Do You Ever Despair?

1 02 2010

Is there room for despair in the Christian life?  What about doubt, depression, or even anger at God?  That’s the topic Duane tackled this week in his sermon, and it’s also the subject of the song “Restore Me,” off the album Dave & Jess Ray, which we played during the service.

The words of the song capture each of those emotions, words that echo the heart of the Psalmist in Psalms 42 and 43:

Restore Me
David Ray

Verse 1:
O God, my Father, return to me
Have You forgotten me Your servant?
Protect my life from the Enemy
Restore me to Your joy again

Verse 2:
O God, Deliverer, remember me
Have You forsaken me in bondage?
My will is broken my faith is weak
Restore me to Your joy again

Chorus:
God is my shield, God is my fortress
In loving-kindness You draw me in
I take my shelter under Your promise
Restore me to Your joy again

Verse 3:
O God, my Healer, return to me
Have you abandoned me in weakness?
My soul grows weary, my wounds are deep
Restore me to Your joy again

To some these words might feel uncomfortable.  Can you really ask God if He has forgotten you, forsaken you, or abandoned you?  Aren’t you risking a lightning bolt from the sky or some other kind of divine retribution?  I think the answer is an emphatic no.  In fact, when we avoid expressing our anger and frustration to God, what we’re really saying is that we don’t completely believe that He loves us unconditionally.  We’re saying that we somehow merit grace by how well we believe.  But that’s not the message of the Gospel.

Jesus himself cried out, “Why have you forsaken me?” when He was on the cross.  And when others doubted He didn’t answer them by turning away.  Instead He used it as a teaching moment, a moment to demonstrate once again that He loves us and is working for our good.  In fact, I would even say that God loves disproving our doubts.  But He will never get the chance if are never honest enough with ourselves to express them.

So if you find yourself in a place of despair, depression, or doubt, tell your Father in heaven what’s going on.  Cling tightly to His promises.  And keep your eyes open as God proves Himself faithful.

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