On the Battlefield of Hope
We all have hard times. We all struggle. And sometimes these struggles turn into heavy burdens. We look around as we sit at the table of worry and anxiety, gobbling up the morsels of loneliness and despair. When this comes my way, it eventually leads into self-pity and hopelessness. I find myself feeling alone without any comfort or joy.
In these moments, the Bible can become less real because our faith goes from a blazing fire to a smoldering candle. We are unable to see God’s love because all we feel is the apparent abandonment of our souls. Our song turns from “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good: for his steadfast love endures forever” (Psalm 118:1) to “How long O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Psalm 13:1).
It was during one of these moments of darkness that a friend of mine said to me, “Alen, one of the clearest evidences of God’s love for you and adoption of you is the local church.”
This statement floored me.
God’s redemptive love was not only a theological concept to get right, but a tangibly expressed reality to feel. God created us to be humans, not robotic machines. We understand by experience as much as we understand by our rational deductions.
Two Reminders for Hope
You may be going through a rough patch in your life, and you may be just like me: someone who is prone to feast upon the bitter morsels of hopelessness. If so, here are two reminders for you:
You are not alone (Matthew 28:20). God is with you. The loneliness we feel is because we do not understand Jesus’s work of the cross. If we truly believe the gospel, with our hearts as well as our heads, then we would truly walk out of hopelessness and run into the pierced hands of Hope. Jesus is a faithful high priest and he knows your weakness and suffering (Hebrews 4:14–16), even the temptation to drink from the well of despair.
When God feels far away from you, go to the local church. Humans were not created to be alone but to be in community (Genesis 2:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:9–14; Hebrews 3:12–15, 10:24–25). Not only is Jesus with you, sometimes the clearest way we can hear God speak is through others sharing the goodness of God to us, especially when we are listening to all the wrong things we are saying to ourselves.
The Fight for Faith
Like any sin, the battle against hopelessness is a battle for faith in Jesus’s work. Hopelessness is admitting that there is no future beyond the present situation. Yet, we see in the Scriptures that everything that happens has a purpose and is pointed toward one great end. Every painful struggle and tear shed by our weary souls reminds us that this world is broken and is not our home. We are waiting for a better place and time. We are waiting for Jesus to return to wipe away every tear, heal every disease (including death), and crush Satan under our feet (Romans 16:20).
Even when we do not feel like it, we must fight with the truth because it is the truth that sets us free (John 8:32). When you do not find the truth to be something you can repeat to yourself, go to your family in Christ. Share your burdens and let their tangible love point you to the love that never fluctuates, even when you fail to perfectly trust it.
Fight with gospel truth in community because you are not alone.