Is despair winning?
This is the seventh post in a weekly series of mini-devotionals on HOPE, which is the theme of the 2016 June 2 Worldwide Prodigal Prayer Day. This letter goes to the members of the Prayer for Prodigals community, but it is true for all of us
Dear Lover of Prodigals,
An ancient psalmist wrote:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?” (Psalm 42:5a)
I’ve been there. I imagine you have as well—even today perhaps.
Sometimes the frustration is fierce, the disappointment is deep, the fear is palpable, the despair is pervasive.
And hope? It has fled.
Somehow, in the midst of such desperation and hopelessness, that psalmist was able to say:
“Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” (Psalm 42:5b)
Can hope defeat despair?
How could he do that? How could he praise and hope?
I imagine he recalled the myriad promises from our God that assure us of who He is and what He is like.
Such as the summary thoughts in this song of lament:
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.’
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord….
Let him bury his face in the dust—
there may yet be hope….” (Lamentations 3:22-29)
Hope for your children
And these words from the prophet Jeremiah:
“Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded….
They will return from the land of the enemy.
So there is hope for your descendants….Your children will return to their own land.” (Jeremiah 1:16-17)
And perhaps this word to Israel:
“Return, Israel, to the Lord your God.
Your sins have been your downfall!
Take words with you and return to the Lord.
Say to him: ‘Forgive all our sins and receive us graciously, that we may offer the fruit of our lips.’
“I will heal their waywardness and love them freely,
for my anger has turned away from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he will blossom like a lily.” (Hosea 14:1-5)
And finally see how the psalmist received these promises from God:
“But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death
and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield.
In him our hearts rejoice,
for we trust in his holy name.
May your unfailing love be with us, Lord,
even as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:18-22)
Response to Despair
So perhaps the next time life with your prodigal causes you to cry out:
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?…”
…you will be able to see God’s faithfulness to His people and the promise of hope he repeatedly gives, and you will be able to fall on your face before the Lord, affirming, that you can…
Put your hope in God, saying,
“For I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.”
Persevering in Hope,
What about you? How do you conquer despair?
c2016 Judy Douglass
I put together a photo book with pictures I have taken around the world and meaningful promises from God’s Word. I call it A Book of Promises.
Why Parents Should Never Give Up on Their Children. by Dena Yohe
If you would be interested in requesting prayer for a prodigal loved one, or being a part of our wonderful praying community, respond in comments or write to me at PrayerforProdigals at gmaildotcom.