“I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” – Psalm 27:13

Hope.

That daring expectation of God’s goodness which enables me to pick my foot up and take the next step in this thing called life.

Despair.

The complete loss or absence of hope. That which rails at me to give up the fight, to lay down and wait until death claims me.

Both have been the experience of saints through the ages. David surely understood them.

Imagine being betrayed by your own father-in-law, a man afflicted by the hordes of hell whom you soothed with your sweet songs. Hunted like a dog, ripped from your closest friend, and slandered by those who should have supported you.

If that wasn’t bad enough, David had two opportunities to take Saul’s life and end this madness, yet he honored the Lord and spared him. And how was he rewarded? Further hunts for his life.

David eventually loses heart and flees his homeland to join the Philistines. To prove his loyalty, David claims his spoils come from raids on Israeli cities, when in reality he’s wiping out every living soul in the surrounding pagan cities to cover up his lie. In fleeing Saul, David becomes every bit the same monster.

The last vestige of hope falls while he and his men march to war against his own people. The Philistine leaders get cold feet and order David and his men to leave lest they turn traitor. But when David arrives at his city, he finds the women and children gone, taken captive by Amalekite raiders.

At this moment, not only had David lost everything. He’d cost his men everything. And now they want to stone him.

If ever there were a time to lay down and die, it was now. Why fight anymore? All his efforts, both righteous and wicked, had led to complete failure.

Yet, in that moment, David chose to reject everything his senses told him and laid hold of hope.

“…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.” – 1 Samuel 30:4.

Paul the apostle understood this battle. In 2 Corinthians 1:8 he revealed his ministry team was so burdened with the weight of their difficulties that they “despaired even of life” .

Yet, he grasped hope. “We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are confused, but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken. Struck down, but not destroyed.” – 2 Corinthians 4:8.

I’m so thankful there is hope when I’m weighted down. That when I’m confused by life or broken by my own failure, I don’t have to give up. That I can say with David in Psalm 42:5, “Why art thou cast down O my soul? Hope thou in God.”

If you’re struggling with despair today, lay hold of hope. Fight! Reject the lies of the enemy, for you are  not destroyed 🙂

And listen to this song. I think it will lift your spirits.

Find hope
When all the world seems lost
Behold
The triumph of the cross
His power
Has trampled death and grave
Our life found in His name
The greatest name of all….

 

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