在看似絕望的時刻尋求盼望──SEEKING HOPE IN SEEMINGLY HOPELESS TIMES
蓋瑟美聲天籟合唱團（Gaither Vocal Band）的著名歌曲＜因祂活著＞的歌詞也激勵了我：「因祂活著，我能面對明天。因祂活著，不再懼怕。我深知道，祂掌管明天，生命充滿了希望，只因祂活著。」這些歌詞滿有能力，值得牢記，因為我們常發現自己在低谷中的時間，往往比在高山上多。
Jim Langley從事人壽健康保險業已經超過30年了。最近幾年，他熱心於將自己與神的關係書 寫出來，目的是要鼓勵其他人更加親近神。他也是CBMC的長期會員，在2014年時，他開始寫作「比賽第四節策略」(Fourth Quarter Strategies)。
- 有時我們會問：「你覺得明天是好天氣嗎？」有人會回答：「I hope so – 我希望如此。」你認為這裡的「希望如此」和聖經中的「Hope盼望」有什麼差別？
5:8 惟有基督在我們還作罪人的時候為我們死， 神的愛就在此向我們顯明了。
6:17 並戴上救恩的頭盔，拿著聖靈的寶劍，就是 神的道；
5:9 因為 神不是預定我們受刑，乃是預定我們藉著我們主耶穌基督得救。
6:17 照樣， 神願意為那承受應許的人格外顯明他的旨意是不更改的，就起誓為證。
6:18 藉這兩件不更改的事， 神決不能說謊，好叫我們這逃往避難所、持定擺在我們前頭指望的人可以大得勉勵。
SEEKING HOPE IN SEEMINGLY HOPELESS TIMES
By Jim Langley
We live in very troubled times, without a doubt. Between a global pandemic, social unrest, economic turmoil and frequent instances of severe, extreme weather, many people are beyond concerned – they are struggling with a sense of hopelessness. There are two primary ways to respond in circumstances like these: We can give in to the deepening despair, or we accept them for the adversity that they are, but use them as opportunities for growth.
The problem for many people is they do not know where to turn when life seems out of control. Some find themselves returning to past addictive behaviors. There are those who even make the tragic and irreversible decision to “solve” their problems with suicide.
I was recently saddened to hear from one of my clients, who informed me that his ex-wife decided to end her life. She had battled bi-polar disorder for many years. Even though she had a life insurance policy, the death proceeds will not remove the pain my client and his two young boys will have to bear, even though the woman deserted her family several years ago. They have still lost any future contact with someone they loved.
Even though I can try to support the family as much as possible, often there is little consolation you can give. This was not the first time I have encountered someone who gave in to feelings of hopelessness and did not consider the impact such drastic actions could have on those nearest to them.
Despite such tragedies, I have come to regard the search for hope in seemingly hopeless times as a worthwhile endeavor. Life is precious and worthwhile, no matter how dismal things may seem. We all face difficulties during seasons of our lives. Even for followers of Christ, we should understand life is not always easy. Jesus told His disciples, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Our hope is to be not in our circumstances, but in God, who is in control of our circumstances.
I have also found encouragement in the lyrics from a well-known Gaither Vocal Band song, Because He Lives: “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future. And life is worth the living just because He lives.” These are powerful words to remember, because we all find ourselves in valleys much more than on mountaintops.
As business and professional people, we always look for the bottom line. In terms of hopelessness, it is a tactic of Satan, described in the Bible as a liar and a deceiver, the enemy of God. His goal is – and has always been – to deceive us and destroy our lives. For those of us who have placed our trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, we can be certain our eternal well-being is secure. His work of salvation and redemption took place nearly 2,000 years ago, covering our sins past, present and future.
The world around us, which we can see and feel, can indeed cause us to lose hope, despair. However, in the Scriptures we find assurance: “For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently” (Romans 8:24-25). A “hope-so” world breeds hopelessness, but biblical hope breeds a confident assurance and an earnest, unwavering expectation.
© 2020, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. In recent years, his passion has turned to writing about his relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him as well. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.
- How have the challenges of this year – the pandemic, social unrest, a troubled economy – affected you?
- During this time, have you ever found yourself struggling with feelings of hopelessness? If not, do you know of someone who has? What has that experience been like – for you or for them?
- Sometimes we might ask something like, “Do you think the weather will be good tomorrow?” and someone will respond, “I hope so.” What do you think is the difference between “hope so” and biblical hope?
- How do you respond when you hear someone saying they are placing their hope in God, even in difficult, seemingly impossible circumstances?
NOTE: For more about what the Bible says about this topic, consider the following passages:
Romans 5:6-8; 2 Corinthians 4:18; Ephesians 6:14-18; 1 Thessalonians 5:8-11; Hebrews 6:17-20