We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body. 11For we who live are constantly being given up to death for the sake of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
At one time or another despair comes to every person in one form or another. As the quote from 2 Corinthians:8-11 says above, “perplexed, but not driven to despair.”
I am silent and do not open my mouth
because you are the one who did this.
Take your plague away from me;
I am ravaged by the touch of your hand. Psalm 39:10-11
Other translations have “I am worn out by the blows of your hand.” That is how I feel. If I feel that way then someone reading this feels the same. Therefore I cannot leave this post wallowing in despair, the Lord will not let me.
Again I turn to the Bible. Job made a very good response.
Then Job answered the LORD and said:
I know that you can do all things,
and that no purpose of yours can be hindered.
“Who is this who obscures counsel with ignorance?”
I have spoken but did not understand;
things too marvelous for me, which I did not know.
“Listen, and I will speak;
I will question you, and you tell me the answers.”
By hearsay I had heard of you,
but now my eye has seen you.
Therefore I disown what I have said,
and repent in dust and ashes.
Hm, that’s not especially comforting is it? How about this.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
That’s closer to it, but it really has not yet been answered has it? We know that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, but how does that help us here right now?
Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ;e for when I am weak, then I am strong.
There it is! Hope! For in our despair we find that our weakness is the cause, but in our weakness Christ says “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” And how does Paul respond? By boasting about his weakness.
Then how should we respond when in despair, or should I say tempted to despair? We can only do one thing, the thing that must be done, turn to Christ in our weakness and despair so that Christ may work in us. Jesus was weak for our sake and died in weakness, now exalted as Christ he is capable of helping us in every way. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”