Hearing from God in Despair

Guest Post

When you live with PTSD you often find yourself full of despair. (Or even if you don’t, life can be full of upsets, trials and seasons of despair.) Satan likes to strike hard with this feeling. He loves to scream in your ear, “You’re no good. Your situation is hopeless.” Living in victory while hearing this voice constantly in your ear is challenging at best. It also makes it difficult to hear from God.

There will be times when we feel as though we’re talking to the wall. We’ll wonder why God isn’t answering us. Oftentimes this will happen when we’re in the midst of despair so what do we do then?

prayig to a brick wall

Keep Talking to God:

We’re called to grieve without minimising our pain or losing our hope (Psalm 88). At the same time, we’re also called to rejoice as we experience life in Christ (2 Corinthians 6:10). This is the life that God has called us to with our hope in Christ. Unfortunately, there are times when all of this can be very overwhelming though. When it seems like despair is being piled on us, don’t stop talking to Jesus.

Although you may find it difficult to trust Him right now, you can share your current unbelief with Him. Repeatedly having these hard conversations can result in the intimacy and help you need. However, this will only happen when you’re honest with God – something He can definitely handle.

Tell God What’s Really Bothering You:

Knowing that God can handle whatever you tell Him, make sure you tell Him when life feels like too much for you, when He doesn’t feel close, when you feel like you can’t go on, and especially when it feels dark on the inside. Remember, He’s your Savior but He can’t save you if you don’t admit your need to Him. He’s there to help you through prayer, through His promises, and through His people – you just have to seek these things out.


Remember how God was Faithful to You in the Past:

We see people throughout the Bible questioning whether God has abandoned them (e.g. Psalm 85). However, amidst this fear we also see these same people remembering God’s past and how He was faithful then. Calling these times to remembrance helps evoke courage. Some of the places throughout the Bible where you see this happening include:

  •  The Hebrew people weren’t expecting deliverance from slavery in Egypt, but God provided it for them.
  • People struggled to see how God’s conventional promises would be true, yet He kept them.
  • The bleeding woman was healed by Christ when there was no other hope in sight.
  • Mary didn’t believe Christ would be redeemed until she witnessed His resurrection.

Look for a Future Hope:

Stories have a way of shaping our brains by putting us into the narrative’s action. What this means is that we’re simulating the story’s experience as we make sense of the story. This is because we see ourselves as participants in the story. In this way the story regulates our imagination in regard to what’s possible, what’s likely to happen, and what can/should be accomplished. This changes us as people.

Why is this important here? Because the Bible is full of characters who can propel us to move out of our despair into the hope that Christ has provided for us. Some of the best stories to read to help us break out of our despair include:

  • Noah’s building the ark
  • Sarai’s giggle when she thought about having a baby at an old age
  • Moses’ parting the Red Sea
  • Jonah climbed out of the belly of a fish and declared his enemies forgiven
  • Mary believed she’d give birth to a Savior
  • John the Baptist was humbled to prepare the way for someone greater

Hearing from God takes action, especially when we’re in the midst of despair. We must really focus on making Him the centre of our day. To do so we need to find a quiet place to connect with Him each day. Give it time and be patient. Above all else, always remember that God loves you and is looking forward to communicating with you each day. That’s why even when we feel as though we can’t hear Him, He’s still there finding other ways to communicate with us. So, rest assured, the next time you’re going through a season of despair God still cares enough to speak to you if you’ll just silence
your heart enough to listen.

About the author

Brenda Hoffman is a life coach who helps women who suffer from PTSD due
to childhood abuse or domestic violence take better care of themselves so
they can experience God’s love and live out His calling on their lives.

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