HOPE IN TIME OF DESPAIR AND CRISES: INSPIRATION FOR LIVING

Published on by Joseph Foray jnr.

Be Strong, be Immovable and always abounding in the work of the Lord, for your labours are not in vain. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding….in all of your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path…. Proverbs 3:5,6. No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the Kingdom of God. Luke 9:62

These words of inspiration from the Holy scriptures gives us an idea of keeping strong, holding on, keeping hope a live and continuing to work hard; though the current circumstances shows the opposite.

What would you consider a hopeless case of despair, sadness and disillusionment in your life? What are the things that easily get you broken emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and other ways? There are so many of them:

Broken family relationships, Money problems, employment issues, diseases and death of love ones, depression, drug related problems, addictions and many more.

We do not have all of Life’s answers but when we attempt to live a more organized life with a Plan and Principles, we tend to do so much better than to leave it all to chances.

We also have great examples of humans who have lived and inspired us to greater heights in this life. Both Men of Faith and Men of the World.

Eleanor Roosevelt said “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams”. 

Fred Pollack, a well-known Jewish Dutch historian who went into hiding during World War II, used that time to study 3000 years of civilizations to understand what made some societies flourish, while others self-destructed.  He found through his research that only those that held a vision of the future of their society were the ones that thrived and succeeded.  Those that didn’t hold a vision turned to violence, war, and eventually self-destruction.[1]

He concluded that a society’s image of itself becomes a roadmap for its future.  He wrote, “Those societies with positive and vital images flourish while those with uninspired images stagnate.”  He added, “We found the positive image of the future at work in every instance of the flowering of culture, and weakened images of the future as a primary factor in the decay of cultures.” [The Image of the Future, Fred Polak, translated and abridged by Elise Boulding, Jossey-Bass, Inc. 1973 (p.800)]

Why have we become a society lacking vision and hope for a much better world?  Here are some quotations that inspire me:

Neither let us be slandered from our duty by false accusations against us, nor frightened from it by menaces of destruction to the Government nor of dungeons to ourselves. LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT, AND IN THAT FAITH, LET US, TO THE END, DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT”.  – Abraham Lincoln[2]

All this will not be finished in the first one hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first one thousand days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” – John F. Kennedy

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”, and “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.”  – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Ultimately leadership is about the strength of one’s convictions, the ability to endure the punches, and the energy to promote an idea. And I have found that those who do achieve peace never acquiesce to obstacles, especially those constructed of bigotry, intolerance and inflexible tradition.” – Benazir Bhutto – Former Prime Minister of Pakistan

Although all of these people gave their lives for their beliefs and their visions, they still inspire generations after them.

 

From a scriptural stand point, great thoughts and write ups have been made on the subject of hope in time of despair.  Jack Wellman’s article on this subject is worth studying. Powerful Verses that would help you deal with despair and hopelessness in life.[3]

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

God does not have a bad day at the office. He does not get up on the wrong side of the universe. God is constant. Always the same, day after day, and there’s comfort in that. If He has promised eternal life to those who believe in Jesus Christ (John 3:16), then we know He won’t change His mind about it. He won’t regret the free gift of eternal life (Eph 2:8-9) given to His children. Jesus Christ, Who is God, does not change either, even when everything else seems to change in our life. Our crisis does not catch Him off guard.

Philippians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

This is actually a command, but one that’s difficult to obey, particularly when faced with a crisis. We tend to be anxious about everything, but often don’t address it in prayer. We should put all our anxieties in Jesus’ hands. He says we can go to Him and He will give us rest (Matt 11:28-30), so just put everything in His hands by putting “everything in prayer.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

 

The fact that I am in pushing the upper 60’s makes me appreciate the fact that my “self is wasting away,” but also that my “inner self is being renewed day by day.” Our trials or our “momentary affliction” is shaping us into the image of Christ. This “eternal weight” can’t be seen today, but will be visible in the coming kingdom, so Paul would say, “do not lose heart.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

 

One church had to close its doors the other day, but churches are like people. They are born, they live, and they die, and it’s not the end of the world. In fact, a new church plant started just about 5 weeks later, and today it is a small but growing church. Apparently, it was time…a time for a new beginning.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

 

If you hold a lit candle next to a wall and shine a flashlight on it, you’ll notice that the light or the flame does not cast a shadow. That’s because light cannot create shadows…light eliminates them, and “the Father of lights” never changes, so we know there is no “shadow due to change” like there is in us. We change over time. We change our minds like the wind changes directions, but God does not change, shift positions, or change His mind about what sin is.

Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

 

Maybe you could substitute “crisis” for “them” and have it read, “Do not fear or be in dread of” this crisis, because God doesn’t leave when a crisis hits. In most cases, He is closer than ever, so when a crisis comes, we can “Be strong and courageous,” knowing God does “not leave” us “or forsake us,” especially in a crisis.

 

 

Malachi 3:6 For I the LORD do not change; therefore, you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

 

Why would this verse speak about God not changing in relation to the nation of Israel, and especially saying, the “children of Jacob, are not consumed?” The Bible teaches that God “does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10), so God does not give Israel what they deserve (judgment) but what they need (mercy). Just as Israel was while in captivity, we too who once “were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (1 Pet 2:10). God has sworn by His own name to preserve a remnant for Himself, and so God has not utterly forsaken Israel. It might look like it now, but now is not forever, and some day, they will recognize Jesus as the Messiah, but more importantly, as their Savior.

Isaiah 43:19 Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

 

Think about this verse, even though the intended recipient is the nation of Israel, God does a new thing in us too. For example, “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Cor 5:17), and God did “make a way” in our spiritual wilderness by drawing us to Himself through Christ (John 6:44), and we are now seen as having Jesus’ own righteousness (2 Cor 5:21). That’s about as new as it gets… becoming a new creation in Christ. Crisis’ can change us more into the image of Christ because we are driven to more dependence upon Christ, and that’s good because we could do nothing without Him (John 15:5).

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

Even though this was written to the exiles in Babylon, this is still true for the believer. This verse was not written to us, but it’s helpful for us, because it refers to the nature of God. We have a hope in Christ and in a coming kingdom, and until that time, we can remind ourselves that Jesus says, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt 28:20). That is a permanent abiding (John 15:1-8), where Christ comes to dwell in us, and we in Him.[4]

Everyone will experience down moments in life. These scriptures are useful in handling your problems when they show up. Meditate on them and let it bless you.

 

[1] https://spiritinaction.net/2016/09/20/how-do-we-sustain-hope-in-times-of-crisis/

[2] https://spiritinaction.net/2016/09/20/how-do-we-sustain-hope-in-times-of-crisis/

[3] https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2018/10/17/9-powerful-bible-verses-when-facing-a-crisis/

[4] https://www.patheos.com/blogs/christiancrier/2018/10/17/9-powerful-bible-verses-when-facing-a-crisis/

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