DESPAIR is such an unenviable condition, having been there, none of us want to return. Yet, life experience attests to a fact; if we fell to the pit of an abyss once, it won’t be the only time.
That’s said not as a pessimistic take on an otherwise brighter life. If we take the fact seriously — the threat that despair is a routine offender — then we have an opportunity.
Without the presence of despair in our lives there would be little need to tussle for hope.
I think hope only becomes a real possession when we’re desperate to acquire it. Otherwise it is easily taken for granted. There may be no such thing as an ambivalent hope. Hope seems to be something we need to fight for.
And that’s not all.
I wonder if there is a genuine gift of an inextinguishable hope on the other side of fainting, groaning, wilting despair, especially over the longer journey.
I sense that rather than being burned out by the serial pest that despair is, we may be established by it and fashioned positively by the realities of this confusing and fleeting and difficult life. Then we might realise that hope is the opportunity within despair.
But this understanding does not come easily, nor does it make immediate sense.
When I’ve struggled with my mental health, I can still discern the possibility of an inextinguishable hope, though the fact it’s out of my grasp. But, at my healthiest I know I can practice it with consistency, especially as it pertains to serving others. This is why pastors and counsellors must ensure they cater for the needs of their own self-care, simply to stay healthy. But, it’s something anyone can employ — and we should want to partake of the benefits of life experience.
The kindling of an inextinguishable hope is one of God’s greatest promises. When despair has schooled us in how to fight fiercely for hope, where the quest for health prevails, God does not disappoint. Ultimately, the quest for seasons of inextinguishable hope are realised.
God’s hope is an eternal flame enjoyed with no effort on our behalf when we’re spiritually healthy.
An inextinguishable hope, then, comes when we’re spiritually vitalised.