Despair is like any other human emotion, and it’s only natural to feel it from time to time. After all, without unhappiness, we wouldn’t know happiness. However, prolonged feelings of despair that don’t allow us to feel any other emotion or strengthen the intensity of other negative emotions are not something anyone deserves to live with.
Fortunately, our God has provided us with complete instructions on dealing with thoughts of despair. Here’s how:
Analyzing the Situation and Learning from It
The first step to dealing with despair is analyzing the circumstances that led to it. It is understandable to feel sad after failing at something for which we worked hard and prayed. However, lingering on failure won’t do us any good.
We must evaluate our efforts toward the goal we failed to achieve and determine if we can improve our efforts on the next try. If we cannot try for the same goal again, we must find what else can bring us the joy and contentment we sought from that particular goal. Surely, life is not defined by a singular thing. Either way, we must analyze our mistakes and strive for the next goal with renewed motivation.
“For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through the endurance we might have hope.” Romans 15:4
Understanding that It Is Temporary
Of course, moving on can be challenging if the loss we experienced was something we never imagined. Learning a lesson can be impossible when despair hits us unexpectedly. For example, the despair from losing a loved one to death stems from grief, which can take months or even years to mellow down. In such instances, it can help to remember that this life and everything we experience is temporary.
Our Lord doesn’t inflict suffering on us without first setting a reward in the heavens. If your despair stems from the loss of life, know that all life on earth will end someday, and we will all reunite in eternal life with the love of our Lord.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18
Putting Our Trust In God
Life can be very painful at times. Sometimes the problems in our life are self-created. But other times, God sends us a challenge to help us grow, learn some lessons, understand what we truly want from our life, and become grateful towards him when we receive the reward.
However, besides understanding that this life and all its problems are temporary, we must also believe in God’s ultimate authority on our pain and afflictions and our capacity to bear and come through it. He has allowed us to fix our mistakes, repent, and do better. He has also promised us a reward that will make us forget about all our worldly struggles.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
In his book, “The Trumpet Call,” Robert Aber reminds his readers that allowing ourselves to feel and process our emotions is also important. God doesn’t tell us to suppress our negative emotions. Instead, he teaches us to make the best of every situation. Robert Aber emphasizes the mercy of God through Bible:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12