When You Feel You Can't Go On

portrait-closeup-people-emotion-depress-1487978How long? How long? This is the recurring question asked by a person who doesn't know where to turn. He feels paralyzed, exhausted. He is tired of seeing one dead end sign after another.

We’ve all been there, most of us more than once.

The Psalms remind us that when we do, we shouldn’t think that something strange is happening to us.  In the Psalms we see that God fearing people were no strangers to dark days. We discover that life is not only “hallelujah”; it is “how long” as well.

Psalm 13 is a case in point. Right from the bet we hear David’s cries of agony. Four times he says: “How long?” He asks God: “Did You forget me?” “Did You hide from me?” “Why don’t you intervene?” He begs God for a sign of life: “Consider and answer me, O Lord my God” (4a).

We can learn much from David. He pours out his heart before the Lord. He laments. He hasn’t lost God, He still calls Him “my God” (3), but he struggles. And he is honest about it. He releases his raw emotions before the throne of God. He does so with reverence and respect, for God is still God.

But David does more. He chooses, once again, to place His trust and hope in God. Beginning in verse five he stops looking down at his circumstances; He looks up to his Lord. David has turned the corner.

  • “I have trusted in Your steadfast love” (5a) – He focuses on God’s character.
  • “My heart shall rejoice in Your salvation” (5b) – He finds joy in God’s saving grace.
  • “I will sing to the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me” (6) – He counts God’s blessings.

Jesus was utterly realistic: “In the world you will have tribulation” (Joh. 16:33a). He didn’t sugarcoat the life of His followers. But He gave a promise too: “But take heart, I have overcome the world” (Joh. 16:33b). Though darkness may threaten to overwhelm us, Christ has promised to never leave or forsake us. When we draw near to Him, He will give us tailormade mercy and grace in our time of need (Heb. 4:16). 

Hudson Taylor, missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (now known as OMF International) was no stranger to darkness, but he knew to Whom he had to turn. He said: "I am so weak that I can hardly write. I cannot read my Bible; I cannot even pray. I can only lie still in God's arms like a little child, and trust."