Hope for the Hopeless
I was reading an article that other day that said 21 million Americans struggle with depression each year. That’s a lot! And despite the increase in medication and therapy (which are sometimes needed!) this number only continues to rise each year. Why is this? Why do people who seem to have everything feel empty, hallow, and let down? It seems many people resonate with the Teacher of Ecclesiastes, who after looking for hope and happiness in almost everything screams,
Everything is meaningless. (1:2)
Not the happy-go-lucky sentiment many would like to hear around the holidays, but there is a ring of truth here, isn’t there? Sometimes, “all things are wearisome, more than one can say” (1:8). The main reason for this is because we look for hope in all of the wrong places. When John D. Rockefeller was at the height of his career, raking in billions, he was asked how much money is enough. His response, “a little bit more”. When people place their ultimate hope and dreams in money, sex, houses, cares, vacations, relationships, and even marriages—they will always want “a little bit more”. But here’s the good news—there is a true, genuine, and everlasting hope.
There is a hope that is guaranteed from the “God of hope”.
There is a hope that is bigger than you and in front of you.
There is a hope that rests in a larger story of God’s work.
There is a hope can give your life meaning and purpose.
And this is the Christian hope of being with Christ. Do you know this hope? Do you feel it your in bones? Does it pour out of your mouth in causal conversations and beat in your heart in tense temptations?
In Philippians 1:23, Paul says, “for me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain”. The reason death was “gain” for Paul is because it meant more of Christ. You see—Paul’s hope was so wrapped up with knowing, enjoying, and experiencing Christ that it defined his life and ministry. The hope of being with Christ should define us as well. In Colossians 1:5, Paul says “faith and love spring from the hope stored up in heaven.” So, our hope of being with Christ puts wind in sails to exercise faith and love. Wow!
I remember when I was dating Kelly in college. At the time we lived 2,000 miles apart and dated long distance. It was very difficult as you can imagine. But the thing that kept it alive was knowing Kelly as much as I could on the phone, in letters, and occasionally, on vacations AND the hope of one day of getting married and being together for the rest of our lives. That’s similar to our hope. It’s experiencing as much of Christ as we can now AND anxiously awaiting more of Christ in heaven and in the New Creation.
This, my friends, is the hope we offer ourselves and world. This is the hope that we were created for and it’s only when we’re abiding in this hope that we find what we’re looking for.
Do you ever feel hopeless? If so, why? Where are you placing your hope? What does placing your hope in Jesus look like in this season of life?