Henry David Thoreau wrote in the opening chapter of Walden that, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. What is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” I’m assuming here that if he were to write this chapter today he would also include women. “The mass of people…” I’ve never really understood what he was talking about, until now. We lead lives of quiet desperation because we keep our trials, our struggles, and our hardships to ourselves, choosing to bear our burdens alone. We are quiet because we don’t know how to share with others what we are going through, or we are afraid of how they will react to us. This is especially true if you are a Christ follower (or more so because of). We lie in bed late at night, desperately crying out to the only One who can really save us, not realizing that others could also be interceding for us.

Quiet desperation robs us of our peace, our health, our faith. We don’t lose faith in God, we lose faith in ourselves. We doubt our relationship with Him who created us and sustains us. After so long of pleading and begging and crying in the dark we wonder, “is there something in our lives keeping God from pouring out the blessings that is promised us?”

“Hello God? Are you there?”

Quiet desperation. Not knowing where to turn. The Psalmist talks about “muddy clay.” I’ve been in the kind of muddy clay that traps you, sucking you further down until you can’t go anywhere. And the harder you try, the more the mud grabs a hold of you pulling you deeper and deeper, giving you a glimpse of how the Mastodon must have felt in the La Brea Tar Pit.

Quiet desperation. It consumes your prayer life, keeping your focus on yourself and neglecting those who are also leading lives of quiet desperation. They might open up long enough to share, for a brief moment, what their lives are like, but you can’t hear because of the noise your own panic makes. Interestingly, quiet desperation isn’t so quiet.

Psalm 40

 

1 I waited patiently for the LORD,
and He turned to me and heard my cry for help.

2 He brought me up from a desolate pit,
out of the muddy clay,
and set my feet on a rock,
making my steps secure.

“Pray for me,” I ask in a voice full of quiet desperation.

B~

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