Written on January 21st, 2006 - 9:38PM Last Updated: August 16th, 2006 - 10:25PM
Praise in the midst of despair is a powerful antidote to falling into the traps of Satan.
There is a curious teaching of King Solomon that reveals a wonderful truth:
2It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living should take this to heart. 3Sorrow is better than laughter; for by the sadness of the face the heart is made good. 4The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth. (Ecclesiastes 7:2-4)
How could it be that the heart is made good through the sadness of the face? And that it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of mirth?
These events which bring sadness to our face, and us to the house of mourning, are actually opportunities to grow in wisdom and understanding. Our heart is made "better" in the process. But how?
Praise. As we come to these situations we are faced with a choice: whether to continue on as though this natural world and its consequences are all that are, or that there is a God in heaven Who is over all.
We have the opportunity to praise Yahweh in the midst of our despair, when we come to know through experience, and not just sterile learning, that we cannot depend on the stability of this world and its things.
Whether the event of despair is a death, sickness, rejection, betrayal, or even a natural disaster, we will have come to the point of knowing that our lives cannot depend on the actions of the natural world. This world system operates according to Satan (Ephesians 2:2), and is ultimately out of order until the new creation (2 Peter 3:10-13).
Despair brings us to a low place; it humbles or depresses us. As I've said elsewhere, humility of being humbled is being lowered. Whether we humble ourselves (the ideal), or are humbled by something else (last resort), we yet have the same opportunity to count upon the grace of JesusChrist to sustain us. In the midst of this despair we may praise the Lord Yahweh, Who truly has all authority over our lives.
There are several examples of the people of God coming to this point of despair, and choosing to praise Yahweh in the midst of it. They had opportunities to believe the lie that Satan had all power, and they were doomed to be tossed here and there until the day they died—but they chose to worship the Father of glory instead. They lay down their natural reaction and took up the strength and confidence of the One in Whom they believed.
God's People in Despair
David, many times, was wronged for doing right. He was persecuted by even the King of Israel (Saul), for defending the nation from their enemies. In these instances, he sought Yahweh; he threw himself upon the mercy of the Most High. He chose to pour out his heart unto God his Savior in the midst of his despair, and was in each instance fully delivered and restored to joy (Psalms Chapter 42)(Psalms Chapter 43)
King Hezekiah of Judah was confronted by the evil king of Assyria, Sennacharib, and made the wrong choice first. He gave in to the demands of the ungodly king and tried to pacify him with silver and gold from the very House of Yahweh, as well as from his own kingly house. As imagined, the enemy was not satisfied, but came again and that time with an army to overtake the land. The enemy had seen the weakness and was ready to fully overtake both the king and his nation.
Hezekiah then realized that he had no recourse in the flesh; the natural world did not hold his answers. He could not count upon it for joy (2 Kings Chapter 18).
But his salvation lay with Yahweh, the true God of heaven and earth. As he lay the letter from the evil king's messenger before Yahweh in the Temple, he worshipped Yahweh as the true God, confessing this evil king had no power but to overthrow false gods that were no gods (the idols of other ungodly nations). Through this, Yahweh supernaturally smote the armies of Sennacharib and King Hezekiah and the nation of Israel were preserved. His joy was made full as he worshipped God in the midst of despair (2 Kings Chapter 19).
The Lord Jesus was often faced with despair as the Son of Man on the earth. His close friend, Lazarus, died while he was away. He was betrayed and ridiculed by His friends, disciples and even family. He was beaten and tortured and hung upon a cross. But in all of these things, He gave glory to His Father, praising Him and affirming out loud that He was truly Lord of all. Through this suffering He learned as a Man to be close to the Father in all things, not counting upon the world for His well-being (John Chapter 11)(Matthew 26:65-75)(Matthew 27:26-50)(Luke 23:44-46)(John Chapter 13).
Zacchaeus looked past the rejection of others because of his small stature and sought out Jesus. In the midst of his despair he gave glory to Christ, knowing it was He that held His destiny. His joy was made full as the Lord Jesus saw him and asked to come to his house; and indeed, salvation came to his house that day (Luke 19:1-10)
The friends of Dorcas were in despair as she passed away from her sickness. However, they must have praised and besought God, as they sent for Peter to come quickly. He came and rose her from the dead. In the midst of their despair they looked unto Yahweh, and their joy was made full as their friend came back to life (Acts 9:36-42).
