Why Leaders Need Desperation

3. Desperation captures the attention of God and moves the hand of God. 

Mark 2:5 says, “Impressed by their bold belief, Jesus said to the paraplegic, “Son, I forgive your sins.” Then, Jesus had a brief dialogue with the religious leaders of the day who were disgruntled because Jesus claimed that he could actually forgive sin. Now, let me just make a quick side note here:

Sometimes your biggest obstacle isn’t your problem, but rather the people who keep telling you that your problem is permanent. Remember, you’re a leader. Don’t let others set the temperature of your circumstances.

Mark 2:8 says, “Jesus knew right away what they were thinking … .” In other words, for these religious leaders, the only thing their thinking could see was the obstacle. But desperate leaders think and act differently. Then Jesus said:

“Why are you so skeptical? Which is simpler: to say to the paraplegic, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or say, ‘Get up, take your stretcher and start walking’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both … ” (he looked now at the paraplegic), “Get up. Pick up your stretcher and go home.” And the man did it—got up, grabbed his stretcher and walked out, with everyone there watching him. They rubbed their eyes, incredulous—and then praised God, saying, “We’ve never seen anything like this!” (Mark 2:8-12) MSG

What was it that captured Jesus’ attention and moved him to heal this man? It was the “bold belief” of his four friends. And when Jesus saw their desperation, he was moved to do something.

As a leader, what “bold belief” do you need to display? What is God saying to you that you need to act on? Let your desperation lead you to act with faith in God.

Several years ago, I was on a mission trip to California and Mexico. One afternoon was designated as a free day, so we headed to the beach. I remember stepping into the bone-chilling cold water. The tide was coming in and the current was growing stronger. As I moved deeper into the water, my feet suddenly left the sandy floor of the ocean. The strong undertow left me treading water. Fighting the current, I began to grow desperate as I moved further away from the shore. In that frantic moment, I suddenly thought, “I’m going to die.”

At that point of desperation, I didn’t quote Scripture. I didn’t even scream for help. I prayed two fear-filled words: “Jesus, help!” That was it. And trust me, that prayer came from the deepest part of my being. In a matter of seconds, my feet touched the ocean floor again, and I trudged back to shore. I was completely exhausted when I got out of the water.

As I reflect on that moment, I’m reminded of a powerful leadership truth: God responds to our desperation because it’s usually a sign that we’ve reached the end of ourselves. 

If you’re feeling desperate as a leader, don’t give up. Search for hope … that’s when your desperation is fully alive. Begin to think differently about your circumstances. This might require you to get around other leaders who can help you think clearly and gain perspective. And then act with bold belief. I believe God will honor steps of faith and integrity that are coupled with dependence on God. When leaders are desperate, that’s the only way to move forward.