Hopeless. Despairing. Gloomy. Sad. Blue. All are descriptors of occasional feelings we must endure. No one travels this path of life without encountering a despondent moment. But we must not remain stuck in the rut of the lost. As Poe quipped, “even in the grave, all is not lost.” We could assume the Christian is immune from such feelings but that is not true. Indeed, the believer may be more susceptible to despondency than the heathen.
The Christian and Hopelessness
A Christian may struggle more with hopelessness than others for at least four reasons.
The Christian feels hopeless when he feels far from God.
We are taught that God is just a prayer away and that we are never far from him (Acts 17:27). We believe in prayer and live expecting God to always answer our prayers in just the way we want him to. When our prayers do not deliver, we feel rejected, maybe even betrayed. Our faith, so strong in fair weather, is suddenly so empty in the storm.
Christian’s have a certain view of the world that does not tolerate the presence of evil.
Yet, the world is an evil place. It is devilish (Ephesians 2:2) and has thrown off any semblance of Godliness long ago. We suffer Satan’s fiery darts (Ephesians 6:16) daily. After a while, we are tired. We are war weary and soon drift into hopelessness.
Christians have certain expectations of other Christians, expectations which are not fulfilled.
When we see brethren sin, we are disappointed. But sometimes we feel alone on our battles. The brother or sister we prayed with yesterday is not the warrior we hoped. If they failed, my own failure is not far away.
We are lonely.
The family that is the church may seem distant on Monday or Tuesday. Our Sunday co-worshippers are busy with their own lives and fighting their own battles. Meanwhile, we suffer in silence. We need the body of Christ to surround us and embrace us in strength and holiness. Yet we are all alone.
The world also struggles with hopelessness but of a different sort. For the Christian, we feel guilty because we ought not be hopeless! It’s a deadly, destructive cycle drawing us ever deeper into its grasp. We may feel hopeless but we are not.
In future installments, we will build on these ideas and more. I hope you will keep reading.