”Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”
Martin Luther King Jr.
I would like to add to this quote; “Despair cannot drive out despair: only HOPE can do that.”
Pastor Kris Belfils
How many times do we try to drive out our own despair with more despair? This will never bring encouragement.
The word despair means: “A state in which all hope is lost or absent, The feeling that everything is wrong and nothing will turn out well, abandon hope; give up hope; lose heart” (WolframAlpha). Other terms: Discouragement, disheartenment, dismay, hopelessness, pessimism, resignation, surrender.
This happens to many people everyday. When a tragedy occurs or our expectations have not been met, we can fall into despair easily. We can fall into despair just by thinking wrong thoughts about our self and others.
There are really only two things you can have in life:
Hope means: “A general feeling that some desire will be fulfilled, grounds for feeling hopeful about the future, Someone, or something on which expectations are centered, One of three Christian virtues (‘Faith, Hope, and Love’), expect and wish, intend with some possibility of fulfillment (WolframAlpha).”
Having hope is so essential to surviving in life. If we lose hope, we have lost the race.
Where’s your HOPE?
Many people put their hope and trust in leaders or other people. But, when they let them down, and leave, or do not fulfill their expectations, they get discouraged and filled with despair.
Often people put their trust in other people, like their Father or Mother, friend, Teacher, but end up disappointed. Some put their hope in their job, or their boss. Some put their hope in the economy, or the Government. Some people put their trust in themselves, but the only place we can put our hope and never be disappointed is God!
Let’s take a look at a few scriptures to help us get a better grasp on who we should put our hope in:
Psalms 42:5 (GNB)
“ Why am I so sad? Why am I so troubled? I will put my hope in God, and once again I will praise him, my savior and my God.”
This verse is telling us to put our hope in God and to praise Him for saving us from our trouble.
What are you thinking? Are you thinking despairing thoughts? Then you will be filled with despair! Despair and discouragement are dead end roads. They lead to no where!They don’t get anything done. Discouragement leads to despair, despair leads to feelings of anxiety and hopelessness, hopelessness leads to depression and suicidal thoughts, and suicidal thoughts leads down a path of total darkness. These thoughts only bring darkness. Thoughts we listen to will affect our outlook on life. Feelings of suicide is a terribly dark, lonely place to be. If you have never experienced thoughts of suicide, you will never understand why someone would want to try to commit it. Don’t be too quick to judge someone who is depressed or suicidal.
If you are feeling despair, don’t jump to Satan’s illusions. Remind yourself that you are valuable and God has a plan for your life. Tell yourself that your current condition is not permanent. It will pass. Tell yourself you can stand in the midst of all the bad. Also distinguish the difference of something that is truth about you or your situation, or just a lie or illusion the enemy is trying to sabotage you with.
In the natural, darkness always makes us scared, but sunshine and light make us feel safe and happy. The doom and gloom go away instantly when light is put on the subject.
Light is the only thing that can drive out darkness. We sometimes wallow in self-pity or focus on the negative, thinking you will feel better, and the dark cloud will lift. This will never happen. Darkness cannot drive out darkness, and despair cannot drive out despair.
We have to guard against darkness in our hearts and minds. The best way is to focus on, and bring in the light.
Psalm 36:9 (NKJV)
“For with You is the fountain of life; In Your light we see light.”
John 12:46 (NKJV)
“I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.”
1 Thess 5:5 (NKJV)
“You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.”
John 1:5 (NKJV)
“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”
“Arise, shine; For your light has come! and the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, and His glory will will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
We have to set our minds on new things, and what God is capable of doing. We have to turn our thoughts from the bad and purposely set our thoughts on the good.
Jesus said this about our light:
Matthew 5:14 – 16 (NKJV)
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Now let us take a look at Psalm 146 and see what the LORD is doing in our lives, which brings us much hope:
Psalm 146 (NKJV)
“PRAISE the LORD! (Hallelujah) Praise the LORD, O my soul! While I live I will praise the LORD; I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. Do not put your trust (hope) in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirt departs, he returns to his earth; In that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea, and all that is in them; Who keeps truth forever, Who executes justice for the oppressed, Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous. The LORD watches over the strangers; He relieves the fatherless and widow; But the way of the wicked He turns upside down. The LORD shall reign forever – Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!
