Hopelessness hits every single, even single Christians, but there is a way out of it and back to a meaningful life.
Yes, even in the supposedly "toughest" people, the human heart is fragile. Pile too much grief and disappointment on it, and it breaks. Millions of singles are struggling along in a gray, dreary existence because they've lost hope.
In the Bible, we see examples of the most faithful followers of God giving up. When you feel crushed under this kind of frustration, what can you do? How can you get motivated to climb out of this spiritual pit?
Hopelessness can be born out of anger and frustration. You want something--maybe a spouse--you pray about it, are faithful as you can be to God's commandments, but marriage just doesn't happen. Maybe the situation goes on for years, with no resolution in sight.
You get angry at God, knowing he considers marriage a good thing, that it's his own plan to multiply the human race.
If you blame God, you're in good company. Several of the psalms are cries to God, asking for justice, questioning the writer's pain and suffering. God, who understands us better than we understand ourselves, knows why you feel the way you do.
It's always right to be honest with God. Blame and anger can be honest, although they sometimes arise when we don't have all the facts. We don't know what God knows. And, as I've discovered the hard way over the years:
I don't always know what's best for me, but God does.
I don't believe God is put off when we blame him for our troubles. He's too big, too wise, and too loving to be offended by that. Besides, he knows beforehand how we're going to react in every situation. He's not surprised. But he does want us to trust him, even when we're miserable.
Blaming God is not the answer, though. I found through painful experience that it never got me what I wanted. It just doesn't work.
Sometimes we're totally convinced we're going it alone. You may think it's you against the world. Despair comes when you butt your head against a brick wall and don't have the strength to knock it down.
We forget God is our helper, adviser, comforter, encourager, and strength. We forget God wants us to call on him. As singles, we've been out on our own so long that we have the mistaken impression we have to do everything under our own steam. We don't.
If we haven't seen God working in our life--the way we'd like anyway--we think he's left us and is performing miracles for somebody else.
In our anguish, we forget God is on our side.
We all underestimate God, but we're especially guilty when we feel hopeless. None of us has ever experienced a human love with the depth, power, and constancy of the love God has for us. What's more, it's an unconditional love. No matter how we behave—or misbehave—God still loves us.
When we sink into a state of despair, we not only underestimate God's love for us, but also his ability to restore our life. We assume the being who brought the universe into existence with the sound of his voice is too weak to turn our situation around.
We underestimate God's wisdom, thinking we have the best answer. We don't believe God could come up with a better one.
Because we didn't personally see God divide the Red Sea for the fleeing Israelites, rain down fire at Elijah's prayer, or raise Lazarus from the dead, we think he's incapable of bringing good out of our circumstances.
I underestimated God the first time I had cancer. I was 25 years old and physically exhausted from cobalt radiation treatments. And I was scared. Nothing scares you like a cancer diagnosis. Fortunately for me, many people were praying for me.
Thirty-four years later, I was diagnosed with cancer again. Now I had a more mature relationship with God. He had shown me what he could do. I prayed, putting my entire trust in him. He brought me through it. I will never underestimate him again.
Most of us have to reach the point of despondency before we're ready to completely surrender to God. We hit rock bottom, sure nobody or nothing can help us.
As a last resort, deciding it couldn't get any worse, we finally say, "I don't believe you can fix this, God. But I give up. I can't try any more. Just do whatever you want to do here."
Hopelessness is our interpretation of the situation, an assessment that it's no use. If anything seemed hopeless, it was the circumstances of the concentration camp prisoners during World War II. Viktor Frankl, a survivor of those Nazi camps, wrote in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, that among the Jews he was imprisoned with, the people who gave up and saw their situation as hopeless were among the first to die. Frankl urged his comrades to find something to hang their dreams on--God, the desire to see their families, liberation, even the thought of sitting down to a decent meal again.
When you're held tightly in God's grip, no situation is futile. Even if you're terminally ill and face death, as long as you're clinging to God, your hope will be rewarded through eternity with him.
What is the path out? Making Jesus Christ your goal, your delight, your purpose. Think about it. You can always have Jesus. He will never reject you. He will never turn a deaf ear. You don't have to compete with anyone. You don't have to earn his love.
Keep praying. Keep watching. Be expectant. Believe and know God will act on your behalf. When you've hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up, and Jesus is with you wherever you go.
Two thousand years ago, 11 men thought their lives were hopeless. They were shattered, their faith broken by the cruel death of their master and friend.
But God always knows things we don't know. He can bring a new life out of hopelessness. He did it then, by raising his Son from the dead, and he can do it for you, too.
Keep watching. Know he's working behind the scenes for you, even now. With Jesus there's a way back. With him there is hope!