Despair in the Air

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.

~Emily

Danger in the Lion’s Den…I mean Driveway

It was still dark and gusty when I ventured out of our house to discover that Hurricane Zeta had caused two trees to fall across our driveway across the power lines that run from the street down the ¼ mile length of our drive.  

Lines were laying on the ground between my car and my husband’s truck, as well as looping over the brushes and trees.  The wisteria that normally looks elegant against barbed wire fencing, now appeared to be holding naked Christmas lights.  

With a massive amount of trepidation, I tiptoed around the truck, watching every single step I took.  I shone the spotlight down the driveway and saw a humongous tree draping it’s self dramatically across the power lines.  At that point, I couldn’t see the 2nd tree, but I knew we had a dangerous situation with wires on the super soaked ground and gusts of wind still shaking our tall trees.  

We have had power outages before, but they’ve never been a result of the direct lines coming into our home.  I have always heard to steer clear of downed lines, but never have seen them in real life!  I immediately called the power company and they told me to not touch the wires or anything near a broken line.

As I was standing in my driveway, wearing my PJs and a headlamp, I acknowledged this was dangerous.  I had a 9-year-old and a puppy to consider, as well as cars stuck on the “wrong” side of the downed wire.  Never mind the trees blocking the drive, a pretty small wire laying on the ground had me trapped.  

I prayed out loud in the aftermath of the storm that God would protect my family from being electrocuted.  As I prayed, I remembered that Daniel was saved from a dangerous situation too. In Daniel Chapter 6, the King has Daniel thrown into the pit where the lions were, which was essentially a death sentence.  Daniel prays to the Lord for deliverance and God sends an angel to protect him. The next morning, Daniel emerges unscathed.  

The lesson we learn from the Book of Daniel is that our God, who is capable of saving Daniel in the lions’ den, would also be capable of having saving Israel from captivity. 

In 2020, it also means that the same God who saved Daniel is able to save and protect us.  In the days after Hurricane Zeta, with our dangerous situation of downed power lines, our God is there.  He heard my prayer and is protecting my family, just as He protected Daniel.

I pray that you have a chance to see how God is protecting you too!

~Emily

“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions.” ~Daniel 6: 22 (NIV)