Thursday, May 7, 2015

Hope in the face of hopelessness

Hopelessness is an unsustainable state of being. The depression and melancholy spirit associated with an absence of hope can't go on forever. It always passes, one way or another.
There are two ways to relieve hopelessness. One way is tragic and the other is inspiring. Hopelessness can be remedied via exiting the hopeless circumstance and situation. This is a real option for, on average, over 40,000 people a year. The despair associated with hopelessness takes over and the only way out that can be seen is the way that leads to death. Some take their lives in hopes of getting to the perfection of heaven. Others take their life with no thought of eternity. They act purely on the here and now, with no regard to what might comes next.
The thought of hopelessness leading to suicide is depressing, even for those who are full of hope. There are no words deep enough and strong enough to describe that kind of despair. Sadness just doesn't do it justice.
For the hopeless there is another way out. Ending life isn't the only option for ending hopelessness. The second option is one of mounting up on the wings of eagles. It is the decision to name and claim renewed hope.
Maybe that sounds too simple or just plain silly. Naming hope and claiming it won't change the current circumstances or relieve whatever pain and suffering has caused the hopelessness in the first place. Physical ailments could very well still persist in the face of naming and claiming hope. Loss, trials and heartache might still persist even after hope has been renamed and reclaimed.

Choosing hope isn't a magic trick to deliver us from our circumstances. Choosing hope is the gateway to bring us through our circumstances.

In my relatively short life (just a quarter of a century) I've had many reasons to lose hope. I've seen more doctors than I can count in an attempt to bring relief to my ailing body. Still my troubles persist. I've been in relationships that have become broken and failed all-together. And today I'm still single. I've experienced the loss of friendships and the loss of dreams. I've experienced physical pain and unexplainable suffering in the pit of my stomach.
Yet, in the midst of my hopelessness I've learned something about myself. I can't help but hope. Every time I fall into a pit of despair something inside of me starts to scream, "Get out!" Every time I start to feel sorry for myself and want to just lay down and give up a voice inside of me says, "Arise, keep going." There is a whisper speaking to my heart and it is speaking words of hope.
I'll be honest and admit that I don't always listen to that little voice when it first starts to speak. Sometimes that voice has to get mighty loud before I pay attention and heed its directive. But in the end the voice always gets through. I can't stay in the pit forever. I can't lay on my bed in a mess of tears and self-pity forever. I have to arise. I have to dig out. I have to have hope.

It is in the midst of hopelessness that I need to be reminded more than ever of the true meaning of hope. It is what Romans 8:24-25 says," For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." 
Hope is not my circumstances. Hope is the eternal glory God has promised. Hope is the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. My hope is found not in what I am experiencing in the here and now but the grace I have received by way of the blood of my perfect Savior. It is because of the sacrifice of Jesus that I can hope in the face of hopelessness and rejoice in the midst of despair. I can choose hope because Jesus died and rose again. I can rise above my suffering, pain and tribulation because the Holy Spirit is living and dwelling inside of me, mounting me up on the wings of eagles and taking me to heights that soar above the earthly ailments that plague me. 
"My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness." When I want to lose hope I can choose to lay down and give up for good. But not even Jesus laid down for good after being nailed to a cross and crucified despite being perfect and blameless. No, Jesus rose again and by His power, grace and mercy I will arise, too. I will arise above my hopelessness and in His perfect time I will arise to eternal glory with Him where I will forever praise the God who sustained me on this earth and gave me strength to overcome. 

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