We live in a day and age where it is not normal to tell people how hard life really is at times. We tend to cover up our difficulties from fear of judgement or rejection. We don’t share our suffering with others from fear of overburdening. We often don’t share the realities of how hard life really can be because we don’t want to give up the facade that we actually have our lives all together. We often feel we have to downplay our difficulties because we don’t have it near as bad as others; so words like “suffering,” “depression,” or “despair” are words we would never imagine using for our own circumstances.
My wife, Hanna, and I have been in the middle of a very difficult season over the past few months. At times we’ve felt alone, anxious, angry, and fearful. We know we are not alone in our suffering, but often times in the middle of it we can feel very alone. Our church family, friends, and blood family have been surrounding us with love and comfort but even so, there are times where life has you feeling out of options, pressed deep into a corner, without hope and in the dark—at your wits' end.
When we look to Psalm 107:23-27 we see a group of sailors in an equally dark situation:
Some went down to the sea in ships,
doing business on the great waters;
they saw the deeds of the Lord,
his wondrous works in the deep.
For he commanded and raised the stormy wind,
which lifted up the waves of the sea.
They mounted up to heaven; they went down to the depths;
their courage melted in their evil plight;
they reeled and staggered like drunken men
and were at their wits’ end.
The sea strengthens, the winds lift, and the men become incredibly fearful. They’re scrambling in their ship, searching for an escape, with nowhere to go but down. You’ve been there, too, pacing the halls of your home without answer. If there is relief, you certainly don’t see it. The cancer hasn’t left, you’ve lost your unborn child, your family is on the verge of meltdown, your spouse wants nothing but divorce. In these moments, we become desperate.
The sailors were there, too. They realized they were not able to create their own way out and “they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress” (Ps. 107:28).
Believe me when I say this: even when the days are dark, God hears and answers the cries of desperate people. Sometimes we become so enslaved to our depression or suffering that we cannot even believe there is hope. If you’ve never been there, you will be. When you are at your wits’ end, know and believe that God is not at His. He is near and He has not left you alone. Cry out to him. He loves His children and He will answer their cries for help.
Jesus has been there too, crying out to his Father is his despair searching for a way out. He wept in the garden and he will wipe your tears away. He’s felt the pain of being turned on by his closest friends. He’s suffered through the loss of loved ones. When you’re at your wits’ end, He has already been there. He suffered alone, so that we never have to. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).