May 18, 2021

Desperation is a Gift

Written by Shana Schutte

Adversity even has the potential to move us closer to God if we are willing to be honest with Him during trials.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – May 18, 2021

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.  Romans 15:13

I once wrote a story about three brown cows who desperately wanted to change color. Tired of their earthy hue, they decided that purple would impress the neighbors and gain them notoriety. So after much planning, the herd’s leader pushed a large can of purple paint out of the nearest farmer’s garage and onto the driveway where it spilled for each Holstein to roll in it.

Their plan worked.

A short time later a farmer passed by. He couldn’t believe his eyes! He’d never seen a purple cow! He’d never even hoped to see one. But one thing was certain; he was enthralled with their pastel beauty so he herded them home. They were proud, and he was impressed—just like they hoped.

And then it rained.

The downpour washed away the paint, and with it, the cows’ posturing and posing. What they’d pretended to be was gone—and all that was left was a purple puddle.

The rains of adversity, like the downpour in this story, have a way of washing away our pretense and revealing our true selves. Adversity even has the potential to move us closer to God if we are willing to be honest with Him during trials. Feelings of desperation are okay and can even be a blessing. 

One afternoon I felt like these cows. I wanted to be impressive but felt inadequate. I longed to be a better woman for God but knew my righteousness was like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). After several moments of bearing the “I’m-not-good-enough burden,” the Holy Spirit whispered.

“Shana, don’t you see that this [desperation] is a gift?” God instantly showed me that my feelings of desperation were indeed good because they pushed me to my knees and closer to Christ. That’s why Matthew wrote, “Blessed are the poor in spirit‚” (Matthew 5:3).

We can only see desperation as a blessing when we recognize that we can gain Christ in greater measure in exchange for it and receive abundant love from Him while our heads are bowed and tears fall.

Pride, the opposite of humble desperation, keeps God at a distance. It makes me think that I have it all together and, by the world’s standards, it may look like I do. But in God’s economy, what looks right is really wrong. That’s why Jesus says that those who are poor in spirit (desperate) are the real winners.

In his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning writes,

“…we never lay hold of our nothingness before God, and consequently, we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with Him. But when we accept ownership of our powerlessness and helplessness, when we acknowledge that we are paupers at the door of God’s mercy, then God can make something beautiful out of us.”

So if you feel desperate, rejoice! Your longing is a gift; your inadequacy a treasure and your need a blessing that can draw you into a deeper relationship with God.

“And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).


Lord, I am so very grateful that I can be real with you. I am thankful that I don’t have to pretend to be strong. You are there for me to uphold and strengthen me no matter what I am going through. Thank you. Amen.


Write down one of the related readings from today on a notecard, carry it with you, and meditate on it today.

Related Reading

1 John 4:18; Psalm 91:14-16; Ephesians 1:3

Worship Resource

Desperation Band – Amazed


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  1. DeeDee says:

    Shana~Thank you so much for writing such beautiful devotional that are always so timely to my life journey. I’ve written you before, as a disenchanted follower wrestling with unfulfilled promises that I believe other Christians and the Church preached as part of a prosperity ministry. It is messages such as yours and Boyd’s that the world needs to see. Messages that reveal our longing for Him and His longing for us. Messages that address the universal question of everyone must suffer and perhaps pain has a holy purpose and if we just hold on we will see that none of it is wasted. Will we be happy? No. Will or Can we find joy? Yes. Once again, your writing has lifted my head, heart and soul. Good job!

  2. Wendy says:

    Thank you for your comment. What a sweet encouragement to our team to see people following hard after Christ!

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