Are you familiar with despair?

The LORD said: Ezekiel, the people of Israel are like dead bones. They complain that they are dried up and that they have no hope for the future.- Ezekiel 37:11

hand-written warning on the wall at my brother’s front door

The definition of despair is the complete loss or absence of hope.

It’s the feeling you get when you know every day is the same as the day before, and the one before that, and nothing will change in the near future. And so you accept things for how they are, because that’s how they shall be, forever!

I was invited by my old school, for their annual prize-giving, to speak words of life and hope into the few hundred receiving accolades on the day. It was a moving moment, for the right reasons. But also an incredibly sad moment- also for the right reasons.

I know what despair looks like. I’ve been up close and personal with it, and it’s a little like leprosy!

In leprosy, the inability to feel pain is the root cause of the damage leprosy patients experience; it’s their unawareness that they are hurt, and are in need of help, that is their biggest killer. And on the streets of Grabouw, leprosy — of the mind — is rampant. The inability; the unawareness, that despair and hopelessness is NOT what God intended for them, is the very thing that hurts them, and moves the community backwards. On every second corner you turn, you see young men sitting, waiting, for life to pass them by; sitting, waiting for the next “opportunity” to come their way.

That is what the definition of despair looks like in it’s full colours- when you are almost certain that tomorrow will have NOTHING exciting.

You know that dead-end job you’ve been in for the last few years, where you get to every Monday morning and ask yourself, “why on God’s earth am I doing this?”

That’s despair!

And when I looked out over the students from my old school; when I looked down the street of my brother’s house — the one in the picture above — I knew that was Ezekiel 37 right there. It looks like things will continue to be hopeless. It looks like despair will win; like the dry bones won’t come to life.

But that’s not how the story ends — certainly not for Ezekiel!

And it won’t end with despair and dry bones for Grabouw. it won’t end in a lifetime of despair and dry bones for you either.

It can, and will change.

The dry bones can, and will come to life.

That life-sucking job; that gnawing, “is this it” questioning to you life….it can, and will change.

Go. Say no to despair.

Say no to hopelessness.

Let the dry bones come to life!


  • *Here’s the video of what I shared with my old school:
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