“Despair is the conclusion of fools.” -Benjamin Disraeli
In previous posts, I often times mentioned this so called “pit of despair”. Well, this is where we, as human beings, get to the point of hopelessness, our entire world crashing down around us. Or, at least, that is what we perceive.
To illustrate this, the great John Bunyan presents a similar scenario in this scene taken from his book, The Pilgrim’s Progress.
THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND
“Now I saw in my dream that, just as they had ended this talk, they drew near to a very miry slough that was in the midst of the plain; and they being heedless, did both fall suddenly into the bog. The name of the slough was ‘Despond.’ Here, therefore, they wallowed for a time, being grievously bedaubed with the dirt; and CHRISTIAN, because of the burden that was on his back, began to sink in the mire.”
“Then said PLIABLE, ‘Ah! neighbour CHRISTIAN, where are you now?'”
“‘Truly,’ said CHRISTIAN, ‘I do not know.'”
“At that PLIABLE began to be offended, and angrily said to his fellow, ‘Is this the happiness you have told me of all this while? If we have such ill speed at our first setting out, what may we expect ‘twixt this and our journey’s end? If I get out again with my life, you shall possess the brave country alone.’ And with that he gave a desperate struggle or two, and got out of the mire on that side of the slough which was next to his own house: so away he went, and CHRISTIAN saw him no more.”
“Wherefore CHRISTIAN was left to tumble in the Slough of Despond alone; but still he endeavoured to struggle to that side of the slough that was farthest from his own house, and next to the wicket gate: which he did, but could not get out, because of the burden that was upon his back. But I beheld, in my dream, that a man came to him whose name was HELP, and asked him what he did there?”
“‘Sir,’ said CHRISTIAN, ‘I was bidden to go this way by a man called EVANGELIST, who directed me also to yonder gate, that I might escape the wrath to come; and as I was going thither, I fell in here.'”
“‘But why did you not look for the steps?'”
“‘Fear followed me so hard, that I fled the next way and fell in.'”
“Then said he, ‘Give me thy hand.’ So he gave him his hand, and he drew him out; and set him upon some ground, and bade him go on his way.”
“Then I stepped to him that plucked him out, and said, ‘Sir, wherefore, since over this place is the way from the city of Destruction to yonder gate, is it that this plat is not mended, that poor travelers might go thither with more security?’ And he said unto me, ‘This miry slough is such a place as cannot be mended: it is the descent whither the scum and filth that attends conviction for sin doth continually run; and therefore it is called the Slough of Despond. For still, as the sinner is awakened about his lost condition, there arises in his soul many fears and doubts, and discouraging apprehensions, which all of them get together, and settle in this place: and this is the reason of the badness of this ground.'”
Despair comes upon us when realize that there is nothing that we, ourselves, can do in our weakness. That is why our Heavenly Father’s gift of grace is so beautiful. Through His mercy and strength, we are able to overcome any obstacle. All we have to do is place our trust in Him.
Do you trust Him today?