We all struggle, right? For me, the struggle lately has been in relationships that I don’t know how to navigate. It’s been in wondering what tomorrow will bring. It’s been in anxious thoughts and sleepless nights and endless to-do lists. It’s been in losing myself in my work. Going on this trip, I felt despair rising in me, choking me and wrapping itself around my every thought. I was in the middle of storm clouds, desperately looking for a way out.
Desperation. It’s that gnawing feeling within that eats at the very fibers of your being. It’s a cry in the night, an unmet hunger, a thirst in the desert. It’s the end of your rope, the place you crumble.
I think most of us tend to assume that desperation comes from great tribulation. And yet, I am convinced that it lives within the mundane. It’s the daily struggle, the “stuck-ness” of life. It’s the difficulty of relationship. It’s being overwhelmed with the details. It’s the hollow feeling of being alone. It’s small problems multiplying and piling up until their hugeness blocks the sunlight. In the moments when your hands are thrown into the air, or you collapse in a heap on the floor, knowing not what to pray, knowing only that you MUST PRAY, you are getting there. You are getting desperate.
In The Praying Life, Paul Miller says, “When we struggle, we long for God to speak clearly, to tell us the end of the story and, most of all, to show himself. But if he showed himself fully and immediately, if he answered all the questions, we’d never grow; we’d never emerge from our chrysalis because we’d be forever dependent.”
The longing for God to speak–that is the beauty of desperation. It’s getting to the place where we cry out to him, because no one else could possibly answer the deep questions within us. Desperation shoves us to our knees like nothing else possibly can. And on our knees, our Father meets us. Not always with answers. But always with hope. Only he can show us the cross, and at the foot of the cross, hope utterly abounds. We see the son of God dying in our place, offering us forgiveness and rescue from our dark, sin-laden, storm-cloud-ridden lives.
Desperation. It’s the place we grow. It’s where we change. It’s where everything within us strains for a glimpse of sunlight amidst the clouds. It’s where we realize we can’t fix ourselves, solve our problems, or make it on our own. It’s where our self-reliance is shot to pieces. It’s where pride dies, and faith begins. Stay desperate, my friends. It’s your only hope.