When earthquakes strike and hurricanes devastate cities, it is easy to become hopeless. When personal misfortune and suffering come upon us, such as a job loss or a house foreclosed or a child dies or a tragic accident kills an innocent person or an unexpected downturn in events, bringing inconvenience, pain, grief, and turmoil; it is easy to become hopeless.
One man described his hopelessness as the “dark night of the soul.” That time when one feels completely and utterly alone, abandoned by God.
Have you ever had these feelings? Have you ever felt separated from God? Have you ever questioned: “Where is God?” Have you ever longed for the presence of God only to feel that he is strangely and sadly absent? Have you ever felt isolated and abandoned by your heavenly Father? Have you ever said that it is hard to be enthusiastic about living for God when he seems to be absent at the most inconvenient times?
This separation and feeling that God had abandoned us can cause great conflict within. Physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually we hurt. We feel pain. We become depressed. We feel like curling up in the fetal position and quitting. We are ready to throw in the towel.
In such situations, most people give up on God. Feeling as though God has abandoned them, they turn the tables and abandon God. They have no use for a God who seems absent and separated from their lives.
The Psalmist had those depressed feelings, but he did not give up on God. He found comfort in the words: “Put your hope in God” (Psalm 42:5, 11, 43:5).
“Before I need you, I need to know you,” said a police woman to her police chaplain. Pain and problems come into every person’s life. We all need help. Business Care of America partners with businesses to provide help and hope for its employees. If you would like to find out more about this beneficial service go to the website www.businesscareofamerica.org or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see how Business Care of America can serve your business.
While faith belongs more to the mind and love to the heart, hope concerns itself with the soul. Hope is medicinal. Hope can transform despair, defeat, and death knowing that there are no hopeless situations there are simply people who have grown hopeless about them.
When our situation appears bad, hopeless, in fact, remember the words of the social critic, Richard John Neuhaus: “The times may be bad, but they are the only times we are given. Remember, hope is still a Christian virtue, and despair is a mortal sin.”
The Christian’s hope is both subjective and objective. It is subjective in that it is a feeling. But it is objective in that clings to something real and powerful. It is God—the inspirer and the object of hope.
When depressed feelings bombard you, do this:
1. Remember God. When you are feeling blue, remember past days of victory when God was real and present.
2. Praise God. To praise God is to accept from God’s hand whatever may come, be that good or bad, helpful or hurtful, life or death. Praise recognizes that God is God and he has the right to do whatever he pleases. To truly praise God is to accept whatever comes to us.
3. Pray to God. The greatest prayers may very well be those prayers when we can’t feel God or hear from God, but we keep on praying believing that God is present and while we can’t sense him we know that he is present.
4. Learn of God. Every believer in Jesus Christ must ultimately come to the place where he or she is going to trust God’s Word completely before he or she can experience the present reality of God. God’s Word is our single source of tangible truth. Our greatest learning experiences are when we are going through the difficult and painful experiences of life. Don’t waste a hurt. God is trying to teach us a lesson. During those times we can respond either as a victim or a student. A victim is always questioning: Why me? The student is always saying: What can I learn?
Our situation may appear hopeless. We may sense that God has abandoned us. We may agree with the critics who question, “Where is your God?” But hold on, or better, hope on. God is not dead. God is not distant. God is present.
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