There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. 1 Kings 19:9 NLT
Both men dealt with despair by overcoming it rather than succumbing to it.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was President of the United States of America during the worse economical time the country had ever experienced. Through programs he spearheaded, the country was eventually able to recover.
Roosevelt's large memorial in Washington, DC, depicts some of the incidents associated with his presidency. In one area, a man sits beside the radio waiting to hear what became known as “Fireside Chats.” In another, several men line up in front of a building, representing the thousands who stood in “bread lines” waiting for government help. And in still another, a caped Roosevelt sits in his wheelchair, reminding us that his handicap didn’t deter him from carrying out his presidential obligations.
The Martin Luther King, Jr., memorial is another testimony of one who didn’t give in to despair. His statue is attached to a large piece of stone that has emerged from a mountain, splitting the mountain in half. Despair for him could have easily come from dealing with the thousands who weren’t interested in giving African-Americans or other minority groups their equal rights.
Unlike Roosevelt and King, Elijah let despair overtake him. After a major defeat over pagan prophets, he had a death sentence placed on his head by the wicked queen. With despair engulfing him, Elijah ran for his life until he finally took refuge in a cave. Then God asked him what he was doing there.
Despair is never a God-originated emotional state.
If I’m feeling despair, Satan is capitalizing on an unpleasant situation or relationship I’m experiencing. His goal is to make me doubt God’s goodness or ability to help me face my circumstances.
While God doesn’t always remove situations that could lead to despair, He doesn’t expect me to give in to it either.
If I’ll respond with trust and obedience, He’ll teach me valuable lessons through the experience and also protect me from the damaging effects despair can have. Until God prodded him, Elijah had given up.
Despair will lead me to the same place unless I trust God to show me how to use the lessons.
When I do, they will propel me beyond the potentially despairing circumstances.
Rather than letting despair debilitate you, let God show you the way around and through it.
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us the power to endure and overcome circumstances without giving in to despair.