‘The Greatest Faith Is Born in the Hour of Despair’: A Prayer for America Amid Protests & Pandemics By Tré Goins-Phillips for Faith Wire News
In college, I remember hearing our campus pastor’s frequent refrain: “A diamond shines brightest against a black backdrop.” His point was that, as the world grows darker, and our sin paints an increasingly gloomy picture of this temporal existence, the Gospel is illuminated all the more.
In the dark shadows these days cast, there is a canvas on which we can paint the Good News, a holy dominion that deals in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).
But in seasons of such great despair, how do we get ourselves to that place? Dealing in the fruit of the Spirit seems such a distant goal when our cynicism looms like a heavy cloud in our collective cultural psyche.
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Less than two weeks ago, Americans were still, after months, hunkered down in their homes, watching endless news broadcasts about a generation-defining health crisis of unparalleled proportions. Now, the coronavirus is a faint memory, drowned out by riots and protests around the country following the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a white man. The world is moving at breakneck speed and the violence and hate is only escalating.
Hopelessness is waiting at every turn. And we have to make the conscious decision not to embrace it, even when our minds tell us it’s the only option.
The feelings we are faced with in this trying hour, though, are not new. Fear often gives birth to despair. The 13th century philosopher Thomas Aquinas is credited with saying, “Fear itself carries with it its own danger; because when fear is excessive, it can make many a man despair.”
It is critical now for Christians to cling to the faith we champion when the days are good and the trouble far away.
“The greatest faith is born in the hour of despair,” said the late evangelist Lee Roberson. “When we can see no hope and no way out, then faith rises and brings the victory.”