Through all of these stories the person involved came to a new understanding of God's power. Through their praise in despair they came to experience His glory and authority over all things. Far beyond learning by book or word, they lived through the very real despair that came from these sad events and chose to seek the Lord instead of relying upon the world. They saw that the world was unstable and could not be their foundation. They were shaken up, and given a chance to grow in wisdom and understanding—Yahweh alone was their answer.
The Way of Praise
This praise in despair is a pure extension of our faith in Yahweh. Therefore it cannot be anything from outside of ourselves; it begins with our relationship with Him. Thus, it will be an honest exclamation of your love for God in your own words spoken out loud from your very heart.
The Lord Jesus gave us a wonderful example of this when raising Lazarus from the dead (John Chapter 11), and before His arrest and subsequent torture and crucifixion (John Chapter 17). Christ simply speaks from His heart straight to the Father and unabashedly gives Him the glory due of the only God. That is praise.
Praise, thanks to God, does not end with our own words, however. Because the glory of God and our thankfulness and dependence upon Him so far outreaches the ability of our mind and language to express it, the HolySpirit has given us the ability to pray by His inspiration when we run out of the ability to express our love for Yahweh. After we come to Jesus to be baptized into the HolySpirit, we receive this gift of being able to speak in the spirit (1 Corinthians 14:2-15). This is our answer when our words cannot express what we feel in the midst of this despair; when we realize that Yahweh is our hope and answer, the Spirit gives us the power to express that, in spoken words and in song, in the language of His choosing (Ephesians 6:18)(Jude 1:20)(Ephesians 5:18-20)(Colossians 3:16).
This kind of praise, in the midst of despair, leads us to a consious choice to place our hope and trust in God—we have seen by experience that we cannot put our hope in the things of this world, for it has brought us to this place of despair. Now our heart has been made better by our sadness and we have come to see Yahweh as the sole rightful foundation of our lives. The disciples, when persecuted by the authorities and commanded to stop preaching the truth of JesusChrist and His Name, lived this out wonderfully, with the results confirmed by God (Acts Chapter 4)
The natural end of this kind of joy that results from praise in despair is vowing: a promising to God to do something in return for His goodness. It is the automatic result of being thankful, the desire to repay. King David gives us many examples (Psalms Chapter 76). This vowing is limitless, including sharing your testimony publicly of how God delivered you and filled you with joy in the midst of your despair as you praised Him (1 Peter 3:15); giving financially to His work to enable others to hear the truth of faith in Yahweh and to repay those who do the work (Galatians 6:6-10); helping another person in the same situation you found yourself, with the very same consolation you received from the Lord (2 Corinthians 2:3-5)
The Result of Praise in Despair
Oh, the glories of God that come through pure trust in Him—your life will be transformed as you walk out the truth of putting your hope in Him. Your despair will be neutralized, as you come to see the thing(s) that have brought you to this low point do not have authority over your life, as only Yahweh does.
If and when you must confront the same situation again, whether it be people who have betrayed you, or a similar sickness, or death of a loved one, the anxiety will be nullified. You will remember the works of God that He accomplished the last time it happened and you will not be depending upon the world to support you.
Now you will have a new memory of having gone to Yahweh in the midst of your despair, of putting your trust in Him and pouring out praise from your lips in the middle of that very experience. You will remember the help you received from Him, that could not be gotten anywhere else.
This new memory ultimately will build you up, making your heart better, granting you understanding as you continue to live as a sojourner in this earthly life with God's Kingdom as your home. You will have the foundation to not make the same mistake the same time the world system turns your life upside down, as you will be living in the spirit, only counting upon Yahweh for your sustenance. You will have learned you do not need a human person to make you happy, or a relationship to make you complete, that death has no power over you, and that healing is your right because of the grace of Christ bearing your sickness and sin.
Praise in despair brings you to new heights in Christ, as you continue to mature in the fully grown child that the Father destined you to become.
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The Good Message
As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.
But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.
This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, ChristJesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.
You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.
God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.
That Son, JesusChrist, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.
His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.
The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.
So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.
Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!
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13This is the end of the matter. All has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. 14For God will bring every work into judgment, with every hidden thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14)