“I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13, NASB).
I have some broadening work to do, and it’s not of my horizons. Maybe you do, too. It’s the broadening of that stretched-thin line between despair and “would-have” despaired.
When I find myself teetering on the edge of despair, or maybe even camping out in its unsteady wallows, I’m learning how important it is to heed the red flag warning—the one telling me my belief must be misplaced. It must have fallen into the hands of humanity—the hands of incapable-of-goodness humanity. It has been misplaced into the care of self or others. And if that is really where my hope lies in the midst of difficulty, I have every right to despair.
Instead, the more sure I am of God’s goodness, the less my helpless circumstances look like true despair. The more moments I choose to rightly settle my belief as confidently-assured hope in Him who has proved ever-faithful, the less my circumstances look like true despair.
In all calamities of experience or commotions of mind that befall me, it is easy for my spirit to experience grievous overwhelm. Yet even in the deepest pit, nothing is so effectual in keeping my soul from fainting than the unchanging goodness of the Lord, remembrances of His pleasures and presence, and foresight of His glories.
If (when) you find yourself in this familiar desperate condition, join me in the sanctifying widening of the gap. Every honorable thought of Him, every gaze toward His merciful goodness, every courageous step of dependency broadens and strengthens that rickety in-between, so that we may stand once more on the solid ground of His goodness.
May our despair of today become only a “would-have,” only a recognition of what could have been were it not for the sure goodness of our Lord. The very next verse of Psalm 27 earnestly encourages, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord” (v.14, NASB). It will come. Believe.