“Its only Monday, and the world is already falling apart.”
She raked slender fingers through her long hair, willing the movement to ease her tensed nerves. Her heart seemed to gravitate towards the floor. Why couldn’t something go right for a change? No matter what she did, it all seemed to unravel in the end.
As the minutes ticked by, the room grew darker until she realized her own hands were barely visible. The encroaching darkness brought relief, but only for a moment. Tomorrow she would have to face the catastrophe reverberating from today’s events.
Seized with sorrow, she sank to her knees and wept.
Plagued with doubt. Overwhelmingly defeated. Dogged by despair.
She lifted her hands to pray, her words only audible to the One who could hear the desperate cry flowing from a burdened heart.
“Why, Lord?” she gasped through tears, “Why?”
As the tears rolled down, words crept into her mind—words she had read several days ago: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…”
Words from the Bible. Words that Paul—who suffered multiple losses and countless disappointments—had written to fellow Christians. Words she needed at this dark hour. Peace and comfort soothed her aching heart like a warm compress. Though the pain lingered and the problems persisted, relief came. God had not abandoned her. He was present with her in the gathering gloom.
These moments of doubt, defeat, and despair visit every person at some time in their lives. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, where you live, or how righteous you are. For many, the three D’s lead to the destruction of faith and/or life.
You may think the righteous of times past never struggled with the three D’s, but they did:
“I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me. If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness.” (Numbers 11:14-15)
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day? How long shall my enemy be exalted over me?” (Psalms 13:1-2)
“I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.” (1 Kings 19:10)
“My soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.”
“But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened…” (Luke 24.21)
These examples merely scratch the surface. All who have served God faithfully have been tested and tried in this way. What we see in the scriptures is the enduring mercy of the Lord. He does not abandon us in the pit of despair, but always shines through in the darkness to those who cry out to Him in Faith.
He replaces doubt with trust, despair with hope, and defeat with victory. We are more than conquerors through Christ.
If we read further through each of the above passages, we see the dispelling of the three D’s:
[God speaking to Moses] “And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.” (Numbers 11:17)
“But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.” (Psalms 13:5-6)
[God speaking to Elijah] “Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” (1 Kings 19:18)
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
“Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road…” (Luke 24.32-35)
The afflictions of doubt, defeat, and despair are ones we all must endure. What defines us in these moments is not our own strength, but upon whom we lean for strength. When we reach out to God, He will not push us away.
When there is doubt, he will bring certainty.
When we feel despair, he will supply hope.
When we suffer defeat, he will transform it to victory.
As you read the word each day, make note of how God demonstrated his steadfast love toward those who served Him in times past. To download a free PDF worksheet to use for your own encouragement, click here.
So we do not lose heart.
Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Don’t forget to download this free printable for your personal study!