Is hopelessness on the rise?
Some say yes. And there are certainly various troubling signs emerging across all age groups and around the world. Increases in depression, anxiety, despair, loneliness, mental health disorders, alcohol-and-drug use, suicides. Generations who find the future so bleak that they are uninterested in marrying or having children. And all certainly recently exacerbated by the fears and sorrows of a global pandemic.
And the truth is actually that it can be no other way. Hopelessness must certainly rise in these times. But not because there is any less to hope for now than there has been at any other time in history…Rather because we have un-learned how hope works!
…hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?(Romans 8:24, BSB)
We have built a culture of instant gratification. Best live streaming. See what’s trending. Scroll and refresh. New content added daily. Stories disappear in 24 hours. Flash deal. Fear of missing out. Click to buy now. Free two-day shipping. Straight to your doorstep. Pre-packaged and curated and instagram-worthy and target-audienced.
Relevance is defined by what is latest. It’s all about a moment, this moment, living in the moment, living for the moment, not missing the moment, and once you seize the moment, then it’s all over in a moment, looking forward to the next moment.
We gather up hope in tiny snippets and share it in our timelines and pin it to our boards. Hope rises to the top of our feeds and we grab hold of it before it slips away. This is the perfect addition to a self-care routine. That is what summer vacation looks like. These will get you organized, simplify your life, energize your routine, revitalize your spirit and build your best life now.
We train ourselves to thrive on what is right here, right now, just for us. We fix our hopes on what is right before our eyes and just within our grasp.
And once we receive it, we are quickly on the lookout for something to hope for next. Hope is a mirage, evaporating as soon as it arrives and leaving us looking for the next shimmer of hope upon the horizon. Culture is quick to oblige, because the feeds keep scrolling and the latest keeps trending. But we are only training ourselves in hopelessness, because the next hope will fade as quickly as the last.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick…(Proverbs 13:12, BSB)
The more that we build our lives upon all the things that this world has to offer, the more that hopelessness will rise. It has to! Because if we hope for what we never receive, we will despair. And if we receive the things that we hope for, our hope will disappear as quickly as it is fulfilled!
But if we hope for what we do not yet see, we wait for it patiently.(Romans 8:25, BSB)
Hope is a much more profound concept than we really give it credit for. Hope does not operate on temporary, finite principles. Hope that begins and ends, that rises and falls, that builds and fades, that varies from moment to moment, is no hope at all.
Hope operates on principles of eternity and perfection.
Hope must, necessarily, be placed in something that is beyond our grasp, or it would not be enduring, and we would not be able to rely on it until our very last breath in this life.
Hope must, necessarily, be placed in something that is certain beyond any shadow of a doubt, or it would not be steadfast, and we would not be able to cling tightly to it in the face of the greatest trials in this life.
Hope must, necessarily, be placed in something that is wonderful beyond imagining, or it would not be sustaining, and we would not care to wait for it when something just as good was right-at-hand in this life.
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.(2 Corinthians 4:18, BSB)
There is only one hope for all people, equally available and freely offered to every person in all the world for all of time. It is a hope that is enduring because it is eternal, steadfast because it is certain, and sustaining because it is wonderful beyond all imagining. It is not a hope in things which are seen, which is no hope at all. It is a hope in what is unseen ~ it is our hope in God!
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.(Hebrews 11:1, KJV)
In this world, and in the hope of this world, hopelessness must rise. Hope must fail when it rests upon what is seen, what is temporary, what is uncertain, and what is imperfect. Chase-though-we-will, we will never catch up to the mirage of hope that shimmers on the face of what is fading.
But if, instead, we will set our hope firmly upon the eternal kingdom of our Heavenly Father, then we will finally find a hope that is everything that we have always been looking for!
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.(Colossians 3:2, BSB)
Hope is only real if it is lasting. Stop chasing what is fading. Put your hope in Someone real. (2 Cor. 4:18) #GetRealTweet
by Sydney Michalski
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