How Despair Becomes Victory

"Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." — Ecclesiastes 1:2

How did Solomon, once the richest, wisest and perhaps most powerful king in the world fall into such despair that his whole life seemed vain and empty?

How does one who knows so much, sees so much, and receives so much from God end up in despair?

How do strong believers who once tasted of the goodness of the Lord end up bitter, cynical, and despairing of life? 

I’ve seen it over and over again.

OK, you might be thinking. You’ve got me. I’m jaded. I’m cynical. Solomon was right. It is all vanity and there’s not a lot I can do about it. So eat, drink and be merry….for tomorrow we really will die.

A friend said that to me one day. He quit pretending to be spiritually healthy. He admitted his weaknesses openly and confessed that his soul was in despair.

I appreciated his honesty and told him what I have told many people: look up!

I know that sounds like a cliché, but I’ve learned that there’s a spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical discipline involved. Turning our eyes, our hearts, and our minds—even our faces—upward, toward the Lord, is an act we have to ask the Lord for the strength to predetermine to do.

“Despair is a greater sin than all the sins which provoke it, “ C.S. Lewis said, making a strong point.

While we cannot control the circumstances of our lives, we can choose how we respond.

“Oh yeah?” my friend countered. “What if you’re so depressed you can’t choose?”

What if your despair is so heavy, that you cannot even think of looking up mentally or physically?

Cling to and recite out loud so you can hear the words of the Bible: “O Lord, you have lifted me up…You, O Lord, are the lifter of my head…” (Psalm 30:1; 3:3).

Read the Psalms over and over, and learn how to go from despair to victory.

A cry to God, one move toward Him and He will answer.

The answer may be in the form of family, friends, counselors, or other help, but He will provide whatever it takes.

God will give you strength to look up, to see again the person of Jesus, and to pray for a fresh vision of God, who He is, and how much He loves you!

Ray Bentley