Ditching Despair

“Arise, let us go.” – Matthew 26:46 NIV


February.  The time of year when resolutions start to fade and the possibility of another chance at “greatness” starts to get fuzzy.


What am I doing?  Where am I going? And why do I feel like the wheels are turning, but the road just isn’t moving.


Same old scenery – different day.


What’s needed is a breakthrough, a jump start, a big push on the swing.


In desperation to make something happen, we attempt to twist and wring our dreams; begging them to get a move on, yet all the pleading, the persuading, and the praying doesn’t produce the motion we hope for.


So, despair sets in.


Despair is that gloomy feeling of discouragement and apathy.  It’s when we trade our little box of hope, for a giant bag of dashed dreams.


The grand plans and infectious optimism we started out with have dwindled, and all that’s left is an annoying voice inside our head streaming our missed opportunities like they were on a billboard in Times Square.


Failure, failure, failure.


Winston Churchill once said, “I’ve never failed at anything in my life. I was simply given another opportunity to get it right.”

photo: Raye Wortel

Jesus is often called the God of Second Chances.  The Bible is littered with stories of redemptions, do-overs, and encores.


One such story took place in a garden…


In the hours before the Romans came to arrest Jesus, he takes his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and gives them one task.


Stay awake.


Jesus goes off to pray, and returns only to find his guys snoring up a storm.  Forget the fact they just ate a big meal, and listened to a cryptic speech about bread, wine and a covenant.  Jesus asked them to do one thing!


I can picture them rubbing their eyes and slapping themselves in the face to stay awake, only to doze off again.


Oh, the guilt and shame they must have felt when Jesus returned three times, to wake them up.


But here’s the lesson.  Jesus doesn’t point out how they failed him, or lament about their weakness, or berate them for their inability to stay awake.


He simply says: “Arise, let us go.”


Second chances were for people 2,000 years ago, and they’re for us now.


See, the opportunity to stay awake and be present with Jesus had passed, but their failure to do it, in no way affected their future growth or usefulness.  In other words, it doesn’t affect ours either!


The disciples could have despaired over how they let Jesus down, but he doesn’t give them a chance to dwell on it – and he teaches us to do the same.


Arise, let us go!


Goals get sidetracked, dreams become waylaid, and plans go up in smoke.  That’s reality, but our response must not be despair.


Callings and opportunities will pass.  We’ll wish we’d done this, or stepped out for that, but the moment we despair over a missed occasion, is the moment we become frozen and ineffective.


God is bigger than the opportunities we leave behind, and if we would just ditch our despair, turn to him, and take one step in obedience, he would accomplish the beautiful, and the life-changing in a far grander way than we ever thought possible.


Arise, let us go!


God, thank you for your Word and your persistence.  Give me courage to let go of despair when I feel like a failure.  Although I am grateful for second chances, may I walk with a heart that is finely tuned to your callings. Show me where I can meet you today.  Amen.


8 Replies

  1. Lori Perez

    Thank you Raye for writing about this. Sometimes I do wonder though if some of us and I do include myself in this that we do things knowing that God does give us those other chances. I am glad though that we do have a God that gives us chances. Not sure where some of us would be if He didn’t . God Bless you and have a great weekend

    1. Although God desires us to obey on first chances, you are so right, it is comforting to know he doesn’t give up easily on us. God bless and have a great weekend too, Lori.

  2. Elise Wortel

    Aunt Raye…I would love to get one of these inspirational books you have written. Im currently in sobriety and the main focus is to give my life and will over to the care of God. I am walking hand in hand with God and I know that I have a purpose in life. ..to do the will of Jesus Christ. Depression and despair come to me at times when im not appreciative of the things I have been given. So good to know you guys are doing well. Would love to talk with you sometime. ♡, Elise

    1. Elise, I rejoice in the way your life is moving right now, and I pray the Lord will fully deliver you from your troubles and despair. You are loved, and always have been; by your earthly family and especially by your Heavenly Father! I will connect with you soon.

  3. Carrie

    I and so many people needed to hear this amazing message! As always: well done!! Sometimes we all need a little pep talk now and then. Even if it’s on our own doing…
    I have to sometimes put the big girl panties and say to myself: that’s it! Enough with the could’ve, would’ve, should’ves…I then start praying, give thanks for my blessings, ask for guidance, the ability to listen and hear what He wants for/from me & tell myself: Don’t berate yourself asking “what could I have done?” but; “what can I do today?” We all are given only one life to live in this world and it is up to use to make the most of our lives while we’re here.

    1. I love your “big girl panties” statement – too funny and true! I’m so glad you found encouragement here, Carrie. Thanks for your compliments and comment.

  4. Devery

    Great encouragement, Raye, and so needed, for so many, in the body of Christ. I am strong, today, but that is because I have a God that has given me thousands of chances to get it right…a reliance on His forgiveness and Grace, His compassion, and His eternal love for me.

    1. Thank you Devery! This post started out as a pep talk for myself, and I knew I wasn’t alone. God’s persistence and patience amazes me!

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