you need to, hymns and worship and singing and music are a sure way to restore hope in the moment!
10. God is good.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” Psalm 103: 1-5. Oh precious friends, God is so good. We must not forget all He has done for us. We must be grateful. Count your blessings…start naming them, aloud if you must! Give Him all the praise, go to sleep counting your blessings instead of sheep. There is nothing more hopeful than realizing all the multitude of gifts the Lord has already so graciously given us.
3 Years Off of Anti-Depressants
I would love for you to read an update now that I have been off all of my anti-depressants for 3 years and am thriving. God has been so good to me. My mindset has changed. My health has changed. We are never truly hopeless if we have Christ. We have the power of the Holy Spirit living within us giving us the power to make the steps necessary to BE TRANSFORMED.
My Journey Off of Anti-Depressants
Thank you for this timely reminder and gentle encouragement. I was truly ministered by your article. Sometimes we are caught unaware that our counsel to a despairing or depressed friend does not really help at all. Some counsels are too cliches and some are to condemning which all the more brings the depressed into the hole of depression, not quite liberating to the soul. Thank you so much. Keep inspiring!
I just want to say thank you so much for blogging on your experience and testimony of overcoming this. I am young mother (26 to be exact) of 3 beautiful inside and out children ages ranging from 7, 2, and 1. And I have just accepted and come to terms that I am depressed and experiencing depression. Your blog has help mW understand I am not alone and where to start and what to do and to help me stand on the word of Our God and trusting his every promise. When he says there is no greater temptation that your brethren has no already been tempted with and have overcome that in itself is hope for me within my soul along with you that it will be OK. Just want to say thanks from the deep with in my soul
Candace Crabtree says
Amanda — you are the reason I share my story on my blog. 🙂 THANK YOU for taking the time to share a little bit of your story with me. I thank GOD that He allows us to encourage one another, we need to hear from each other so that we can realize we are not alone.
My husband has just been laid off for the 5th time and I’m not sure we’ll make it this time. I kept thinking I was being punished, but this gives me hope. Thank you.