Discouraged, Disheartened, Emotionally Drained? Hope in God!

Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. -Psalm 43:5

Beginning with Palm Sunday, lies, false witness, denial, slander, scheming, injustice, rejection of truth, hypocrisy—human sin and daily life are played out vividly in the events of Holy Week

For many, it has been that and even more. It has been a year since we embarked on a journey that we had never imagined, one filled with many ups and downs, with a seeming “no end in sight” scenario. The goalposts have changed so many times, even the most positive amongst us are growing weary. Do you find yourself today—discouraged, disheartened, and emotionally drained? Do you feel that God has abandoned you, and you have nowhere to turn?

You are not alone. Years before us, King David cried out:

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? –Psalm 22:1

These are the same words that Jesus uttered from the cross. From our human point of view, the context for both is similar. Both David and Jesus were being mocked for putting their trust in God.

All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!” (Psalm 22:7-8).

So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him.  He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way (Matthew 27:42-44).

In both cases, when those around David and Jesus heard their cries, they assumed that the words were a complaint against a powerful God. In reality, they were a prayer to God in confident trust that he would rescue them and deliver them. They were placing their hope in God’s assured promise: “Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).

As we read further in Psalm 22:24, David’s desperate plea turns to glorious praise:

For he has not despised or abhorred
the affliction of the afflicted,
and he has not hidden his face from him,
but has heard, when he cried to him.

For Jesus, as they say, the rest is history—Resurrection History! The glorious rescue and final delivering event for all those who call on him.

What does this all mean for us today? Freedom and deliverance!

It would be difficult to calculate the number of times someone felt abandoned, cried out to God, was delivered, and set free. This freedom is a gift from God from all oppression, harm, despair, disillusionment, or final destruction—a gift from Jesus Christ “who died to save us all.”

There is a green hill far away,
without a city wall,
where the dear Lord was crucified,
who died to save us all.

So this Holy Week, like those who have gone before us, cry out to God about your pain, your frustration, your anguish, your sorrow, and trust him to deliver and comfort you. Express your grateful confidence that whatever discouragement you face today, Jesus Christ died on the cross in your place—and even death could not kill him. Through his resurrection, he grants you and me access to that same resurrection power.

If our very bodies can be brought back to life (even greater life than before), then the lesser things of life are equally open to restoration and transformation. The good news for us is that whatever we’re facing—loneliness, illness, divorce, death, the loss of a loved one, financial turmoil, betrayal—a trustworthy, faithful, loving God is with us.

Our jobs can be lost, our careers can take a downward turn, our dreams may come crashing down in a single afternoon, but there is nothing that can be lost in this world that is beyond recovery. In the last act of history, God himself appears on the scene again to rule in person over his beloved creation and to banish forever all evil, tears, pain, bitterness, and death. Thank God for the rescue you so desperately need and which he is bringing to you.

Photo by Mike Page @KaltenbergMike

John I. Snyder
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