Do you by your words put your listeners or readers at the precipice of despair?
Does the complexity of your life's situation put you at the brink of hopelessness?
The first time I met this man, who I will hereafter refer to as the Old Prophet, if my hope was not anchored on the solid rock of ages, he would have dashed it into a million pieces. His words heaved heavy loads of hopelessness and discouragement, which fell like bricks on my heart. I went home and wept bitterly before the Lord. I wrote about this experience in Praise That Breaks The Yoke.
Two year and two months later, I met him again. He was relentless in his quest to create a picture of a hopeless situation. He thought it was my right to be fully informed. He described the complexity of the situation and called them a constellation of risks. He was so explicit and graphic in presenting the picture that if it were not for the peace of God guarding my heart, it would have melted in fear. In the audacity of arrogance he displayed, he wanted my approval for his position.
He saw no hope. He offered no hope. He stripped all hope away.
I wondered what he wanted of me, to jump off the cliff or resign myself to fate?
A Yoruba adage says, one death cannot kill the same person twice!
I was not going to let it happen again. Something welled up in my heart against him and there was a strong nudging in my spirit to resist him. I knew I had to take charge of the situation. The tone of my voice changed. I felt like I grew taller in my spirit and he was no longer looming over me. I refused to cower before him. God gave me the grace and the strength to challenge him.
I knew at that instant that we were not wrestling against flesh and blood in this matter but against spiritual wickedness in high places. I refused to be pushed over the edge into the pit of despair and fear. "Raise a clarion call" rang aloud and clear in my spirit and I knew what we had to do.
My Heart Is Fixed
After the Old Prophet left us, my husband thanked God for the peace with which He garrisoned our hearts against agitating fears. Our hearts were at peace trusting in the Lord and we were not moved. It was pure joy to stumble on Ps. 108: 1-6 later that night as I flipped through the Bible in search of something to read.
O God, my heart is fixed - steadfast in the confidence of faith. Therefore, I will praise and make melody. I am God's beloved. He will answer and deliver me.
(Ps. 57:7, 108:1,6 paraphrased)
I was glad that I knew experientially and beforehand that I will see the goodness of God in the land of the living. It was great to have this awesome promise.
Perchance, you are in a deep and complex situation where the problems are multidimensional and there seems to be no solution in sight. You are overwhelmed by many afflictions and pressed down by loads of care. Your heart is aching. You pine and long for a resolution, for a change in the situation. "When, O Lord?" has become your fervent and ardent cry.
When hopelessness rear its ugly head. Don't give up on hope. Don't give up on God. He will not abandon you. He will never leave you alone in the midst of your trials.
At such times, at the precipice of despair, we need a Friend. We must be very sure our anchor holds on a solid rock and our hearts are fixed on confident assurance that we have a Saviour Who can move the mountain.
Mountains may shake, earth may quake, and storms may swirl furiously, cling to hope. Let your heart be fixed. Let your heart be steadfast and confident. When your faith is established in the Lord and your heart is stayed on God, only then will you be able to sing and praise God in anticipation of what God will do irrespective of the situation. This brings hope. But if only in this world we have a hope, we will be of all men most miserable.
If by the abounding grace of God we are able to maintain a composed frame of mind in the midst of the crisis, we have an even greater reason to be full of praise and thanks. Though the change we long for may seem long in coming but if we pay attention, we will see His mighty hand holding us up. For this again, we can be thankful.
For we know that our God is awesome. He can move the mountain. He is worthy of praise.
While preparing this post, I remembered the card I wrote and pasted on my wardrobe door five years ago. I placed it in the line of my vision when I used to sit at the edge of the bed on my hands. It was Ps. 108:1. I placed it there to remind myself that my heart must remain fixed, steadfast and confident in the Lord despite the billows roaring around me.
The Power of Words
The following day, I met some other members of the Old Prophet's team. When they came in, they sat down. They did not stand over me. They presented the same information, even as graphic as the Old Prophet did. But with each challenge, they offered a possible solution. They offered no guarantee, but they gave hope. They were committed to finding a way around each obstacle facing us to the best of their ability.
Same information. Different presentation. Different attitude. Different result. When they left, they did not leave me in despair. They left me with assurance.
How is your word affecting the lives of people around you? Are your words full of life, hope and encouragement? Or are you manipulating, sowing seeds of discouragement and stripping away hope with your words?
If you cannot give a glimmer of hope, you should not extinguish whatever hope the person had left. Our words should not leave people in despair and without a hope.
I re-committed myself from that day to be an encourager at every instance as the Lord gives me the grace. I will be careful never to allow my words strip anyone of hope. Even when I have to present hard truths or facts, I will do my best to find a way to present it with an assurance of a way out. There will be times when we will be duty-bound to present a grim picture but we must not do so in a way that will put the receiver of that information at the precipice of despair.
This can be as subtle as the comments we make on issues concerning our nations, our families, our workplace (bosses), our churches, etc. The degree of hopelessness that is sometimes transmitted by comments made on the social media can be heartbreaking. Let us be mindful not to extinguish hope with our words but to ignite hope.
Dear friend, if today you find yourself at the brink of despair, hold on, cling to hope, don't give up. God will surely come through for you. Let your heart be fixed trusting in His unfailing love for you.
Have you been at the precipice of despair? How did you come away from there? Share your story in the comment box below and encourage someone today.
I share with you Awesome by Pastor Charles Jenkins.