OVERCOMING DESPAIR

The Upper Room devotional reflection for Friday, October 21, 2022, comes to us from Amy Graham of Ohio

1 The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 2 When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall. 3 Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.

Psalm 27:1-3NIV

 

OVERCOMING DESPAIR


The year 2016 was filled with several life-changing events for my husband and me, the most painful of which was the loss of both our fathers. We were grief-stricken. However, my husband was largely able to carry out his regular responsibilities. He worked as a pastor and served in leadership roles on various levels within our denomination. As he carried on and continued to work, I felt alone, angry, and stuck in my grief.


Even though it is my habit to pray every morning, I found it hard to go to God in prayer during this time. One day, I decided I had to do something to break myself out of this pattern. I sat quietly and simply said, “Thank you, God.” The next day, I thanked God again. With each new day, my time with God grew longer, as did my list of thanks and praise. Each time I expressed gratitude to God, I felt like light was breaking through the darkness that surrounded me. As my spirit of thanksgiving grew, God’s light overcame my despair. These months of grief, anger, and prayer taught me that God is always there, even in our darkest times. Honoring our Creator with our gratitude reminds us of God’s ever-present light and love.

 

Friends,

Each of us, at one time or another, have endured a season of sorrow as we grieved the loss of a loved one. While there are stages to the grieving process, when and how long we spend in any one stage is largely situational. One person may linger in anger longer than another. One person might be able to move swiftly to acceptance while another seems stuck in despair. In our seasons of sorrow and grief, where can we turn for comfort, we can turn to God. Amy’s reflection reminds us that turning to God with our heartaches, questions, doubts, and fears helps us heal. Giving God a simple prayer of thanks offers us a process to refocus our hearts from the pain we feel to the great physician who “wipes every tear from our eye” (Rev. 21:4).

--Pastor Anthony

 
Prayer:

Gracious God, thank you for your abiding presence. Help us to see your light in season that feel cloaked in darkness. Amen.

-- Amy Graham


Prayer Focus:

People feeling distant from God.


Thought for the day:

Today I will tell God what I am grateful for.