Hope: The Strength to Carry On
Attractive as well as not-so-attractive people are often very unhappy. Another fact is that physically handicapped people can be very happy if their emotional needs are being met, while those who have perfect bodies can be very unhappy if their emotional and/or relational needs are not being met.
Neither is hope found in what is often called "success". By the time he was thirty-three, Bill O’Donnell had already scaled the heights of what our culture calls "success". He was vice-president of a big company, had an annual salary of $150,000, owned two Mercedes Benz cars and a very expensive home.
He was also cheating on his wife, missing meetings he had called, and was using four grams of cocaine a day.
"I was pursuing the American Dream, and I thought cocaine would get me there faster," he said. "I was running through life so fast I didn’t see that my role as a husband and father was disintegrating, that my business abilities were crumbling."
This same article from The New York Times also stated that "drug abuse is just one of many symptoms of a growing malaise. Not only Mr. O’Donnell, but tens of thousands of young people are finding that in achieving business success today, they have distorted their lives and have fallen into emotional turmoil."2
This malaise is by no means peculiar to North America. The whole Western world is affected. While we are exceptionally grateful for the many achievements that have alleviated so much physical suffering, we have unfortunately neglected some of the equally or more important areas of life. We have starved the spirit, for example, and edged our society closer and closer towards spiritual bankruptcy.
Overall, as a nation we have forgotten God. We may give lip service to him, and most say we believe in him, but in our manner of life we have pretty much ignored him.
Hope springs eternal.
Despair, drugs, disease, depression, crime, murder, loneliness, wars, terrorism, greed, loss of hope are all symptoms of a sin-sick society. We gloss over sin and call it anything but what it is. Regardless of what we call it, anything that falls short of the perfection or wholeness and maturity that God envisioned for us is sin. And all sin is ultimately self-destructive. That’s why God is so opposed to it. It destroys that which he loves—us. It is the most deadly sickness there is. Its end result is physical, spiritual and eternal death. We are all affected because we have all sinned. Until we call sin what it is and treat it accordingly there is no hope.
Once we confess our sinfulness, God himself will bend the heavens to come to our rescue. In fact, two thousand years ago he did just that. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came to earth as a man to die in our place to pay the penalty for our sin, which is death, so he could freely forgive us and give us hope.
When we receive God’s forgiveness by confessing our sinfulness and responding to his call to invite Jesus Christ into our heart and life as Lord and Savior, God gives us a new spiritual life and the gift of eternal life—and hope! He also gives us hope for this life. He doesn’t promise us a bed of roses but the sun will shine again. And no matter what happens to us, when we genuinely commit our life to Jesus Christ, we know that God will use everything that happens to us for our good, to help us grow and become strong in character and ready for anything. This is God’s promise.3 It is the greatest hope in all the world. Have you made Jesus Christ your hope? To assist you to do this click on the Know God or on the Find Peace With God link at the bottom of the page.
When we do this, as the poet expressed it, hope truly does spring eternal!
1. Eternity, November, 1986.
2. The New York Times, August 24, 1986.
3. James 1:2-4 (TLB).
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