Recently two Florida teens were swimming in the ocean when they were pulled away from shore. They found themselves two miles from shore. The waves were choppy and the current was strong. After treading water for two hours, their strength was giving out. Hope was gone as reality was setting in. In desperation they cried out to God, “If you really have a plan for our lives, just bring something!” It was about that time that a boat named “The Amen” was going by, thought they heard something in the water and found them. They were rescued from their situation and returned safely to shore.
I haven’t been in a situation like that before, but I have been desperate for God to answer in a hopeless situation. Desperate prayers cut through our religious jargon we like to say to God. They are the most authentic prayers and that’s why I believe God answers so many of them. Our need for God to move will increase our faith in Him and His ability to intervene. God desires that we would have that same desperation for Him even when our circumstances aren’t dictating that need. We are all eternally hopeless without Him. It’s time our lives, our prayers and our relationship with Him reflected that kind of desperation.
Here are some Bible verses on desperation.
1. I was desperate for you to help me in my struggles, and you did!
Psalms 120:1 TPT
2. When the woman realized she couldn’t hide any longer, she came and fell trembling at Jesus’ feet. Before the entire crowd she declared, “I was desperate to touch you, Jesus, for I knew if I could just touch even the fringe of your robe I would be healed.”
Luke 8:47 TPT
3. For when I was desperate, overwhelmed, and about to give up, you were the only one there to help. You gave me a way of escape from the hidden traps of my enemies.
Psalms 142:3 TPT
4. GOD is good, a hiding place in tough times. He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help, No matter how desperate the trouble.
Nahum 1:7 MSG
5. When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and he heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.
Psalms 34:6 TPT
Imagine you’re running for your life. Not only is someone out to kill you, but they have an entire army with them. They have eyes everywhere that are constantly giving up your location. You’re running out of places to hide, and they’re closing in. You see a cave and run into it. You go back into the dark, damp cave and crouch behind a rock. There’s only one way in and one way out. You can hear voices outside from the army as they approach. Your heart is beating so fast you can almost hear it. Just then, a person’s silhouette darkens the cave opening and they step into the cave. Your heart sinks. This is it. Game over. Hope is gone. Despair sets in as the move closer and closer to you. Inside, you’re crying out to God for help because He’s the only hope you have.
This is how David lived and must have felt when Saul walked into the very cave he was hiding in. It was a desperate, hopeless situation. Maybe that’s where you are today. You feel trapped with no way out. You can’t sleep. You’re mentally drained and exhausted. You’re tired of running and hope is gone. People may be wondering why you haven’t thrown in the towel and given up yet. Despair is knocking on your door telling you that there is no hope or anyone who can help you. I just want to say, as someone who has been there, that despair is a liar. When you have no hope, you still have a prayer and that is all you need because God hears even the faintest cry for help.
I’ve found that just because I can only see one way out, it doesn’t mean that’s the only way. God is able to make a way where there is no way. He is able to bring hope into the darkest cave. He is Jehovah Jireh your provider. He is Jehovah Rapha your healer. He is Jehovah Shalom your peace. He is Jehovah Nissi your victory. Psalm 27:14 says, “Trust in the Lord. Have faith, do not despair. Trust in the Lord” (GNT). No matter what is going on in your life, trust in the Lord. He sees you and knows the very number of hairs on your head. He has not forgotten you. He will not abandon you. He will strengthen you and walk through this with you as He did for David, myself and countless others.
Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash
I always love “Throwback Thursday” on social media. Lots of people post pictures of themselves in the past. People laugh and comment about the clothes, hair or where they were. It brings back good memories of a time gone by, but it also is a reminder that we aren’t who we used to be. Times change and so do we. It’s so gradual and slow that we hardly notice it until we do something like a “Throwback Thursday”. When we do that, it becomes very clear how much we have changed and how far we’ve come.
I believe it’s also a good practice to do a Spiritual Throwback Thursday. It’s important to look back and see all the great things God has done for us and to see what He’s brought us through. Times of reflection help us to remember where we once were. They help us to relive the pain and hopelessness of the moment just before God came through. They build our faith so that we can face even harder times in the future. God is faithful. What He’s done in the past, He will do today and in the future.
In Lamentations 3:19-32, Jeremiah reflects on where he had been. He wrote, “I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lost mess, the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed. I remember it all – oh how well I remember – the feeling of hitting bottom. (MSG)” In his time of sorrow, he took time to think back to how he felt in those times of despair he had already faced. He didn’t do it to make himself feel worse in his current condition. He did it so he could have hope.
In verses 21 and 22, he said, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: the faithful love of the Lord never ends! (NLT)” No matter how bad life gets, you can still dare to have hope because God is faithful. Things may look worse than you’ve ever seen them. The sky may be darker than it has ever been. You may be facing the most hopeless situation, but one thing remains: the faithful love of the Lord never ends. You can hold on to His faithfulness no matter how bleak things might seem.
The writer then spends the next several verses reminding himself of the lessons he’s learned in trusting God. He gives himself a pep talk and says in verses 31 and 32, “For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He also shows great compassion because of the greatness of His unfailing love.” Sometimes we have to give ourselves a pep talk too. David did it when he asked himself, “Why so downcast, o my soul? Put your hope in God.” If doing a Spiritual Throwback Thursday was good enough for Jeremiah and David, it’s good enough for us. It’ll help you to remember the faithful love of the Lord.
I was talking to a friend last night at church about how he was doing since returning from our trip to Haiti. He, like many of us who went, has had a hard time readjusting to life here. He said, “In the first few days back, I kept trying to process the poverty and devastation that I saw there. It was overloading my mind and I couldn’t take it. I finally had to quit trying to process how people just like you and me live in that devastation and still get up, get dressed in a shirt and tie and go to work.”
He’s right. I’ve been to a lot of third world countries and seen poverty. Haiti was somehow different. I don’t know if it was the worst I’ve seen or that it just seemed like the worst because most people there seemed to have no hope. The unemployment rate is above 50% and the ones that do have jobs only make between $2 and $5 a day. Most of us make more in an hour than they will all week.
With hopelessness comes the thought that God has forgotten you. People here experience that. I know I have. You probably have to at some point in your life. If you are there right now, you’re not alone. Not everyone has been in your exact circumstance, but plenty have felt that they’ve been forsaken by God. Jesus felt that way too. When He was hanging on the cross, he cried out, “My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?”
I’ve never given much thought to Him saying that on the cross because I knew what was going to happen 3 days later. He wasn’t forsaken and neither are you. He had to go through that so that He could identify with us when we feel forsaken. I Peter 4:1 says, “Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like Him.” He knows what it’s like to think you’re alone in this world and to even be forgotten by God.
Since He knows what you’re feeling, He won’t leave you in that place. What I learned in my own life is that had I not gone through that time of thinking He had forgotten me, I couldn’t fully rely on Him now. Psalm 139:7 tells us that there is no where on this earth that we can go to get away from God’s presence. Even if you can’t feel or see God, He’s there with you in that dark place. He has not forgotten you. He has not forsaken you. Rest in the hope that He will bring you out of that valley and bring you into His marvelous light. He did it for Jesus. He did it for me. He will do it for you.