To overcome Hopelessness we need to remind ourself who the LORD is in our life:
- Praise the LORD! (Ps. 146:1 – 2)
- Do not put your hope in princes or in man as they will perish (146:3 – 4)
- Put your hope in the LORD – it will make you happy (Ps. 146:5)
- The LORD made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all that is in them (Ps. 146:6)
- The LORD is the keeper of truth forever (Ps. 146:6)
- The LORD executes justice for the oppressed (146:7)
- The LORD gives food to the hungry (146:7)
- The LORD gives freedom to the prisoners (146:7)
- The LORD watches over the strangers (146:8)
- The LORD opens the eyes of the blind (146:8)
- The LORD raises those who are bowed down (146:8)
- The LORD loves the righteous (146:8)
- The LORD watches over the strangers (146:9)
- The LORD relieves the fatherless and widow (146:9)
- The LORD turns the way of the wicked upside down (146:9)
- The LORD shall reign forever, to all generations (146:10)
Psalm 27:14 (God’s Word)
“Wait with hope for the LORD. Be strong, and let your heart be courageous. Yes, wait with hope for the LORD.”
We have to wait with hope for God. We have to be courageous and strong in our waiting. The word; “wait” use to be a bad four letter word to me. I hated waiting. Waiting made me feel I did something wrong. It made me feel I wasn’t ready. But, this is not why we have to wait at times. Waiting helps us to mature in Christ. Waiting burns out the impatience in us. Waiting is better then rushing into something without God’s wisdom and direction.
Human nature gives up easily when we pray and don’t see our prayers answered. We pray once, and no answer, so we give up, or think it is not God’s will. We have to be persistent in our prayers and in faith. God is looking for people who have their hope in Him.
I am sure Elijah waited with hope as he prayed to God for rain to come.
Read 1 Kings 18:41 – 46
Elijah could have given up after the first time praying for rain and then sending his servant to go up mount Carmel to see if any clouds were forming. Elijah’s hope was in God and he believed God would come through. Again and again Elijah prayed without any answer to his prayer. He pressed in and continued to pray.
Elijah persevered and kept praying and believing God would come through. He was relentless! He didn’t stop praying until God gave him a sign. It was in a form of a cloud the size of a man’s hand. It was all he needed to move on in his life. God gives little clouds to spark hope in our hearts that He is working and bringing the answer.
We can learn from this great man of God. We too need to keep praying without giving up. We too need to believe God will answer in spite of our circumstances or what we see or don’t see happening.
The hope is knowing God is faithful! What He did before He will do again. He used men and women in the Bible to bring about His agenda and His Kingdom. He wants to use us too.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Faith in action requires a time of waiting. The word “Hope” is interchanged with the word wait in the Bible. It is the place between praying and the answered prayer.
It can seem like God didn’t hear us, or that he holds his answer from us.
It is Hope deferred:
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”
Delayed hope, or hope put off makes our hearts sick. It grieves our spirit. It zaps our energy and fills our hearts with darkness. God knows this. Don’t give up hope, God hears our cry for help! He will send us our cloud of hope, even if it is very small, it is something we can see and know He is working on our behalf.
Will we worship and walk in obedience waiting for God to bring hope and answers? Do you trust God? This is what the Christian faith is all about… faith believing God is there and this brings hope.
Far too often believers give up when their prayer is not answered or things don’t go according to your plans. We think God is mad or didn’t hear our cry. There is an element of faith believing every Christian has to walk through. Do we just love God when times are good, and then when times are hard we give up on God?
We have to be mature believers and decide I will trust God and hope in God no matter the circumstance.
Helpless but not hopeless! In our weakness God is strong. We can stand knowing when we are walking through a hard situation, in our helplessness, God sees our condition. Just like a loving parent sees and helps a helpless child, this is what God does with us. We have to realize this is humility and it is also strength. Humility in that we are not relying on our own abilities, and strength because we totally rely on God’s. This is what David did when facing Goliath. David’s brother, Eliab, thought David was arrogant when he came to the front lines of battle to find out what was going on with his big brothers and the nation of Israel.
Read 1 Samuel 17:1 – 11
1 Samuel 17:11 (NKJV)
“When Saul and all Israel heard these words of the Philistine, they were dismayed and greatly afraid.”
Remember one of the words for “despair” is “dismayed.” King Saul and all of Israel had lost hope. They didn’t believe they would prevail. Unbelief is trusting in your own strength. Unbelief is pride, the opposite of humility.
This world will tell you that being humble is to be meek and timid, but that is not humility at all. True humility is not relying on your own strength but on God’s. It is a knowing that God will prevail in spite of circumstances and fears. It is believing God is Who He says He is and walking in His power and insight.
