When You’re Inches from Despair


I would have despaired unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living (Psalm 27:13, NASB).



Don’t you love David’s honesty? Here was the only man called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, ESV). He was anointed by the prophet Samuel to be king of Israel, a giant-slayer, a fierce warrior, an accomplished writer—yet here he admits in effect, “I would have melted down if I hadn’t believed.” He was inches from despair.

Despair is a place you don’t want anyone to go, not even people you don’t like. People who go there often don’t come back. Despair is an utterly, enduringly dark place. No light. No comfort. No hope. No words to pray. Alone.

If you focus on the dark, you’re traveling downward into despair. Despair concludes that something bad is irreversible. The opportunity is gone. The relationship is over. The train has left the station and is never coming back.

David fought against despair. He heard the tempter’s voice whispering to him to give up, but instead he turned his eyes toward the Lord. David fired up his confidence in a promise-keeping God. We need to do the same and get hold of His promises. People may marvel, “I don’t know how she can be so strong through this.” “How can he just keep going with everything that’s happening?” Here’s how—we fix our hope on our promise-keeping God.

Notice David’s confidence that he “would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” David believed he was going to witness God’s work with his own eyes—not someday, not from a front row seat in heaven, but in his lifetime. David believed he would still be alive on terra firma when he saw God’s goodness.

The eventual conclusion of every generation of God’s children is He is good. You might not think it now, but if you are His, you will have this figured out by the end of your life. Before your last day, “God is good” will come from your lips.

Only the Lord knows what He will have to take you through to get you there. But if you’re God’s child, eventually your value system will align in such a way that you conclude, “The Lord does all things well; He is good!” Everything He allowed, everything He withheld, every difficult season, every stretching circumstance, He meant for good. His disposition is kindness. His default action is for your benefit. He’s good! And someday, you will taste it.

“For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations” (Psalm 100:5, ESV). Every generation of believers learns this truth, and God wants you to experience His goodness. It flows to you as steadfast love and faithfulness, and it is present in everything He does.

Have life’s difficulties caught you off guard? Do you wonder today if God is actually good? Rest assured, if He weren’t going to use that hard thing for your good, it wouldn’t have happened. He has to sign off on every single thing that touches your life. He’s sovereign.

If God lets something happen, He is going to use it for good. He’s not the cause of evil, but He did provide the solution—and He is with us. That’s the gospel. And that’s a God you can trust.


  • What are your best weapons to ward off despair?
  • How have you experienced God’s goodness in your own life?


Father, as I choose to believe Your Word, I feel faith welling up in me. By Your grace, I will not despair. I believe that I will “see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.” I believe You are good, and You are working all things together for good. By faith I say, even in those moments when I don’t feel it, You are good—and I know I will see it with my own eyes. Thank You for who You are, a God who’s wholly good. I can trust You wholly. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.