MAY THE HOLY SPIRIT USE THESE WORDS to build hope in a crazy, empty World of Despair. We face a complex world full of threats to body, soul & spirit. Our integrity & well-being are under attack. If you have felt in over your head, then this Godly message is a sacred opportunity for you. You may wonder if the words of this message are valid. The World has caused many to doubt God’s help. Our godless society has stolen so much from us. My dear friend, today I worked with a Christian brother who recently lost his beautiful wife when a drunk crashed into her car head-on. This widower spoke to me for hours & it was God’s words taken into his heart that gave him victory over a deep tragedy. I personally know the power of the truths in this message.
TRAUMA TURNS THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. Trauma can cause a loss of faith in life. PTSD & DID can tear the fabric of one’s emotions, faith & spirituality. One can feel cut off from God. Even Christ groaned on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some people repeat this mindlessly to themselves every day. When trauma breaks our connection to hope & to trust, people try to regain control over life, and in so doing so, usually lose their balance, and then bounce between over-control to under-control, back & forth. God’s Spirit’s guidance is vital if we are to regain balance. It says the Spirit will guide us into all truth. If we feel lost, we are advised “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”(A) My widower friend did exactly that, & is doing well.
TRAPPED IN A BLIZZARD OF EXPECTATIONS. First, all of us face conflicting expectations & demands from our parents, friends, girl/boyfriend or spouse, school, hormones, neighborhood, boss, conscience, and …last but not least… God. It can be enough to make the head spin. Modern life demands we have always-changing sets of knowledge, skills, habits & behaviors…and while we are trying to problem solve (sometimes with yesterday’s answers to today’s problems), we can end up run over in the information highway. Where is life headed…did we get on the wrong train? Were we born in the wrong century?
NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN. While we are experiencing new troubles, the reality is that these kind of things have been common to countless people for thousands of years. Pretty much everything that challenges us was faced by people described in the Bible. When we ask WHY?? and find life hard to understand, I recommend one read Psalm 73, which is an amazing collection of the troubled thoughts of a man 3,000 years ago named Asaph. He was essentially asking God: Why God?… life does not make sense!? He says, “I was envious…when I saw the prosperity of the wicked….And they say, ‘How does God know?’…Behold, these are the ungodly who are always at ease;…” (PS 73:3, 11a, 12a) “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was vexed in my mind.”(v.21) Wow, he was upset & bitter…he wasn’t feeling very spiritual. Asaph concludes his collection of despairing thoughts with this conclusion: “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all Your works.” (PS 73:28) Asaph had found the TRUE SOLUTION…FAITH & HOPE. Let’s take a look at these things as the solution.
A LIFE PRESERVER BECOMES REAL IN A STORM….USING FAITH & HOPE FROM GOD’S WORDS WHEN WE ARE IN TROUBLE. PLUS VISION & CREATIVITY HELP FIND ANSWERS.
• “Whatsoever is born of God overcomes the world.”(B) “Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”(C)
• “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”(D)
• “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”(E)
It is important that people realize that troubles & traumas may cause us to develop an inability to reflect on spiritual things, God & reality. Hope is not an opiate drug to tranquilize the pain of reality—hope is the courage to confront reality.
Despairing people run from reality and substitute fantasy for their hope. For instance, “I will win the lottery.” There is an epidemic of hopeless Americans who fantasize & distort & deny reality because they hold that the future cannot be trusted, and that it is void of solutions. Their wishes & fantasies are substituted for genuine hope. Therefore, bereft of hope in the future, they invent a false reality, because all they have is this distorted present here-&-now to exist in. They use a false self that conforms to the crowd. So hopelessness marries unreality, and switches to a false self. Fear of the future helps people cling to the status quo when it is unhealthy. People become afraid to take risks, become cynical, & withdraw from people & life.
For the Spirit-led person, Hope pulls future blessings & eternity into our present. Hope allows us to pray in the present, “May God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Hope is a friend, and allows the person to be whole & integrated and one’s true self. The true self experiences thoughts and opinions and feeling for itself—rather than the conformity or expectations that others impose which quench the true self & God’s Spirit of truth. When we see a positive future, we can work with purpose. Purpose along with faith and connectedness to God & others are protections from the attacks on our body, soul, & spirit.
THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS AN APPEAL TO TRUTH. “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you…”(F) The contrast between those who have no hope who escape reality with drugs like alcohol and those with hope is seen in this verse: “And do not be drunk with wine…but be filled with the Spirit.”(G) And that Spirit will instill us with hope.
IF THE WORLD STEALS THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT FROM US…then we need to re-establish our trust in a good God so that our faith & hope are recovered. I note to myself that the RE-making has a host of “re-“s involved: release (our pain, guilt & grudges, etc.), reflect (on events, on our sins, on God & His Word), reconcile (with people, with self, & God) and rebuild. Peter was a failure,(H) but he did what successful people of God have always done…he picked himself and went on! It is not how many times you fall, but how many times you pick yourself up that determines success. Job had his life destabilized, had to face the contradictions of life, and his wife and friends were not there to help him. The crisis ended up with him gaining practical understanding.(I) The bottom line is that all things work together for good to those who love God…
FINAL THOUGHT. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou prepares a table before me in the presence of mine enemies…Surely goodness & mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” PSALM 23:4, 5a, 6. God bless you my friend.
(A) PRV 3:6 (B) 1 JN 5:4 (C) 1 JN 4:4 (D) PHIL 4:19 (E) ROM 8:28 (F) 1 PTR 3:15 (G) EPH 5:18 (H) MT 26:75 (I) JOB 42:3