Gloom, Despair and Agony on Me

June 10, 2024

The local news leads off with murder and violent crime reports. The national news continually focuses on the negative impact of everything that changes. When I was growing up, the massive military build-up of the cold war was constantly under attack by the media and frightening the world. Today we live with news about terrorist attacks, dirty nuclear bombs and numerous wars many have trouble understanding, and the media has trouble reporting on. The media is suffering from a deep depression, unable to find any good news anywhere.

It reminds me of the old “Hee-Haw” chant, “Gloom, despair and agony on me, deep dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me!” I sense that this depression of the media news has spilled over into many folk’s personal lives. Statistics are clear that the incidence of depression, divorce, alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide are way up, especially amongst Generation Z, 18 to 27-year-olds.

We must never forget there is a power in the world that can bring real power and real hope into the deepest darkness of our lives, and into the most hopeless situations. That is the power of the Holy Spirit of God.

Consider how hopeless the world looked after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Judas hanged himself. Peter hated himself. The rest of the disciples hid themselves in fear, and some left town. They must have wondered, "The Messiah? Who worships a dead messiah? Three years wasted, and the world is going to Hades.” After the resurrected Lord encountered those beaten, frightened disciples, they were full of joy, and wanted to tell the world.

What did Jesus say? “Wait!” That is right, Jesus said, "Wait. Wait for real power - power to change the world” (Luke 24:49). And they go back to Jerusalem and they obediently pray and wait for that power - the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-13, The story of Pentecost). I believe that the joy of seeing the risen Lord would have been overwhelmed by the world without a power greater than themselves. How often do we begin a project with great energy and expectation, certain we will succeed, and then have our expectations beat out of us by the challenges of life? It was the power of God’s spirit that allowed those disciples to remain faithful when they were persecuted and died martyr’s deaths.

So often we work hard just to stay busy, wondering if maybe life will get easier if we just don’t deal with it. Or we let our exhaustion lull us into inactivity, looking for any diversion to escape. Let us remind ourselves to wait, and pray without ceasing, that the spirit of God will give us power and hope, each new day. Remember, prayer is a very active endeavor that opens us up to God. It is God’s spirit that gives us the power to become new creations - to break with the pain and tragedy of our lives, to have freedom from past sins, to bring love into a hateful family, to change that part of ourselves and our world that seems evil and unchangeable.

This is the central message of Alcoholics Anonymous. Against the evil power of alcoholism, our human spirit is weak. But if one turns to a higher power - God’s Holy Spirit - alcoholics find the strength to be free from alcohol’s grip on their lives. To become and stay sober. We can change. We do not have to keep repeating the sins of our past.

How do we tap into the power of the Holy Spirit? We must remember, the Holy Spirit is not like the force in Star Wars. The power of the Holy Spirit moves through our lives when we pray, practice humility and submit ourselves to His power and presence. Humble submission helps us earn God’s trust to give us His supernatural power to bring about change and miracles in the lives of the people around us.

Do you watch too much TV or listen to too much news radio? Could that time be better spent reading the Bible or praying? What is it about yourself that you want changed? Has God called you to serve Him in some way, but you have gotten worn out and quit? Is it time to stop trusting in your own abilities and humbly submit yourself to God’s Spirit for strength, wisdom, and courage? Wait before acting, and call on the Holy Spirit to come into your life. Pray over and over, “Come, Holy Spirit, come!” Expect God’s spirit to come into your soul and give you power.