Three options when facing despair

Chris Vais tells the story of a Scottish colonel in the First World War. He was preparing his troops for battle when a message came telling him that his own son had been killed on the front earlier that same morning.

He went into his tent for a little while. After a time, he came out to lead his troops into battle.

He was later asked what he had been thinking about when he was in the tent. He said: “I had three choices. I could turn to strong drink and drown out my sorrow. I could turn to despair and give up. Or I could turn to God and continue. I chose the latter.”*

Are there times when you are in despair? Your situation is surely different than that of the Colonel’s. But we can learn from his responses.

We can indulge unhealthy habits to numb the pain. We can simply give up.

Or we can turn to God and continue.

James says: “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12).

God has weathered storms. In fact, he is enthroned above them. He has wept tears for his people over the presence of death and Satan in the world (see John 11:35). And he has proved victorious time and time again.

When Jesus says that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), that doesn’t exclude things in your own life.

When you’re going through hardship, and even when you’re just going through a difficult week, look at the options and choose wisely. Turn to God and continue. 

He had you yesterday. He has you today. And he will have you tomorrow.


–New podcast and blog. “Understanding Baptism.” In this piece, I explain the meaning of baptism, who we baptize, and provide the rationale. You can click here, or tune in to ‘The Pulse Podcast with Matthew Ruttan’ wherever you subscribe to podcasts.

–*Chris Vais, For Words: A journal of hope and healing (Susan McLeod), 61.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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