Read 1 Samuel 17:12 – 18
David knew who he was. He was a Mighty Man Of God, yet even his father treated him as a child sending him to look after his brothers and report back what was going on. I am sure David burned in his chest the desire of being on the front lines in battle. Knowing David’s character, and Who He relied on in every circumstance, he wanted to show God’s power by annihilating the enemy. David wasn’t afraid of the Giants or what people thought of him.
David lived in his hopes. Saul, David’s brothers, and the Israelites lived in their fears. It paralyzed them from doing anything great. It put them in bondage and they couldn’t advance. If it weren’t for David, all of Israel would have been killed or turned into Philistine slaves.
Read 1 Samuel 17:19 – 30
Eliab’s view of David was skewed. Eliab believed he was speaking out of insight and wisdom, but Eliab’s pride got the best of him. He asked David, “Why did you come down here? And with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know your pride and the insolence of your heart, for you have come down to see the battle” (1 Samuel 17:28). Yet, right before all this happened, King Saul was tormented by a distressing spirit and was troubled. The servants of King Saul suggested getting a man who is a skillful payer on the harp to play and ease the king’s spirit. One of Saul’s servants already knew about David. He told the king, “Look, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, who is skillful in playing , a mighty man of valor, a man of war, prudent in speech, and a handsome person; and the LORD is with him” (1 Samuel 16:18).
No matter what our family or others think of us, there will be people who truly see us for who we are; “Mighty Men and Women of God!” David’s older brother, Eliab, never saw David as anything but his younger little brother, who he thought was a prideful, arrogant sheep herder.
Don’t listen to the “nay-sayers” in your life. They don’t see you as God sees you. David was facing Giants. Not only in the physical, but also mentally with his older brother and what he thought of him. If David listened to his older brother the battle would have never been won. The Philistines would have prevailed. David overcame the Giant of Nay-sayers when he turned from his brother and asked someone else what was going on and what was the reward for defeating Goliath.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
This should be our motto! This should drive us daily to do all that God has called us to do. This is what we have to walk in every situation, trial, hardship, and fear.
Read 1 Samuel 17:31 – 42
The word “Disdain” means: “lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike, a communication that indicates lack of respect by patronizing the recipient, look down on with disdain, reject with contempt.” Synonyms: contempt, scorn, condescension, despise, reject, turn down.
How many times have you faced this very experience in your life? People who looked down on you and rejected you for some reason or another. They had disdain in their hearts. Remember that God is a god Who sees! God knows what you are up against. He knows the hearts of everyone involved. Trust that God will bring justice out of false accusations or mistreatment. In the meantime, keep on walking and doing what you believe God has called you to do!
Read 1 Samuel 17:42 – 43
The Philistine taunted David with his words. If David believed them, the battle would have been lost. But immediately David responded to the Philistine.
1 Samuel 17:45 – 47
“Then David said to the Philistine, ‘You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defiled. This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you and take your head from you. And this day I will give the carcasses of the camp of the Philistines to the birds of the air and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. Then all this assembly shall know that the LORD does not save with sword, and spear; for the battle is the LORD’s, and He will give you into our hands.”
David didn’t cower after Goliath taunted him with condemning words. No, David came back with words of intimidation and faith. He looked at his Giant and spoke to his Giant the very words his Giant was speaking to him, but with God’s anointing and boldness, and authority. Don’t let the giant intimidate you, you intimidate the giant. Pursue and conquer!
Read 1 Samuel 17:48 – 58
“Therefore David ran and stood over the Philistine, took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him, and cut off his head with it. And when the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.”
David took Goliath’s own sword, which was still in its sheath, and killed him. The very sword Goliath should have used to kill David. The very words Goliath used to taunt David, was the very thing that happened to him. David used his enemies’ own weapon against him. Goliath didn’t even have his weapon out for battle. What was up with that? If one thinks they are heading into battle, weapons are drawn and ready. Goliath was so arrogant he didn’t even think he needed to defend himself. That is the mind-frame of the enemy. He thinks he has already won, but in reality, he has defeated himself. How? By disregarding the power and authority of God’s servants. We, as God’s servants, God’s warriors, can do all things through Christ who strengthens us! We are more then conquerors through Him who loves us! God has already won, we just get in battle position and watch the hand of God annihilate our enemy.
David learned how to walk in hope in spite of any fear he may have had.
This is how hope prevails in spite of circumstances we face. We have to learn how to find hope. Sometimes we are too weak to walk in hope, but we can stand in it. Stand, knowing God is fighting your battle. Stand, in the face of fear. Remember who is for you and not against you! After standing, God will give you His grace to start walking in His hope. Believe God for a small cloud of hope. Press in to God and expect Him to answer your cry.
Your Sister in Christ,
Pastor Kris Belfils