Faith goes for a walk in a forest named Doubt. Faith becomes lost, and meets a person named Despair. Despair assures Faith that he can lead her out of the forest of Doubt. Despair leads Faith to a river called Suicide and tells her to jump in. Just as Faith is about to jump into the river, Hope comes along, takes Faith by the hand, and leads her away from Despair and out of Doubt (example taken from Edmund Spenser's allegorical poem, “The Faerie Queen”).
Do you ever wander through your own forest of doubt, and grab hold of despair instead of seeking hope? The enemy's mission is for despair to destroy any hope in your life, and bring spiritual death to your faith. When wandering through your forest of doubt, your stage of life is actually set for either despair or hope's entrance. You can choose either one. Despair is a choice which takes the path of least resistance. You just give in, and it overwhelms you. Your other choice is hope. You may long for hope to gallop into your life as a knight on a white horse to rescue you, but most often hope enters as a tiny spark. Hope asks you to trust that there will be something better. When you make that choice, that tiny spark of hope has the potential to flame into faith.
Doubt is a state of mind and spirit, but disbelief is a state of your soul. Doubt hears Jesus knocking at the door, and wants to believe enough to open it. Disbelief doesn't even hear His knock (Revelation 3:21). When despair pulls you down to the point of spiritual death, and disbelief has overwhelmed your soul, you have no hope. But Jesus Christ died so that you might have hope! Consider Jesus Christ as Hope in Spenser's poem. He is the Savior that comes as a still small voice and encourages you not to sink into the despair of disbelief. If you allow it, Christ guides you away from spiritual death into a life of faith in Him.
“Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" Jesus asked Martha after raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:40). Do you also want to believe and see God's miracle in your life? Jesus waits for you to place your hand into His wounded one and trust Him. Don’t follow despair around in your forest of doubt. Despair will lead you to the river and tell you end it all. Hope will build a bridge to your promise. Reach up and grasp Jesus' wounded hand, and trust Him. Discover faith and believe.