Overcoming desperation

Sometimes circumstances may seem so overwhelming that we feel the pull of hopelessness or despair. But as a woman found when a tornado went through her town, God’s love is right here to comfort, calm, and guide us forward.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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“I am ready to give up; I am in deep despair.” At times, these words of the ancient psalmist and king David, as presented in the Good News Translation of the Bible, might echo in our own thoughts.

But just a few verses later, David follows this cry of desperation with this humble reaching out to God: “Remind me each morning of your constant love, for I put my trust in you. My prayers go up to you; show me the way I should go” (Psalms 143:4, 8).

Like a laser these Bible verses light up the path that leads away from desperation and to God’s love as a “very present help in trouble” (Psalms 46:1), caring for us in ways beyond what we might imagine.

About two years ago a tornado ripped through our town. Trees fell in many places, including two on our property, and there was debris everywhere, but gratefully there were no major injuries.

Despair overwhelmed me as I wondered how everything at our place was going to get cleaned up in the next week, before we left on an extended trip for work. But over the years my study and practice of Christian Science have showed me how prayer effectively brings spiritual uplift and peace. In turn, this enables us to be mentally calm enough to hear divine guidance, even in the most difficult moments. I knew this was possible now, and it was certainly needed!

For a few reasons, it wasn’t feasible to do much cleanup the first few days. But I took that time to pray.

When we let the idea that God is infinite Love itself, as indicated in numerous instances throughout the Bible, impel our prayers, this gives those prayers the full strength of that Love. God, Love, has created each of us as the very expression of good, and is continually showing us – His so deeply loved children – the way to go. Divine Love is revealing to us, at every moment, the Divine’s ceaseless goodness and tender care.

Humbly and trustingly, even unreservedly, accepting this spiritual reality helps open the way for us to recognize and experience the presence and care of Love, no matter what situation we are in. This results in greater calm and confidence. We realize that fretfulness and despair, which God never causes, have no validity to influence or overtake our thought.

I saw that the desperation I felt partnered with a feeling of separation from Love’s abundant, all-embracing comfort and care. So I prayed to gain a deeper sense of what it means for everyone – not just me and my family, but all our neighbors, too – to live, move, and exist in the infinitude and omnipresence of Love (see Acts 17:28).

As I did this, the fear of “What are we going to do?” stopped pressing my consciousness. It became more natural to fully admit and welcome into thought the spiritual reality that Love is in control. I felt a conviction that God would guide us to the steps we needed to take in the right way and at the right time.

This soon proved true. My husband and I were finally able to start cleaning up, and despite the fact that this was simply a start and not a solution, we did so with no feeling of pressure. It wasn’t long before a family-owned tree company stopped by. They saw what was needed, gave us a reasonable price, and were able to come back the very next day. The harmonious way the crew took care of things was such a joy to witness. And we were able to leave town knowing that our home and property were safe.

The ever-presence of God’s love has been, is, and always will be here. Even in far tougher experiences than this, we can turn to divine Love with unconditional trust and feel a comfort and peace beyond description.

Editor’s note: Whether you are praying about your own situation or concerned for the plight of others, you might find this recent podcast on www.JSH-Online.com helpful: “Facing down hopelessness.” There is no paywall for this podcast.

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