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From the Heart

Lifting the Fog of Despair

Posted by Russ Snyder
Russ Snyder
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on Friday, 11 November 2016 in Uncategorized

Living near the beach allows us to see the fog roll in. In May it is called "May Gray" and in June it is referred to as "June Gloom". The fog seems to roll in from the ocean and cover the land seeming to cover the sun while bringing a chilling effect on those who live and work along the coast. 

Despair is like the fog these days. It has rolled into people's lives over the past weeks and months. Unlike fog it has not been seen rolling in, yet like fog it is bringing a chilling effect throughout America. It has been attacking people's view of life. Sadly it has been allowed to distort the vision of our children no matter our race, color, sexual orientation or religion. It is despair that is causing people of faith to fear other people and despair has become the filter through which so many are viewing the future. 

Wherever one lands on the map of what has happened because of American politics in the past months and this week, despair has had an influence. According to Webster's Dictionary "despair" means: to no longer have any hope or belief that a situation will improve or change. While President Obama ran for President eight years ago on the platform of HOPE, this year's Presidential primaries and election cycle have run from the platform of despair. 

The news media has fanned the flames of despair to help it spread throughout the land. The candidates have thrown gasoline on the fires of despair in an attempt to "get" people to vote for them. All sides politically have used despair and now the United States lives in the midst of the strategy to get out the vote. The "shocking" victory this past week of President Elect Trump has left both sides in a fog. While some call for him to drain the swamp as he said he would, others quickly point to the same group of individuals within the establishment who are helping plan his transition. Others have decided it is time to protest and riot to overcome the democratic manner in which the President Elect has been chosen. Their level of despair, of believing they no longer have any hope or belief that their situation, their friends and family will see improvement or changed lives has overcome them. 

While people around us view each other through the perspective of what they have heard, seen and in many cases experienced, God does not. His word tells us that He loves everyone and that He wants us to love our neighbors, not hate them. So what do we do to see despair rolled back and hope restored? Here are some practical steps for everyone to consider, even those who do not put their trust in God.

1. Begin speaking into the lives and homes of the people of the United States God's joy, sense of peace and calm. 

2. Recognize when despair tries to slip into your life and the lives of your family and friends. Watch for it in what you, your family and friends and yes even those who are not in your immediate circle of influence say. Be aware of how you and others are viewing what is taking place. 

3. Choose not to give into despair. To do this you will need to recognize it creeping in or even rushing into daily life. How do you not give into it? 

- Tell it you won't listen to it. 

- Speak the opposite into what you see, hear and experience. Literally say "I release peace, hope and calm into this situation, into this person's life and home." 

- When others are giving into it, when they are being attacked by it, use your hope to comfort others. The easiest way is to turn to God and trust Him yourself. If you are not a follower of God your thoughts of hope and peace will impact others by not pouring gas on the fires of despair they are experiencing. If you are a follower of God trust Him (Proverbs 3:3-6). Stop giving into the fear despair has been using to steal your hope. It has been the path of the Church to listen to those who would lead us into despair, even those who pastor us, by focusing on examples from the Bible of judgement rather than examples of God's love blessing those who trust Him. Choose instead to be one who speaks and lives from a heart of love instead of despair. Focus your thoughts on the words in Philippians 4:8. 

By choosing to live out these steps the fog of despair will lift off you, your family, your friends and the people around you. Begin speaking these words of hope over those protesting and see who God turns their despair into hope. 

If what I've said here disturbs you or even causes you to form reasons not to stand against despair, please consider that perhaps despair has begun slipping into your life and it's time to see it pull back from you like the fog does when the sun shines through and it is lifted from the land.

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