Hope Even in our Hopelessness

 

Life can really suck sometimes. Maybe you’ve lost your job, fallen ill, lost a friend or loved one. Perhaps you’re like me and struggle with a variety of mental illnesses. Sometimes it feels like the world is crashing down around us, life is falling apart and there’s no-one to turn to. It can be hard to find comfort in a time like that, but there is comfort and there is hope. In Psalm 27:10 David writes,”Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.” When you feel that no-one wants to hear what you need to say, when your friends desert you and you fall into despair, remember that our Lord still receives you.

Charles Spurgeon likely suffered from depression and he wrote about his struggles frequently. He also addressed the topic in his sermons, here is an excerpt from one such sermon.

Charles H. Spurgeon


“We see here, dear brethren, in being told to remember Jesus that there is hope even in our hopelessness. When are things most hopeless in a man? Why, when he is dead. Do you know what it is to come down to that, so far as your inward weakness is concerned? I do. At times it seems to me that all my joy is buried like a dead thing, and all my present usefulness and all my hope of being useful in the future are coffined and laid underground like a corpse. In the anguish of my spirit, and the desolation of my heart, I could count it better to die than to live. You say it should not be so. I grant you it should not be so, but so it is. Many things happen within the minds of poor mortals which should not happen; if we had more courage and more faith they would not happen. Ay, but when we go down, down, down, is it not a blessed thing that Jesus Christ of the seed of David died, and was raised from the dead? If I sink right down among the dead men yet will I hold to this blessed hope, that as Jesus rose again from the dead, so also shall my joy, my usefulness, my hope, my spirit rise. “Thou, which hast showed us great and sore troubles shalt quicken us again, and bring us up from the lowest depths of the earth.”

This donncasting and slaying is good for us. We take a deal of killing, and it is by being killed that we live. Many a man will never live till his proud self is slain. O proud Pharisee, if you are to live among those whom God accepts, you will have to come to the slaughterhouse and be cut in pieces as well as killed. “This is dreadful work,” saith one, “this dividing of joints and marrow, this spiritual dismemberment and destruction.” Assuredly it is painful, and yet it were a grievous loss to be denied it.

Alas, how many are so good and excellent, and strong and wise, and clever, and all that, that they cannot agree to be saved by grace through faith. If they could be reduced to less than nothing it would be the finest thing that ever happened to them. Remember what Solomon said might be done with the fool, and yet it would not answer–he was to be brayed in a mortar among wheat with a pestle,-pretty hard dealing that, and yet his folly would not depart from him. Not by that process alone, but through some such method, the Holy Spirit brings men away from their folly. Under his killing operations this may be their comfort that, if Jesus Christ rose literally from the dead (not from sickness, but from death), and lives again, even so will his people.

Did you ever get, where Bunyan pictures Christian as getting, right under the old dragon’s foot? He is very heavy, and presses the very breath out of a fellow when he makes him his footstool. Poor Christian day there with the dragon’s foot on his breast. but he was just able to stretch out his hand and lay hold on his sword, which, by a good providence, lay within his reach. Then he gave Apollyon a deadly thrust, which made him spread his dragon wings and fly away. The poor crushed and broken pilgrim, as he gave the stab to his foe, cried, “Rejoice not over me, O mine enemy; though I fall, yet shall I rise again.” Brother, do you the same. You that are near despair, let this be the strength that nerves your arm and steels your heart. ” Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to Paul’s gospel.”

[from The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus, Sermon no. 1,653.]Excerpt found on puritansermons.com

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Before the throne of God above

Romans 4:14-16 (NIV)
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.  Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong, a perfect plea;
a great High Priest, whose name is Love,
who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on his hands,
my name is written on his heart;
I know that while in heaven he stands
no tongue can bid me thence depart,
no tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
and tells me of the guilt within,
upward I look, and see him there
who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died,
my sinful soul is counted free;
for God the Just is satisfied
to look on him and pardon me,
to look on him and pardon me.

Behold him there! the risen Lamb,
my perfect, spotless righteousness;
the great unchangeable “I AM,”
the King of glory and of grace!
One with himself, I cannot die,
my soul is purchased by his blood;
my life is hid with Christ on high,
with Christ my Savior and my God,
with Christ my Savior and my God.

 

  • Charitie Lees Bancroft, 1863, found in Spurgeon’s Our Own Hymn Book

God Of My Salvation

darknessI walk along this broken road
Through a valley dark and alone
There's no companion, no hope to hold
No fire to warm my weary bones
As I call, unheard, for help.

The darkness surrounds, encompasses me
Until even the stars are blotted out
I have no lantern by which to see
My head and heart now drown with doubt
As I call, unheard, for help.

Held captive by these mountains of fear
Like a thousand swords against my neck
While my cries fall upon deaf ears
And towards me no-one takes a step
As I call, unheard, for help.

The friends with whom I used to laugh
Now ignore my hurt and pain.
My life to them is merely chaff
Though love for me they once did feign
As I call, unheard, for help.

As his hand for me now extends
I've given up, prepared for Death
Will Darkness remain my closest friend?
And yet I struggle, gasping for breath
As I call, unheard, for help.

Is this the end for which I long?
If you heard my cry, would you comply,
Or would this in your ears be wrong
If I pray, 'Lord, just let me die,'?
As I call, unheard, for help.

My other prayers you've turned aside
So I have but rocks for my stomach
Now in this downward spiral I slide
And in silence await that last trumpet
As I call, unheard, for help.

Will your Light of Hope not pierce this depression?
How long must my life around me crumble?
Eternal God of my salvation,
To the grave will I now stumble?
As I call, unheard, for help.

I cry out, 'How long?' from within this darkness
Since you hold in your bottle my every tear
Arise and breath life into this carcass
O, LORD, my God who save me, hear
As I call to you for help.