Tag: despair

You Are Not Alone

20130812-051251.jpgYou are not alone! Though you may be inundated with feelings of despair and loneliness, you are not alone.

It matters not if you are unable to speak “God’s language”; He hears your cry.

He sees your need, feels your pain, knows your heart, and remembers what He accomplished on the cross those many years ago.

And it’s not the first time God ever had to rescue someone from life’s stranglehold.

“During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. God saw the people of Israel – and God knew.” (Exodus 2:23-25 ESV)

“Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.” (Exodus 3:7-9 ESV)

It’s hard to see and think straight when you are full of despair. Faith doesn’t come easy when hope has been trampled.

Moses, being sent by God to Pharaoh’s courts, demanded freedom for His people. As a result, the chains of slavery became tighter. The hope that had been built in the children of Israel’s hearts turned to bitterness and hopelessness. Moses tried to encourage his brethren, but to no avail.

“Moses spoke thus to the people of Israel, but they did not listen to Moses, because of their broken spirit and harsh slavery.” (Exodus 6:9 ESV)

“They did not listen to Moses”, the man sent from God. Yet, that didn’t stop God from hearing them!

The heart of God is like none other. It is drawn to the needs, the brokenness and bitterness, and the emptiness of all mankind. It can’t ignore the cries of despair and will make every effort to bring encouragement and hope into the situation.

It’s as though the very need itself has a voice that cries out to God.

That, in essence, is the Gospel. God was in Christ, reaching out to mankind’s emptiness, their slavery to the lordship of satan, and answering the age-old cry for help that began in the Garden with Adam and Eve. Answering the cry with the Eternal Remedy – Jesus. God initiating, God sending, God delivering; for people too broken to speak.

“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person – though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die – but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.” (Romans 5:6-9 ESV)

You may be fed up with “life”, filled with despair, and ready to give up completely; but please wait before you do. YOU are a candidate for God’s love and power. He already knows your situation, hears the cry of your heart, and remembers what He accomplished on the cross. For you!

“Deep calls to deep…”

“Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid…”

You are not alone.

Dance The Night Away

20130519-213754.jpgEver had a day that seemed a month long? A night that would never end? How about sorrow that only deepened, never giving up, for months and years?

An old song by Leo Thayer, “You make me feel like dancing”, jumped to the forefront of my mind yesterday. The phrase, “gonna dance the night away”, seemed to have the touch of God on it. It’s a corny song, the falsetto singing is hard listening to, and I’m really not into dance music; but there’s a truth in the “dance” phrase God wants us to catch.

“Night” represents darkness, and “dance” is related to joy, or an expression of joy. Many times, during periods of sorrow and grief, the thought of dancing is the farthest thing from our mind. What we’re most comfortable with during those seasons, and what we’d much rather do is lock ourselves away in the dark somewhere, curled up in the fetal position, chewing on our lip, and wishing we didn’t have to face another day.

Despair, night, and spiritual darkness are each related to the other, and have the ability to smother the life out of a person. Their nature is to flood a person’s thoughts and feelings with ideas of everything that could possibly go wrong. It’s like living in a small, crowded room with no windows, and little by little the walls move closer and closer until there’s absolutely no room left, and no way out. And though there’s ALWAYS a way out, it’s usually not seen because of the spiritual darkness pervading the mind of the despaired one. They PERCEIVE they are trapped, and the perception becomes their reality.

But God has something much better for you and I. It’s called JOY!

Despair forces you and I into a small dark corner, but God’s joy releases us to enjoy wide open spaces!

“He reached from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy and from those who hated and abhorred me, for they were too strong for me. They confronted and came upon me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay and support. He brought me forth also into a large place; He was delivering me because He was pleased with me and delighted in me.” (Psalm 18:16-19 AMP)

So what should a person do when the nighttime of despair begins to close in on them? Call upon the Lord and start dancing! By faith, act on the word of God and release the power of joy! If necessary, dance on the ceiling and the walls, like Fred Astaire did in the movie, “Royal Wedding”.

