“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (NIV)
Hope is a powerful element of a person’s life. If one has it, they can endure the most difficult of circumstances. If one loses it, it can be rare, if not impossible, to make their way through even the slightest adversity. To say the old adage “this too shall pass” to a person who lacks hope means nothing. For me, I have faced some difficult circumstances in life. These situations have even planted the thought in my head that I could avoid the difficulty that lies ahead by simply ending it all. Fortunately for me, I believed tomorrow would be another chance and I could make it through whatever hardship I was facing. It pains me, and likely many of you, that not everyone looked to tomorrow with any glimmer of hope.
I knew a few people as I was growing-up who decided suicide was the option that they would act on. I wasn’t very close to them, so I didn’t deal with the pain most people deal with through such a tragic situation. Unfortunately, I’m now becoming more familiar with the feeling. As of late, my community has had more than a few young people who made the decision to end their lives. The recent set of events has sent shockwaves through our community, as you can imagine. Though the pain stops for one, it creates long lasting pain for those who are still here. We do know that there are many factors as to why someone ends their life, but there are times when suicide happens and it doesn’t make any sense. Questions about “why” linger around as there is no clear, rational explanation that all people are willing to accept. However, I am willing to hypothesize that there is one factor for many people that have taken their own life.
Hope was lost.
I don’t believe people lose hope or succumb to the thought of ending their life easily. Most often, it is a slow descent to destruction. It is heartbreaking that we live in a world that takes hope from people. How repulsive is it that we can be people who hurt each other in such deep and personal ways? I hate that our society places so much emphasis on perfection and fitting in that it fuels discouragement and depression. When people feel like outsiders, relationships become even more difficult. We want people to know that we exist with feelings, problems, hobbies, stories to share, a need for someone to listen. We want people to be interested in us. It’s all so dreadful that we tend to miss one vital thing. What is that one thing?
God is interested in you.
God is interested in your pain. God is interested in your joys. God is interested in your life, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Because God cares, there is hope. Hope that God is present in your affliction. Hope that God will guide you to a better life than the one you live in. The apostle Paul, who wrote a good majority of the New Testament in the Bible, wrote these words to followers of Christ who faced severe oppression, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” If I can trust that God is good and patient, I will make it through my present circumstance. If I can speak my worries to a God who listens, I will make it through. When I live by the belief that there is a God who loves the world, I have hope. As a result, I become a person that brings that same hope to others encouraging them that they are not alone. What about you? Will you bring hope somewhere to someone today? You never know what kind of difference it could make.