Pandemic/COVID 19. Loss of income. Election results. Hurricane/earthquake/tornado. Loss of a friendship or marriage. Adultery. Division of a Church. Financial hardship. Miscarriage.
I’ve really been thinking a lot about everything that seems to have gone wrong in 2020. In particular, yesterday was a bad day. A sad day. A day where I actually cried at church…in despair.
Have you been thinking about it too? When have you experienced despair? And have you ever felt repressed by despair?
Was it this last week, when the election showcased how politically divided Americans are? Did you feel it when you heard Sean Connery or Alex Trebek had died? Do reports of another natural disaster overwhelm you?
Maybe it was a time you had to decide about school or career paths. Perhaps a relationship had you feeling despair. Sometimes it could be a church related issue. The weight of that feeling; the despair feels overwhelming.
Repressed means to put down or subdue by force. For instance, to repress a rebellion. It can also mean to end, limit or restrain by intimidation or other action. For instance, to repress a heresy or inflation. Essentially, you begin to feel such despair over a situation that you are repressed. You are “put down or subdued.”
When we feel repressed, as a result of despair, we can be blinded to the goodness God has for us. Throughout scripture, God reminds us that despair does not mean repressed.
“we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing;persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” ~2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (NASB)
In this one verse, we have such rich promises from God:
We can be afflicted, but we can’t be crushed.
We can be perplexed, but not despair.
We can be persecuted, but not abandoned.
We can be struck down, but not destroyed.
While I felt despair today, I know that there are promises from God that counter that. And when I remind myself of those promises, I begin to see the greatness of 2020. I can see the blessings of family time, of school work with my child, of the antics of a new puppy, of sunshine on my face, and greatness of neighbors who share so generously.
My feeling of “despair in the air” is slowing becoming “stressing the blessings.”
I pray that the last two months of 2020 can show you the blessings…despite the despair.