Fred Astaire 1Fred Astaire 2

Dance the night away! Away from you, from your loved ones, from your situation! Dance the night – AWAY!

You don’t feel like dancing? Then begin to tap a toe. Tap it by faith; faith in the love and ability of God Most High! Then tap the other one, shuffle your feet, shake a hip, swing an arm, AND DANCE THE NIGHT – AWAY!

Say it out loud: “God, You make me feel like dancing; I’m gonna dance the night – AWAY“!

“Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a tambourine in her hand, and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.” (Exodus 15:20 ESV)

“And David danced before the Lord with all his might…” (2 Samuel 6:14 ESV)

“As the ark of the Lord came into the city of David, Michal the daughter of Saul looked out of the window and saw King David leaping and dancing before The Lord…” (2 Samuel 6:16 ESV)

“Let them praise his name with dancing…” (Psalm 149:3 ESV)

“Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe.” (Psalm 150:4 ESV)

” A time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:3-4 ESV)

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness, that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Psalm 30:11-12 ESV)

“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 ESV)

Joy comes in the morning, and “dancing”, releasing joy, drives the night away! Night leaves, morning comes, and joy prevails!

Dance!

The Master Plan… my short story

Jan and Phyllis2It was a dark and dreary night, which seemed to last a lifetime.

In fact, it was lasting a lifetime. The first 20 years of my life.

Darkness and chaos describe my early years. Oh, sure, there were glimpses of light and order, hope and joy, now and then. But dreariness described my life as a whole.

Kind of like when “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth”. There wasn’t a sign in the heavens inviting change. No. Darkness, disorder, decadence, and dismay screamed constantly at Him and His plans, “We cannot, will not, be changed. We will forever remain like this!” That seemed to describe my life.

But, the entrance of His Word brought light; and the rest, they say, is history.

I had times, as a kid, really enjoyed my life and thought things were great. Like the times we’d have the neighborhood over and play ball in our backyard. Kids everywhere, running, laughing, without a care in the world. Or the time the ice cream truck would come down the street, beckoning us with its happy tune. All the neighborhood kids would stop what they were doing, run to find their parents, and literally beg them into buying a Buried Treasure, Drumstick, or some other sweet and cold treat. Ah, the good old days.

There were a few times of hope and joy as a teenager, but those years were primarily filled with strife and unrest. Not much hope for the future. No promise of life, that I could see anyway. Have you ever known someone who seemed to be okay and in great health, but was really losing a battle with cancer? That’s how my life was. Looked alright on the outside, but inside I was dying. If something happened I didn’t like, couldn’t control, or attacked my vulnerable heart, I would pack up and leave. I tried fighting back, but eventually concluded leaving was the best way to preserve what life I had.

A few people told me about this Man named Jesus. Fairytale stuff, as far as I was concerned. Besides, I didn’t need religion. Darkness and chaos were serving me just fine. It was something I was used to.

When I was 17, darkness seemed to ease up a bit. I met this girl who began to love me; darkness, chaos, hurt and all. I was so energized by her, hope for the future began to grow. Plans for a life together were forming. Buying an old “Bread Truck” decorated with colorful flowers, travelling the country, playing music, seeing the sights, living the dream, became known to us as “The Master Plan”.

We finally did get married and started living the Plan. No bread truck, just a cool 1964 Rambler Classic 770 named “Roger”. Life was but a dream, sh-boom, sh-boom.

Something happened during our second year of living our dream. I can’t really explain it. I only know we met this couple who had a “light” shining in their life. Love and life seemed to exude from them, attacking the darkness surrounding us; as though God was looking at our world, commanding His light to shine in our dark places.

Light be! Light was!

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of Life.”

That was close to forty years ago. Never did get a bread truck. We have done some traveling, played some music, lived a few dreams, had a few nightmares. But we discarded the Master Plan. Traded it in for something full of love, life and hope. A future and a hope! We call it “The Master’s Plan.”

And the rest is, as they say, His Story.

If darkness and chaos has filled your life, there is a God in Heaven Who knows how to change your world.

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