Overcoming a Spirit of Hopelessness
We live in an amazing era, a time of nearly limitless possibilities and potential. Most of our homes, schools, hospitals, offices, and automobiles, regardless of how dated we ascribe them to be, parade technology that would have baffled even some of the greatest minds of the last millennium; and to contemplate what advancements lie in store for our children and grandchildren can be absolutely mind-boggling. Computers, laptops, and smartphones now grant us unlimited access to virtually anything or anyone, for that matter. With those same resources, a church in the heart of the Silicon Valley can continually beam without censure God’s message of love and redemption across America and around the world. All of this we enjoy in the United States, truly the land of opportunity, whose citizens and residents are assured a permanent “freedom of speech and expression, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.” Nevertheless, amidst all of these abundant blessings, the spirit of hopelessness is sweeping the country and has invaded even the New Testament local church.
Hope is the anticipation of good in the near, unseen future. It is the candid expectation that blessings are yet to come; however, because of financial reversals, family matters, health issues, loss of pensions or retirement, loss of employment, and other situations beyond man’s control, I find that many of God’s people succumb to despair.
May I remind you that hopelessness stems from within; “for as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) As we dwell on defeat and discouragement, this feeling of anxiety will edge its way into our lives; but we must remember that “God hath not given us the spirit of fear.” (II Timothy 1:7) We need not worry about the day ahead; our Lord has promised that He will never leave or forsake us. The same God Who wrought victories in our lives is the same God Who can bring His people through the trials they endure now. Hopelessness also comes from without. We consider the lives of others and perhaps see how our blessings pale in comparison while our injustices and burdens supposedly outweigh theirs. We convince ourselves that we are the only ones suffering and then lose all hope.
The devil also provokes feelings of hopelessness, from both within and without. On the inside, he plants negative thoughts within our minds and, on the outside, tempts us to believe that there can be no hope for our lives. Subsequently, people turn to drugs and anti-depressants, all readily available at the local pharmacy. They turn to the flesh and try to assuage their hopelessness with carnality, thus further entrapping themselves. They surrender to fear or despondency. They turn to Eastern religion or to anything else that can provide some reprieve, however temporary and garbled. The list can go on and on.
God’s people must understand that hope is built on God, God’s presence, God’s Word, God’s house, and God’s peace. May the words of this songwriter find an echo in our hearts:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ the solid rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
Dear Christian, I do not know what you face today; but please do not yield to a spirit of hopelessness. In our Lord, we may renew our hope and anticipate good in the near, unseen future.