Summary: Looking at the proper response to despair.
Dealing With Despair
During the Thirty Years' War in the 17th century, German pastor Paul Gerhardt and his family were forced to flee from their home.One night as they stayed in a small village inn, homeless and afraid, his wife broke down and cried openly in despair. To comfort her, Gerhardt reminded her of Scripture promises about God's provision and keeping.Then, going out to the garden to be alone, he too broke down and wept.He felt he had come to his darkest hour.Soon afterward, Gerhardt felt the burden lifted and sensed anew the Lord's presence.Taking his pen, he wrote a hymn that has brought comfort to many.
"Give to the winds thy fears; hope, and be undismayed”
“God hears thy sighs and counts thy tears”
“God shall lift up thy head”
“Through waves and clouds and storms He gently clears the way”
“Wait thou His time, so shall the night soon end in joyous day"
(Source:Our Daily Bread, May 7, 1992)
Scripture tells us that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”. - Psalm 30:5
Today, I would like to preach about “Dealing With Despair”. Despair is defined as - “a feeling of hopelessness” Have you ever been there? Have you ever looked at your circumstances and said “there is no hope”?
o Do you have a marriage that is in trouble and it seems that you are bound for divorce?
o Do you have an addiction to drugs or alcohol that you cannot seem to overcome?
o Do you have a loved one facing a serious illness?
o Are there problems at work or maybe you have even lost your job?
o Do you have bills that you can’t seem to pay and the creditors keep calling?
o Have you had to bury someone special to you and you are consumed with grief?
o Do you have a wayward son or daughter that you worry about day and night?
Maybe you are walking through a valley and you are facing many difficult circumstances at once. Sometimes it is in the darkest hour that God makes His presence known most clearly. He can use suffering and trouble to show us that He is our only source of strength. Many times when we are in moments of despair, we look to everyone and everything but God for help. And in many cases this response only adds to the despair. If despair means hopelessness, then the only place we CAN turn is to the ONLY one who can give us hope!! His name, Jesus Christ!
Jesus said Himself - in John 16:33 In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
these verses we have read today paint a picture of someone who is at rock bottom.We see a lady who is experiencing extreme difficulty in her life. She was a widow who was married to one of the “sons of the prophets”. The “sons of the prophets” was a group similar to a seminary today. This widow was bankrupt and the creditors were knocking on her door.In place of the debt her sons would be taken as slaves. We can assume that this woman had tried to raise some money and been unsuccessful. Now she comes to Elisha and asked for help. At this point her life was not what she wanted it to be. She was in an intensely difficult situation. There was nothing she could do to solve her problems.Through it all, she remained devoted to The Lord.
In her time of desperation she did not turn to family or friends. She did not go to someone for a loan to pay the debts. She turned to God’s man… the prophet Elisha. We can learn how to respond to difficulty by looking at her response to the trouble she faced: In the midst of her trouble she trusted the Lord. She turned to Him for the help she needed. Though she may have been confused or even angry about her circumstances she still trusted God. Though things looked dim and there seemed to be no hope, SHE STILL TRUSTED GOD!
When she explained her situation Elisha asked what she had in her house. She didn’t have much; in fact all she had was a little pot of oil. Elisha told her to v3 “Go and borrow as many empty jars as you can from your friends and neighbors.4 then go into your house with your sons and shut the door behind you. Pour olive oil from your flask into the jars, setting each one aside when it is filled.” - She was faithful and obedient.She did as she was told and the oil was multiplied. She then sold the oil and paid her debt.