A Hope That Overshadows Despair

ID-100111933Each day, I fight a battle: will I choose joy and surrender or despair.

With every thought, I teeter in one direction or another. Right now, I’m in more of a grit-my-teeth mode as a busy weekend and what appears to be an unsuccessful attempt to wean off some meds have set me back.

Last night, as I lay in bed, in pain from the tips of my toes to the top of my head, praying for the reprieve that would allow sleep to come, I thought, “No one understands.”

Which is true of whatever we face for unless one has been in that same spot, they’ll never truly get it.

But then a second thought came, just as quickly. No one needed to understand, for God knew. He knew my every struggle, my every tear. More than that, He was and always has been walking this journey with me.

He reminds me of this each and every morning I meet with Him in His Word.ID-10021187

This morning was no exception. I follow a habitual reading plan, going verse by verse, chapter by chapter: one from the Old Testament, one from Psalms or Proverbs, and one from the New Testament. When I come the end, I begin again.

Today, I landed in Psalm 39, written by David during a time of chastisement. He begins the psalm by saying–by determining within himself– not to sin in what he said. The notes in my study Bible say David was determined not to complain to others about what he was going through. David goes on to say, the more he thought about “it” (which I believe was the struggle he was enduring), the “hotter” or more upset he became.

Oh, how true this is! The more we contemplate our problems, the bigger they become until we are pulled into a pit of despair. So what is the answer? What can we do when our mind and our body is in revolt?

We put our hope in God”

“And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You” (vs. 7 NLT).

As some of you know, I have two chronic illnesses, both of which can lay me out, and on good days, make normal life more of a struggle. When I was first diagnosed, I spiraled into poor-me mode. It wasn’t pretty; it was counter-productive, and it kept me from fulfilling God’s purpose each day.

I’ve learned I must be extra diligent with my thoughts and consistent with my praise. No matter what’s going on physically, I always have a reason to praise–for God’s ever present comfort; for His Word, which I can always turn to for strength and peace; for the promise of eternity when pain and sorrow will be no more; for the blessings He’s given. For His strength made perfect in my weakness and for His purpose, even in my struggle.

The last truth is one I camp out on. I believe God is sovereign, faithful, and good, even when things get bad, and because He is sovereign, I believe everything has a purpose. Therefore, I can keep walking, knowing He will perfect that which concerns me, and that He *will* use every tear and struggle for His glory.

Today my sweet friend and sister in Christ, Delia Latham, wrote a devotion that really resonated with me. I know many of you have way more difficult struggles than I, and I know you, too, fight a daily battle between peace and despair. If that’s you, I encourage you to stop by Faith-filled Friends to read about our tendency to worship a sometimes God, and why we need cognitive rerouting. You can read it here.

I also encourage you to listen to this song. I find it simply beautiful.


livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this. Do you ever feel as if no one quite understands what you’re going through? During those times, do you tend to draw closer to God or pull from Him? The beautiful thing about grace is, whether we draw near to God or pull away from Him; whether we’re faith-filled or faithless, He remains faithful and faithfully near.

Like the song above says, never once has He or will He ever forsake us. Let that truth sink in today.

How does that make you feel? Do you still feel alone?

Share your thoughts here in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.


  1. Beautiful post. Listening to Matt Redman now. Sending up a prayer for you, and believing for breakthrough for all of us who struggle with these issues. hugs!

  2. Oh Jen, I DO know your pain and your discouragement. I do know how our mind will attack us. As the song sings….Know Every VICTORY…Love you friend.

      1. You got that right. I’d rather be poor and on Jesus’s side than rich and on the side of the evil one. Have a great, productive, feeling-better kind of day.

  3. And yet…in spite of it all you continue to amaze the world with your faith! God is good, all the time…but life isn’t always fair. Someday, we’ll understand it all. God bless you.

    1. Oh, Audrey, your comment brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for the kind words. I don’t think it’s so much about my faith being strong but rather God being so lovingly strong on my behalf and continually encouraging me to rest in and focus on Him. He does the rest.

  4. This is such a great post, Jennifer! One thing that all difficult trials share, is the sense that no one understands what we’re going through. This leads to isolation and loneliness – the same way Jesus felt when He was hanging on the cross. I don’t believe it’s possible to fully grasp what He went through until we feel that no one understands what we’re going through.

Leave a Reply