“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the LORD
In the land of the living.”
— Psalm 27:13 NKJV
What is it that brings hopelessness and despair?
I’ve often wondered this as I walk through our ER at the hospital. There is a continuous flow of patients who enter those doors, struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts, or some form of hopelessness. There is a process of placing patients with these diagnosis into special protective outfits, referring them to a special attendant who runs them through a series of questions and determines the appropriate course of treatment. The people who work with them seem sincere and try their best to help them through this acute phase of despair. I have met a few of these patients in a ministry I help disciple in called Set Free Elma. A wonderful setting where healing takes place and the love of God is expressed daily.
There is one common thread that I’ve witnessed that leads many to hopelessness:
The devastating effects of sin.
Sin, by definition can be found in 1 John 3:4
“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness.”
The effects of sin are devastating. Many times I’ve sat around a table in a homeless warming center and listened to the crimes brought against the folks who many have forgotten. The rape, incest, abuse and hatred shown them, many times starting as children led them to hopelessness and a sense of cultural disconnect.
The sinful heart is capable of such evil that I can’t imagine being in God’s position and seeing it all in the world everyday.
The “world”, which is a word used often in the bible is a reference to those who are not citizens of God’s Kingdom. I’ve written on Gods Kingdom in a previous blog so you can reference more of what that entails. Hopelessness is the end result of those who place their hope in this world.
I John 2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
This pattern we see in 1 John is the pattern we observe today. We can turn on the T.V., and quickly see what is consistently promoted through advertising or the message in many of the shows. If an advertiser wants people’s attention, lust is a common technique. Hedonism, or the love of money expressed in gambling is another, we see alcoholism promoted consistently as well as food, entertainment and social position or as some call it…pride. All of the themes of the world are attributes that God intended for good, when expressed with the right heart and they have been corrupted for simply a temporary pleasure of the flesh.
When taken as a point of focus, each attribute of the world leads to a dead end of hopelessness and despair.
When we make finding the right car, buying the perfect house, getting the right mate that makes me happy, the perfect job, enough money to live comfortably on, the ideal country club or social status our aim, we are looking for these to fulfill us. They never will.
Relationships are not easy, cars break down, houses have a multitude of problems, money corrupts as well as power, jobs get old and so does the daily grind of trying to maintain these things you’ve fought so hard to gain.
Why would David have despaired had he not seen God’s goodness in his land? Because it is God’s goodness that brings fulfillment.
Take a look at God’s goodness:
Psalm 68:9-11 “
You, O God, sent a plentiful rain,
Whereby You confirmed Your inheritance,
When it was weary.
10Your congregation dwelt in it;
You, O God, provided from Your goodness for the poor.
11The Lord gave the word;
Great was the company of those who proclaimed it:
Psalm 31:19. “Oh, how great is Your goodness, Which You have laid up for those who fear You, which you have prepared for those who trust in You In the presence of the sons of men!”
God’s goodness is all around, He showers it down upon His people. Those who have eyes to see and ears to hear receive it. Those who look to the world do not:
Nehemiah 9:35 “For they have not served You in their kingdom, Or in the many good things that You gave them, Or in the large and rich land which You set before them; Nor did they turn from their wicked works.
What is the source of God’s goodness?
God’s goodness is an expression of His love.
When we keep our eyes on Him, there is hope, there is joy, peace, satisfaction, and there is a future. When we walk in the trust of relying on God’s provision, when we take our value from Him, when we allow Him to heal the wounds others have inflicted, or place our future in His care….He is Faithful.
Psalm 26:3 “For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes, And I have walked in Your truth”
Psalm 4:8. “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.”
I can’t list enough of the promises God makes to those who trust in Him. I know it’s a little long, but Proverbs 3 is a great encouragement to those who want to know there is more to life than this world declares.
“My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
2For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
13Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
14For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.
Please, don’t lose heart. Look to the Lord your maker and find the hope and joy you’ve always longed for. If you think suicide is an option, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. It all may look lost, but remember, it’s all in the perspective!