Hope in a Hopeless World | God’s Word Today

Hope in a Hopeless World

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”Psalm 42:5-6

“When Earth’s last picture is painted,” asked the brilliant writer Rudyard Kipling, “will it be a picture of the despair of hope?” I have been thinking about the despair of hope, especially among so many young people whose lives appear to be trapped by circumstances which they don’t like, which they didn’t chose, which they feel have become a prison.

I’m thinking of the desperate plea which came from a talented young woman in her mid-20’s, resourceful, a university graduate who is fluent in several languages. She wrote, “I don’t understand what’s going on inside me. I simply don’t have the desire to go on living. I feel like I’m emotionally very tired and exhausted. When I go to bed at night, I simply don’t want to wake up the next morning because everything will be the same, no changes inside and outside. I don’t know what’s going on.”

She’s not alone, believe me. Thousands and thousands of youth today in every corner of the world are despairing of hope. They are not alone, either. Their numbers include businessmen whose corporate failure brings shame and disgrace; housewives who hide their drinking yet take refuge in the desensitization which alcohol brings; older people who have retired and now say, “Is this all there is to life? Have I worked all my life only to end up with broken health, no friends and companions, and nothing to live for?”

I call it the despair of hope. Question: Has something happened recently? This is a wind of despair touching the lives of some of our brightest, most promising men and women.

I freely acknowledge that difficult, tough situations are not new. I think of Victor Frankl, writing about the importance of hope to those who were imprisoned during the horrors of the Holocaust in World War 2. And long before him, I think of God’s children who were placed in pretty hopeless situations: Daniel in the den of lions, Esther facing the possibility of seeing her entire race destroyed, Paul, imprisoned in Rome, facing possible execution, who could still write, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again I say rejoice.”

Yet—and this is where we turn the corner—some face very difficult situations and find hope, no matter how hopeless things looked. Abraham was like that. Paul used the expression that he hoped against hope, holding onto the promise which God gave, when in the natural, it was an impossible situation.

I will never forget a conversation I once had with Deborah Wang, known as Auntie Wang to her friends and family. When I met her, she was in her 80’s and as frail as a cornstalk in the wind. Her husband, Wang Ming Dao, was one of the infamous architects of the house church movement in the 50’s when China fell to Communism, and this little woman who never lifted a finger to hurt anyone was guilty by association. Subsequently she spent 20 long years in prison, and during that time saw her husband only three times.

Visiting this godly little woman in her tiny apartment in Shanghai, I got her to recount some of her experiences, and then asked, “Did you ever lose hope?” The answer which came with her eyes spoke far, far louder than her soft words, “No, never!” Her eyes spoke volumes. They said, “Oh my child, if you only knew how close and precious Jesus was during those years, you would not have asked such a foolish question.”

There is one thing for certain: those who have really learned that God is also God of the tough times, the dark days and the difficult circumstances, realize there is hope in a hopeless world. Have you learned that lesson?

Resource reading: Psalm 42

This devotional © by Harold J. Sala.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission from Guidelines International Ministries. Not for sale or profit.

Dr. Harold J. Sala

Dr. Harold J. Sala

Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963.Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is heard the world over in a variety of languages. Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 55 books published in 19 languages.He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children (daughter Bonnie is now Guidelines president) and eight well-loved grandchildren.
Dr. Harold J. Sala

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