Originally published Sunday, 14 August 2016.
"When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin"
One of the places (and there are many!) I am tempted to despair is in the area of our health. We've spent the last month as a family sick. All of us. One after the other. And then my son had an accident injuring his mouth that required visits to multiple specialists.
We've had chronic health issues over the years, resulting in constant doctor visits, rounds of medication, and surgeries. These days, I immediately tense up anytime one of the kids has a cough.
So when we get sick, I am tempted to despair. I feel helpless, weak, and useless. Questions swirl around my mind all day and night, "Should I switch doctors?" "What's the long term effect of this medication?" "When will we get better?" "How long can I go without sleep?"
I find myself irritable and impatient. Stressed and anxious. Reactionary. All my thoughts and energies are focused on what's happening, it becomes consuming. I just want God to intervene, fix it all, and return things back to normal.
I am tempted to despair.
As the old hymn says, when I am tempted to despair, I need to look to Christ.
"Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me"
If you are tempted to despair today, for whatever reason, look to Christ. And may these words of C.H. Spurgeon encourage you:
"It is ever the Holy Spirit's work to turn our eyes away from self to Jesus; but Satan's work is just the opposite of this, for he is constantly trying o make us regard ourselves instead of Christ. He insinuates, "Your sins are too great for pardon; you have no faith; you do not repent enough; you will never be able to continue to the end; you have not the joy of his children; you have such a wavering hold of Jesus." All these are thoughts about self, and we shall never find comfort or assurance by looking within.
But the Holy Spirit turns our eyes entirely away from self: He tells us that we are nothing, but that "Christ is all in all." Remember therefore, it is not your hold of Christ that saves you-it is Christ; is is not your joy in Christ that saves you-it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that be the instrument-it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not so much to your hand with which you are grasping Christ, as to Christ; look not to your hope, but to Jesus, the source of your hope; look not to your faith, but to Jesus the author and finisher of your faith." (from Morning and Evening by C.H. Spurgeon)