“Gee, I feel so much better, now that I’ve given up all hope!”
What! Did I hear correctly? I couldn’t believe my ears. Either this guy is the most pessimistic person on the planet, or he is taking sarcasm to a whole new level.
In this age of philosophies that promote positive thoughts and speech habits, my gut reaction was to reach across the room and seriously shake some sense into this guy. But since he is seventy years old my Southern upbringing overpowered my impulses and I managed to keep my squirming to a minimum while he continued speaking.
“Yeah,” he continued, “hope is alright, but faith is what really pulls you through.”
Immediately my cantankerous side bucked up for a defensive volley, “What about that verse that says, ‘faith is the evidence of things hoped for?’ (Hebrews 11:1) Didn’t faith require enormous helpings of hope to grow?”
Of course he didn’t know he had been touché…my argumentative rebuttals were served purely from the courts of my fertile imagination…but still…
That night I went home and seriously pondered the full ramifications of his comment. What would life look like if you truly did give up all hope? Would someone suffer severe clinical depression and be overtaken by suicidal thoughts? Would they flat-line, become a zombie and pass through life emotionless? Would they even notice? Then it occurred to me, where do you live? Aren’t you surrounded by people who are actually living without hope every day?
August 29, 2005 forever changed the lives of us here on the Gulf Coast. Hope and optimism are craved like water in a desert. Many look around and see so little progress. Too many are propping up with pharmaceutical courage. Some pack up and move. Others remain, but are frozen into inactivity by a refusal to let go of the past lives they so dearly loved. And sadly many others have opted for the permanent solution of death.
I lost my home. I was homeless for 4 months. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. No closet to hang your clothes in. No medicine cabinet for your toothbrush. No freshly laundered sheets to curl up in at night. Worst of all, I had no privacy. But all during that time I kept “hoping” things would improve. For weeks there wasn’t any evidence that things would change. Discouragement would wag its bony finger in my face trying to distract my focus. But somehow, deep down inside, even when I had to fight back the tears of fear, I knew somehow God would take care of me. He had to. No one else could. My hope was in God. He was all I had. He was the only sure thing in my life. My hope in Him truly was the anchor for my soul, (Hebrews 6:19) when my emotions went crazy with panic and despair.
What about the others? What was their hope in? I fear for many it was the fact that they live in America, the lone Super Power – in America we overcome everything! Everything is fixed immediately. Patience is unheard of, much less a virtue. And sadly they are learning, government is an impotent god.
But to have hope of any kind, one must have a meaningful relationship with Jesus. To have great hope, one must have a history of walking with the Lord. Often hoping that things will improve is hard and I guess that is where faith brightens the picture. To have faith in God’s abilities and provision inspires the hope to hang in there, just one more day, when everything is so overwhelming.
God’s Word tells us that those who put their trust in Him will never be disappointed. (Psalms 25:3)…and if that is what this gentleman was saying…thing I guess he’s right…one can feel much better when they’ve given up all hope!
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