I heard the term “slough of despond” used in a sermon one time and then found that it was from the famous book “The Pilgrim’s Progress.” The short story is that John Bunyan wrote that book from prison. He was imprisoned for conducting services outside of the auspices of the Church of England. Many people quote the book…but few read it sadly. It is a book of endurance, perseverance, and overcoming power.
A slough is a swamp. I grew up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland…and there is a LOT of swamp in that area. When you walk through a swamp, you find out just how difficult that is…you are walking along and take a step that “looks good”…and then you sink, almost to the point of your peril. And when you do that enough…you just want to give up.
The slough of despond is that time in your life where you are tired of slogging it out…you are tired of stepping…because you can’t find any solid ground. That is when God has you where He wants you…because you are almost at the point of exhaustion.
God doesn’t do that to see you suffer, He does it so that you can realize your helplessness. Before He can use you mightily…sometimes He must crush you greatly. That is what happened to the Apostle Paul….over and over again….
It is days like that that the words of the hymn, “Great is thy faithfulness” come to mind…
“Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father, There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
“Great is Thy faithfulness!” “Great is Thy faithfulness!” Morning by morning new mercies I see; All I have needed Thy hand hath provided— “Great is Thy faithfulness,” Lord, unto me!
So be encouraged…if you are in the slough of despond…if you are in the swamp…and you legs are tired, and your mind is weary….God is preparing something marvelous for you. How do I know? The following verse sums it up…
Romans 8:39 – neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And finally…Psalm 145:14-19 –14The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. 15The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. 16You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 17The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. 18The Lord is near to all who call on him,to all who call on him in truth. 19He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
Grace and Peace, Dan