Finding Hope in a Hopeless World

I’ve always wanted to do something that made a difference in other people’s lives. When I was young my heroes were Albert Schweitzer, Jane Addams, and Harriet Tubman, which is why I chose to pursue a master’s degree in social work:  I wanted to ‘save the world’!  And at the time, I thought I could. I falsely believed that man had the ability to ‘save others’.

 I was reminded of that former and incorrect belief last week when I read news reports regarding the tragic death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman.  My heart was broken not only for Philip, but for all those who’ve been deceived into thinking that ‘fame and fortune’, and the ‘pleasures’ of this temporal world can satisfy the deepest longing of their souls. I ached knowing that Philip, like everyone else who has ever lived, was hungry for significance–true significance–that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus, the One and Only true Savior of the world.

 

Instead of receiving the salvation he’d craved, Philip was allured by the momentary rush of drugs and ensnared by Satan, whose ultimate goal is always death.  He bought the lie that using drugs would bring him pleasure. Our society has also bought a lie: that manmade and man centered ‘programs’ can ‘save’ alcoholics, drug addicts, or anyone else in need.  They cannot. Programs have their place, but we must realize that Jesus is the only One who can truly save and satisfy the souls of men and women.

 What is at the root of the epidemic drug addictions, suicides and depression plaguing our culture? I believe it’s that many people no longer believe in God as their Creator and they don’t know that they can have a relationship with Him.  The impact that the teaching of evolution has had on our society over the past century cannot be overestimated.   “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:7) If people are taught to believe that they just ‘evolved’ out of the ‘muck and mire’ and therefore this life is all that there is, why wouldn’t you live for earthly pleasures and to satisfy your every selfish desire?  And then be despondent and feel hopeless when you discover that those selfish pursuits do not satisfy the deepest longings of your soul?  

 God warned us in Colossians 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”  He wants us to know and believe in Him because He loves us; He knows that nothing other than a relationship with Him will ever bring the peace and joy  that we crave in our lives and that we were created to enjoy.

 Unlike past generations, our public schools no longer teach that we are created by a loving, all-powerful, Sovereign God who has a plan and purpose for our lives.  In the absence of that belief, mankind is naturally going to live aimless, meaningless, hopeless lives.  We are reaping what we have sown:  purposeless lives that have arisen from a belief in a false, empty, manmade theory. 

In contrast to this world’s empty philosophies, those who know God are given direction and significance because they know:

Who made us, and whose we are:

  • “Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people…” Psalm 100:3
  •  "Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124: 8
  • “…everyone who is called by my name, 
 whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:7

 That we were created with a purpose:

  • “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:10
  •  “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it;” Genesis 1:28
  •  “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13b-14

 That the One Who created us is Sovereign; He is the ruler of the world and trustworthy: 

  •  ”Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all.Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.” 1st Chronicles 29:11-12
  • ‘Ah, Lord GOD! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. Jeremiah 32:17
  •  “…the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords…” 1st Timothy 6:15
  •  "For no word from God will ever fail.“ Luke 1:37

 That we are loved:

  •  “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” John 15: 9
  •  ”This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1st John 4:10

 That when we feel aimless or hopeless, we can trust in God Who alone can save us and provide for our every need:

  •  "Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” Psalm 43:5
  •  "And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.” Isaiah 45:21
  •  “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

 It is impossible for that man to despair who remembers that his Helper is omnipotent.”   Jeremy Taylor 

Have you been deceived by the empty philosophies of this world and put your hope in that which is fleeting, or is your hope anchored in God who created you with a glorious purpose; Who loves you with an everlasting love; Who is all powerful and trustworthy; and rules and reigns forever and ever?

 Written by JVG