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Dealing with Despair (Psalm 119:25)

My soul cleaves to the dust; revive me according to Your word.
Psalm 119:25

In this life there can be so many challenges. We can suffer greatly because of the consequences of sinful choices. No doubt many of you have felt the searing pains of loss. Your circumstances took such a serious turn that it seemed too much to bear. The tears seem as though they will never end. The heartache is so great that simple things like breathing become laborious. There can be a terrible sense of darkness, loneliness, sadness… In the midst of such difficulty, how do you respond?

It is tragically easy to think that if I know and love God, then my circumstances will be favorable. Of course, the result of such thinking leads to serious consequences when life does not go as we hope. For many who claim to know Christ, circumstances can quickly derail their faith. Rather than learning what it means to trust God in the midst of the circumstances, difficult circumstances result in questioning God, getting angry at God, walking away from church and Christian friends, and pushing back from God’s word.

Life is such that the psalmist is laying prostrate on the ground in utter turmoil. There is an obvious sense of despair. No doubt there are some reading this who have been so overwhelmed by the serious circumstances of your life that you fell face down on the floor in complete helplessness. You were likely wondering how you would be able to face the next moment. Think of the person who has stopped breathing. If something does not happen in short order, they will no longer be alive. The psalmist paints such a picture. Life has reached such a point that without Divine intervention, there will be no hope.

There are certainly many different prayers that we might be inclined to pray when we are cleaving to the dust; when our world has fallen apart; when we are struggling to make sense of the difficulties of life. The psalmist clearly proclaims his confidence in God’s word as the source of encouragement and hope in the dark days of life.

Verse 25 is a dramatic illustration of a precious paradox: whenever the ‘I’ is thoroughly exasperated, the child of God is in a position to be completely dependent. For the Psalmist, that meant turning unreservedly to God for spiritual revitalization.1

It is critical for Christians to understand that we are revived by God’s word. When the difficulties of life increase, so should our time in God’s word. When we are tempted to allow our minds to dwell completely on our circumstances, we must practice biblical meditation. Training our minds to dwell on that which is excellent (Philippians 4:8) will be essential if we are to be revived according to God’s word!

1Zemek, George J., The Word of God in the Child of God, p. 118.

Rocky Wyatt

Rocky Wyatt came to know the Lord as a young teenager and began working in youth ministry when in college. After serving in churches in Utah, California and Colorado, Rocky moved to Texas to serve as Youth Pastor at Countryside Bible Church. He served there for 26 years where he eventually moved from youth ministry to serve as an Associate Pastor.

Over the course of his ministry, Rocky has always had a desire to train men for pastoral ministry in the context of the local church. In 1992 he started XL Ministries, an organization that is committed to helping churches establish intensive internships for pastoral training. In 2020 he left his position at Countryside Bible Church to become the Executive Director of XL Ministries and now works full time assisting churches in training men for ministry.

He is co-author of The Youth Ministry Training Manual, a textbook for training youth pastors, and has also written multiple other resources for use in various local church ministries. He is currently working on a book to encourage churches to take the primary responsibility to train pastors.

Rocky is married to Pamela, has two sons and daughters-in-law, and ten grandchildren. 

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.1 Corinthians 15:58