Emotional despair without faith brings spiritual failure

By Rev. Ron Branch


The experience among people associated with the church that is spiritually incorrect involves the spiritual reactions of those who come under emotional duress. We can be assured that times will be when bad news or dire circumstances confront us. The Lord Himself said that in this life we shall have tribulation. But, for many in the Church, instead of turning first toward God and the fellowship of the Church, many turn away from both.

This becomes an unfortunate response because of the distinct loss of spiritual advantage God and the Church can provide when one’s emotional strength plungers to the lower depths of the soul. It is a spiritual reality that Satan characteristically knows how to turn up the pressure to force downward a person’s emotion, and effectively drive them away from God. Satan knows how to turn our screw.

Spiritual failure is the consequence. While we should not allow this to happen, it is, nonetheless, a common church occurrence.

There is no doubt that the cumulative effect of sorrows and disappointments affect us emotionally. But, there is something that effectively stabilizes and protects our emotions from going lower into depression and despair. It is faith. It is as simple as that—-faith in God. Faith is such a simple spiritual concept. Why do we not utilize it more than we do?

Back in the early 1970’s Hollywood came out with the movie “Earthquake” in which a major earthquake struck the city of Los Angeles, California. People in one of the high-rise office buildings hastily crowded into a elevator. But, on the way down, the cables of the elevator severed, and the people inside the elevator car plunged fast to their deaths.

I have always been uneasy about heights. But, that image of the elevator falling from so high in the building put the fear of God in me about elevators for a long time. After seeing that movie, I intentionally walked a lot of steps because of it.

Eventually, however, I reasoned out the uselessness of letting something like that bother me. The truth of the matter is that elevators have emergency brakes. If cables break, or if something goes wrong with the mechanics, emergency brakes kick in to stop the plunge.

This is merely one way of imaging the importance of faith in God. You and I cannot help that, at times, we fall emotionally due to the pressures of difficult circumstances. But, what faith in God accomplishes for us is that it is like spiritual brakes to stop any further plunge in the emotion. Regardless of how severely we are shaken, regardless of how badly our emotional props or cable in life are broken, the brakes of faith and trust in God kick in to hold us steady until the necessary repair to our emotion is restored.

But, there is one more relative factor to consider as it concerns elevator brakes. It has to do with the fact that they are not flimsy brakes. They are heavy-duty enough to adequately deal with the load of the elevator car and the weight of people in it, which leads to another consideration involving the necessity of having quality faith.

As Jesus and His disciples walked from the Upper Room out to the Garden of Gethsemane just prior the Crucifixion, Jesus told them certain things about which, they said, caused them to truly believe in Him.

Jesus responded with a biting question, “Do you now believe?” In other words, while they might believe at that point, did they have the quality of faith that would carry through the pressure of what was about to come? In just a short time, events would take place that would plunge them into emotional panic. Jesus said they would “be scattered, every man to his own.”

By way of contrast, Church people characteristically possess such faith that keeps them emotionally stable with God and the Church as long as things go well in life. But, if their faith-brakes are too flimsy, fear causes them to take the steps of an easy out.

Take care that your faith cables are Scripture strong.


By Rev. Ron Branch

The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.

The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.