Despair comes when you have continually been disappointed in a certain situation or relationship. It is the complete loss of hope. I have been in despair several times in my own life, and I know many others who have as well.
Although the Bible never promises that we will escape having feelings of despair, God does give us a way to overcome it. Paul, one of the Apostles, felt despair many times during his ministry. I believe there were times when his past haunted him, and he suffered major persecution. However, Paul managed to come out of his despair. We will discuss how he was able to do that.
Troubled on Every Side, Yet Not Distressed
When the Jewish leaders were not oppressing Paul, one of the churches would be upset with him. The church in Corinth had issues with him because of gossip that came from other influences. When you read the books of Corinthians, you will notice that Paul addresses these issues.
Paul knew where hope was. He knew hope was not even in his ministry. His hope was in Christ. Without Christ, his ministry would not be successful. Without Christ, Paul could not go beyond his past. Without Christ, Paul would not be preaching the gospel.
Perplexed But Not in Despair
Despair came to Paul on many occasions. Paul spent time in prison for the sake of the gospel. He had been beaten and stoned. In one instance, he was left being considered dead. Despair came, but Paul fought it. He did not give in to it. (Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-9).
Just because he did not give in to despair does not mean that Paul did not feel despair. In 2 Corinthians 1:1-9, Paul speaks of despairing of life. Then, in chapter 4 he says he is perplexed but not in despair. This leads me to believe that despair came, but Paul pressed past it. How did he do that? In Christ alone.
We Do Not Have to Despair
When you read Paul’s epistles, you will notice that he gives praise to the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 1, he praises God for being the God of all comfort. In Ephesians 1, he praises God for spiritual blessings. In Philippians 4, he speaks of rejoicing. There are other instances of praise in the other epistles. He did not praise because his troubles were over. He praised God through those troubles.
You and I can do the same. When waves of despair seem to wash over us threatening to knock us down and leave us with the inability to get back up, we do not have to give in. We are not without hope. We have Jesus Christ. He is hope! He is our hope.
No matter how dark your situation is, there is light. Jesus is the light of the world. There is no darkness in Him at all. You can praise Him now because He will get you through your darkest hour. Do not despair! You are not without hope. I am not without hope either.
If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you can have one right now. Romans 10:9-10 says that if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart, you believe to righteousness and with the mouth confession is made into salvation. Romans 10:13 tell us that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.