Desperation comes in different forms. Some things we can laugh at after the fact, and other things seem unrecoverable.
Chances are, either you or someone you know is living in a state of desperation. Desperation takes on many forms depending on the situation. This is a place of total misery that often leads to poor choices, rash decisions, and extreme behavior. Desperation is completely natural when we feel confined in our emotional state of dejection and despondency.
Thick As Thieves
The Bible is full of amazing people who both fail and excel in the deplorable depths of despair. While you will not quite find yourself in the same situation, a good example are the two thieves who were crucified with Jesus.
After they were nailed to their respective crosses, one of the criminals mockingly said: “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself – and us too, while you’re at it.” The second, known as the Penitent thief, took a different angle. He was humbled by his situation and realized the wrongs that put him there. He rebuked the other criminal and took responsibility for the reason they were both there: “We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” With that, despite the piercing pain of the cross, they continued their conversation. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom,” said the thief. Jesus responded by saying, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
In this incredible recount of one of the most important events of the Christian faith, a rebel thief who likely led a life in opposition to everything Jesus stood for was saved from his desperation in the waning moments of his life.
In Romans 10:13, Paul writes: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Whatever your current desperation is, know you are not desolate. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! If no one else, you have the Lord with you. Just as Jesus was by the side of the Penitent thief, you have someone with you in your darkest times.
3 Things About Desperation
1) The pain is temporary. Pain is also just a part of life. Just like the pain of the cross did not last, the pain of your distress will not last. The pain you feel may be emotional or stem from other origins, but it will pass like a kidney stone. Remember: Pain is real. But so is hope.
2) You must change the trajectory of torment. Find the root cause and divert it. To do this, we must deflect it so we are not taking on the brunt of all of the baggage that comes with feelings of complete desperation. This is easier said than done. For many of us, we know the cause, but refuse to do anything about it for one of many reasons including fear, complacency, and even because we want to wallow in our anguish. Sometimes it feels like there is no escaping or “returning to normal.” Don’t let the lies you tell yourself become your reality.
3) Let others help you. You are not alone: the fact is many people may be in your same position and you just don’t know it. How would you? You may not have shared your own painful story with others, so why would they with you? Desperation is the epitome of solitude. Find others who have dug their way out of discouragement. Find trust in those who will help you build from your brokenness. There’s healing in community.
If you are facing desperate times, keep in mind the two thieves on the crosses on the right and left of Jesus. Stay the course. Which of the two courses is up to you.