Understanding Despair “It’s a Wonderful Life”

Job 6:14 “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend; So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.”

I will confess, for most of my life I really had no empathy for the despair of others. I really didn’t understand how one could be anxious or depressed, I viewed it as a moral weakness. And I really couldn’t empathize with suicide either, viewing it from my moral high ground, I saw it as the ultimate weakness. I was quite self-serving in this regard, I looked down on those going through despair.

It was not until I went through deep despair of my own, that I actually understood what it was, and could start to empathize with it.  A couple of years before my rebirth, I went through a very dark period. Each day was worse than the next, I was filled with anger, depression, and anxiety. Being the proud Roman Catholic I was at the time, I didn’t turn to God but just viewed it as a weakness. As the days went past, the despair grew. I could not see a way out either. By the grace of God alone, I wasn’t suicidal or having those thoughts, but having been through that darkness, I can understand it now a bit better how one can approach taking their own life.

Without faith in God, make no mistake, there is no end point to despair. A person who takes their life does not view it as selfishness as some would accuse it of, they view it as easing the burden off of others, as they view themselves now as the ultimate burden. The despair has consumed them, they cannot see how the next day will be better.

In the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life”, which is a classic Christmas movie, it shows the life of George Bailey. If you have not seen this movie, I won’t wreck it for you, but George goes through utter despair, his business fell apart in a moment, he could not see a way forward. George thought about taking his own life, easing the burden for him and his family.  In the fictional tale, God grants him to see what life around him would be like if he were never born. George then recants, as the guardian angel tells him “you really have had a wonderful life”.  The key part I think people miss, and it is quite subtle, is when George pleads to Clarence (the guardian angel) “I want to live again”, he repeats it over and over. Then he says “please Lord, I want to live again”, and his life is restored.  The point being, it was when George prayed directly to God, he came to the point of understanding that this was the only way. The despair lifted and George is restored.

George’s despair was something many of us can relate to.   If you live long enough, there will more than likely come a time when shear despair will come.  If your faith is not in God, but in the world around you, there is MUCH danger in reaching the point of no return. The despair can and will consume you.  You might of had a happy life without God up to this point, but this is fleeting when the shear helplessness of despair comes.

Turn to Jesus Christ today!  He is the GREATEST REMEDY to all despair!  With Him there is rest and peace knowing He is in charge and all things will be worked to your good. It doesn’t mean bad things won’t happen, but you have a weapon against the despair which will come, a glorious person in your corner who will see you through life’s biggest issues.  Don’t trust in yourself, you will let yourself down when despair comes, speaking from experience on this. Trust in God!  As George Bailey humbly pleaded “I want to live again!” to God, He will answer that prayer because you placed your entire trust in Him!

Depression drugs will not cure despair, they cover up and hide all the underlying problems. I am not saying they don’t help those with serious chemical imbalances, but they will never be able to cure you of the inner despair.

If you find yourself in despair, turn to the only One who can cure you! The Lord God Almighty.  Don’t turn to the world, turn to Him! The world will give you more despair and people telling you “buck up!” or “your life isn’t so bad, look at me”..turn to God instead who will always say “come to Me you who are burdened and weary, I shall give you rest”.

If you find a friend or a person in your life in despair, don’t judge and accuse or give a pep talk, empathize!  Understand the despair, point them to God.  None of us are beyond despair living in a fallen world, remember this.







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