The Weight of Despondency

Job was a man who went through more than most of us ever will. In Scripture, we read Job’s friends sat with him for seven days and seven nights, as they saw the gravity of his suffering. Not many in our culture would be willing to go to such a length for someone in deep need. How wonderful this was. They were on his level with him, sharing his pain.  

Yet, the rest of the book of Job is filled with the opposite. Lofty speeches, scolding, pat answers, and blame. The more Job spoke from the depths of his depression, the more they were not really listening. Did the frankness of his words scare them? Did they wish to be right? Were they more concerned with fixing him, then understanding his heart? Already suffering, how lonely that must have been for him.

Job had a lot of questions in his misery. In the end, God did not answer any of Job’s questions. He basically said, “I am God”. In the presence of such magnitude, that was enough for Job. During the clouds of our difficulties, it is healing to come back to this. After we have taken what we are going through seriously by acknowledging how we hurt, it is a continual call that God is enough. It must always be if we trust Him. Not because our trials or periods of despondency do not matter. It is important to allow ourselves to see that our deepest vulnerabilities and pain are a genuine part of us. They do not have to be stuffed down, ignored with a stiff upper lip, nor do we need feel ashamed we struggle. If no one sees the depths of them, there is One who does. The character of our awesome God is true, real, existing, and tangible hope in our dark experiences. 

Most of us have had enough of wishful thinking. Of nice sounding words, pat answers, and philosophical pleasantries. When it comes down to it, we are beggars who can only find life in the source of life. Faith is only as good as the object it is in. All else will fail our need. People fail, money goes away, health deteriorates, with trite slogans fit only for calendars and greeting cards. 

There is a God who is. A personal God we can relate to because He created us as personal beings. This God is good. He has gone so far as to give His own beloved Son for us. Not as a nice gift. As the sacrifice for the very sin which separates us from Him and His holiness. That is astounding love, sure hope to cling to.

Answer me quickly, Lord, my spirit fails;
Do not hide Your face from me,
Or I will be the same as those who go down to the pit.
8 Let me hear Your faithfulness in the morning,
For I trust in You;
Teach me the way in which I should walk;
For to You I lift up my soul.  (Psalm 143:7-8)

This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

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