Despair or Hope: Can’t or Can

Despair or Hope: Can’t or Can June 3, 2022

The Catholic definition of despair is that it is the abandonment of all hope for saving your soul. This happens when you think your sins are so terrible that the God of Mercy cannot love or forgive you.

There we go again—a presumptuous human deciding for God what God will do. It doesn’t compute, though, because God is always willing to forgive. Never underestimate God’s ability to love.

The everyday understanding of despair is simply giving up hope on a situation. What people fear is that their troubles are so beyond help even God can’t make things better. Now that, in my opinion, is the stupidest thing you can think.

Really? You think you have gotten yourself into such a mess that not even God can get you out? So, what are you saying? That the all-powerful God for whom nothing is impossible will find it impossible to help you?

Say that to God’s face, I dare you! What is this: nanny, nanny boo boo, I’ve found something you can’t do?

Admittedly, when you are so broken in spirit and crushed by circumstances that your life is all darkness and pain, it’s tough to remember there is a loving God who cares about you. It’s tough to imagine a better future.

Still, nobody has a crystal ball, so how can anybody be so sure that their problems can’t be solved or that they won’t find happiness? Life can beat you down, but God can lift you up.

Hope is Your Lifeline

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Hope means that anything is possible. Hope means that, since we can’t know the future, we should venture into it with great expectations and the belief that a positive attitude, and God’s help, will achieve our dreams.

Hope is the confidence that God’s has the power to find a better way, and that God will bring something good out of everything bad.

Unplanned pregnancy? Sadly, many women think abortion is their only way out of a difficult situation, but help is abundant at pregnancy resource centers, churches and government agencies with whatever material or emotional support they need.

Having that baby will likely turn into your greatest joy and cause you to meet good and kind people you might not otherwise have known. That child will not ruin your life; instead, it will cause changes for the better.

Drug or alcohol addiction? Did you despair over poverty or trauma? Drugs or alcohol might help you to forget your troubles momentarily, but they only make things worse in the long run, not only for you but for all those who love you.

Hope, however, can motivate you to overcome and succeed. Hope opens your eyes to new opportunities so you can see what you can do instead of what you can’t. Hope heals. Poverty can be overcome, and trauma can be alleviated if you let others help.

Feeling suicidal? Suicide is throwing away your God-given gift of life. Imagine how much that hurts God to have this most precious gift destroyed.

That’s why it is so important to have a strong foundation in faith: when feelings of despair strike, you can survive if you truly believe that nothing is impossible with God and, therefore, tomorrow can be dramatically better.

Image by Kranich17 from Pixabay

Trust in God

You can’t predict the future, so quit saying “never”: “I’ll never find another love; I’ll never be able to finish school; I’ll never be able to take care of this baby.” What if you can though? Will you live a life of regret for whatever you lost because of your “can’t” attitude?

We don’t know when that better job, that new love, or a new opportunity will arrive. Life can turn on a dime. How many times have we all heard a successful person say, “I never thought I’d be where I am today.” Yet somehow, they tried anyway, and voila!

Just as a death or tragic accident can devastate someone’s life overnight, so too can a good turn of events improve someone’s life miraculously. That’s just the way life is! You need faith to weather the bad times and hope to make tomorrow better.

This is not to make light of the complicated, serious difficulties that life can bring. It is just to say that no matter what, with faith in God, you can overcome any hurdle and find peace. Despair won’t get you anywhere, but hope can get you everywhere you want to go.

So, don’t use permanent solutions for temporary problems. Instead, be patient and cling to hope. Despair is a great sin because there is always reason to hope, always reason to believe in God’s loving care for you.


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