One of my daily readings is My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers. It is actually designed to be a daily devotional, but I prefer to switch off days between it an the One Year Bible. This, just to say I am not on March 26th, but instead on February 18th. So as the title says, we are to take the initiative against despair. Rather than including the reading in full here, I will include a link to it on the Utmost.org web site; Go there, and come back when you are done reading because I have more to say;
Oswald says some pretty interesting things, first he defines what despair is, then he says we will all get into despairing situations, and finally he says that we shouldn’t stay in despair, but instead we must get up and move on. That is the overview, but the neat thing about it is the truth behind it, which is that Jesus doesn’t condemn us when we mess up, even if we mess up beyond repairability. Instead, he takes the initiative and comes to us and says get up, lets go. So how can Jesus forgive us when we have messed up beyond repairability. Well, first, we can’t do anything, good or bad that is a surprise to him (He is the alpha, omega, first and last), so it shouldn’t be a surprise to us that he is ready to move on. Second, while our particular mess up might be unrepairable, that doesn’t mean He can’t repair the effects of it. Perhaps a simple example is in order. Suppose Jesus asks me to witness to someone at a rally and I choose to stay home instead. If I don’t go, I can’t very well do what He wants me to do. But, that doesn’t mean I am surprising him or that he won’t have someone else in mind to fulfill the roll he wanted me to fill. I lose out because I don’t get to see Him working, as I would have if I had gone where He wanted me to go, but I am not lost, he just moves on the the next thing in his plan for me. I can screwup my own life, but I can’t screw up Jesus’ plan. Now you might wonder how He can be God if He is changing His mind all the time to make up for my choices. Well, the answer to that is He doesn’t change His mind, He already knew what decision I was going to make before I even made it. If all this makes your head hurt, don’t worry about it too much, just remember He is God, and you and I are better off when we participate in His plan. Oh, yes, and doing that keeps away despair, which is a good thing.