The gift of desperation...

Nobody I know wakes up consciously desiring and actively pursuing desperation.  If they do, we usually call this person melodramatic or masochistic.  No, a desperate place comes upon most like a thief in the night.

I know few if any who have escaped this life without travelling through a tunnel of desperation or as the Bible describes it, "the valley of the shadow of death".  Try as we may, it's impossible to insulate ourselves from the philosophical 'problem of pain' that brushes up against us some days, ambushes us on others.

I heard someone talk about the "gift of desperation" and they said that it was their acronym for GOD.

G - Gift
O - Of
D - Desperation

I found the whole discussion incredibly intriguing.  The woman described her life spirraling out of control saying...

"I was deteriorating faster than I could lower my standards."  hahaha.

In her case it was depression, hopelessness, isolation, and sadness that led to anger, drinking, bitterness, and despair.  She struggled to get out of bed, regret nagging her from her past, dread harrassing her from the future.


She spoke of how often the place we find God is in those dark and dismal moments of desperation, hanging by a thread.  J.K. Rowlings said it this way: "Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."  From what I've experienced personally and witnessed as I've walked along others in ministry, this seems fairly common.  The depth of the despair varies, but the emptiness is palpable and this is where the real quest and questions begin.

The reason I like the acronym of G.O.D. as the gift of desperation is not to be comfused with a promotion of God producing it, merely using it to awaken us to His reality.  The Bible says that he is "an ever present help in times of trouble." - Psalm 46:1  Quite often comfort does nothing to raise our consciousness and curiosity of God, on the contrary, it seems to cause us to ignore his existance and forget His presence.  Humans have a tendency to turn to God when things take a turn for the worse, and with every increasing level or layer of trauma, the desperation (or need) intensifies.  Our senses that were once senseless are again sensitive, and we are painfully aware of our need for God's intervention.  I've heard people describe it as the crutch of Christianity...I prefer to think of it as a stretcher.  A crutch doesn't go near far enough.

It's odd to think of it in terms of a Gift.  But when you think about your life in light of eternity, it could be that trouble is one of the most fortuitous of blessings.  I'm not saying that we want it, but that we accept it as an agent of change, transformation, illumination.

I was just reading a book where the author (Rick Warren) contends that many are praying, "Comfort me" when they should be praying, "Conform me".  If our goal is to become like Christ, he allows and uses hardship and heartache to shape us into His image.  To say we want to be like Christ minus the suffering means we do not, in fact, want to be like Christ for his road was replete with suffering leading to the ultimate torture of the cross.

In America when despair, depression, or desperation besiege us, we immediate think something is wrong.  Either God has given up on us or we must be given to some sin that is putting a curse over our life.  If you consult those who beieve in the "health ane wealth" doctrine, the prosperity gospel, they struggle to explain suffering, sorrow, desperation, and death.  It seems that Jesus is a ticket out of difficulty and depression.  It just takes faith.  I understand the sentiment, but it's just that, sentimental.  Romantic, even.  You cannot read the story of the gospel without seeing Jesus named, "The Man of Sorrows" walking the path of chosen pain for the greater good.  He didn't promise his followers long life and golden parachutes should the stock market collapse.  His promise was peace in the pain.  Strength in the storm.  Eternal life in the death.  And that is precisely what each apostle experienced, exceeding joy ending in excruciating death.  Martyrdom.

Even a casual reading of Scripture exposes you to their moments of desperation and their cries for rescue.  But their cries for rescue always seemed secondary to their cries for redemption, even if it meant temporary persecution or tribulation, even death.

They clung to Jesus in their hours of suffering.  Desperation was the place they intimately met with God.  They experienced his transcendant peace even as they expired from earth.

G.O.D. - Gift of Desperation

Could it be that some of the greatest gifts of my life thusfar are the things that I've always viewed with disdain?  Could it be that some of my closest moments with Jesus in the days to come will come not through success, but suffering?

May my desperation cause me to become more desperate for Jesus.


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