When hopelessness turns your world gray, you can find your way back
Hopelessness is a common state among singles, even Christian singles.
The human heart is fragile. Pile too much grief and disappointment on it, and it breaks. Millions of people are struggling along in a gray, dreary existence because they've lost hope.
Christians are certainly not immune from this. In fact, you may be even more susceptible to despair if you're a sensitive, compassionate person.
When you feel crushed under this kind of frustration, what can you do? Is there a way back? Is there anything to be optimistic about?
Hopelessness blames God
Hopelessness can be born out of anger and frustration. You want something--maybe a spouse--you pray about it, are faithful to God's commandments, but it just doesn't happen. Maybe the situation goes on for years, with no resolution in sight.
You get mad at God, knowing that 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 psalmist'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 may 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 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. But he does want us to trust him, even when we're miserable.
Blaming God is not the answer, though. It won't get us what we want. It doesn't work.
Hopelessness forgets God
We forget that God is our helper, adviser, comforter, encourager, and strength. We forget that God wants us to call on him. As singles, we've been out on our own for so long that we have the mistaken impression that 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 working miracles for somebody else.
In our anguish, we forget that God is on our side.
Hopelessness underestimates God
We all underestimate God, but we're especially guilty of that 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.
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 that 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 in knowing what to do. We think we have the answer. We don't believe that 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.
Hopelessness is where it starts
Most of us have to reach the point of despondency before we're ready to completely surrender to God. We bottom out, thinking nobody or nothing can help us.
As a last resort, as our desperate decision that 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 an interpretation of the situation, an assessment that it's no use.
Viktor Frankl, a survivor of Nazi concentration camps in World War II, wrote in his book, Man's Search for Meaning, that among the Jews he was imprisoned with, the people who gave up and saw the 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 again, 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 should die, as long as you're clinging to God, your hope will be rewarded through eternity with him.
Keep praying. Keep watching. Be expectant. Believe and know that God will act on your behalf. When you've hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.
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 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.