February 23, 2009

Don’t Go There!

Posted in Devotionals at 9:15 am by Sarah Bosse

I am slowly learning from the wisdom of my Gran, a woman who is blind and who has counseled me for several years in the ways of the Lord.  Her life has been literally full of suffering, yet the Lord has used it to draw her to Himself.  One thing she will sometimes say when we’re talking about difficult or painful subjects is “I just can’t let myself go there,” which for a long time I haven’t quite understood.  Now, however, it’s beginning to make sense.  Synonym phrases might be, “I can’t allow my emotions to take me down to despair by thinking about that at this time;” “I need to give that to God and submit my thoughts to Him, so I cannot dwell on the circumstances.”  


The devotional I received in my email today from James McDonald’s ministry, Walk In The Word, sums up this concept.  We must take our thoughts captive and steer them towards the Cross.




Don’t Go There


For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God? – the God who equipped me with strength and made my way blameless. He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great. You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. – Psalm 18:31-36


The goodness of God is stamped all over Scripture. Psalm 27:13 says, “I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (NASB). I love David’s honesty. Here was the only man called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14), anointed by Samuel to be king of Israel, a giant-slayer, but no stranger to suffering, saying, “I would have lost it; I would have melted down if I had not believed…”


Despair is a place that you don’t want anyone to go. People who go there often don’t come back. Despair is an utterly dark place. You’re deep down, down, down, in a damp, dark cave. No light. No air. No hope. Nobody wants to go to despair. The dictionary defines despair as “destitute of positive expectations.” If you’re in despair, you can’t see anything good in your future. You have no idea how life could improve. You have no words to pray. You can’t return to a better time because there isn’t one. The place is gone. You can’t remove the circumstances because the opportunity is gone. You can’t retrieve any level of relationship because the person is gone. You can’t do it over because the time has passed. If you focus on the dark and the deep and the damp, you’re going into despair.


Warning! Picture a blinking, neon warning light here. If you find yourself dwelling on some painful or difficult thing that happened to you in the past to the point that it’s the only thing you can think about—please, stop! You’re headed straight for despair. Second Corinthians 10:5 says that we are to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” You can choose where you allow your thoughts to go. David did. David knew the damp, dark desperation of the land of despair. The enemy called out to him, Come over here, David. Go to the bottom. Give it up. David said, “I heard a voice tempting me to go to despair.” He felt its breath hot on his neck, chasing his hope away. The enemy wants nothing more than to destroy the faithful follower of Christ. You’ll hear that voice too. Learn to recognize it and turn around.


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