Beyond Hopelessness

Psalm 23:3 He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

Think of a time when you were physically lost. What thoughts would we wrestle with, Fear. Anxiety? …These feelings spring out of a sense of hopelessness. Having no idea where to turn. No inclination what to do. No direction, no equipment, no hope.

For some, even many hope is in short supply in their daily living experience Hopelessness has become a familiar companion. We know what it is to be lost but can we so readily recall the feelings of being rescued?What would it take to restore our hope? What would it take to re-energise us for life’s journey?

The first would be a person. But not just any person, we don’t need someone who is equally confused. We need someone who knows the way through and out.

From that person we need some purpose. We need someone to lift our spirits. We need someone to look us in the face and say ‘this isn’t the end, this isn’t how it finishes, don’t give up. There is a better place than this and I’ll lead you there.’

Perhaps most importantly we need direction. If we only have someone but no renewed purpose, all we are left with their company.

If that person has purpose but no direction, all we have is a dreamer for company. But when we have someone with direction, who can take us from this place to the right place, then we have someone who can restore our hope or to use David’s words ‘He restores my soul.

Jesus our Shepherd, majors in restoring hope to the soul. Whether we are a lamb lost on a craggy ledge or city slicker alone in the mountains, everything changes when Jesus our rescuer appears.

Our loneliness diminishes because we have fellowship

Out our despair decreases because we have purpose.

Our confusion begins to lift because we have direction.

Note: we haven’t left the wilderness. It’s still dark, the rocks are still cold and wet. We are still uncertain about our next step. The environment hasn’t changed but we have. And we have hope because we have met someone who can lead us through and out.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Jesus knows that we were not made for that place of hopelessness. He knows we are ill equipped for the environment and so He comes to guide us out. He comes to restore our souls. He gives us purpose to our lives. He reminds us that we are all like foreigners and strangers in this world 1 Peter 2:11 and he urges us to lift our eyes from the things around us to heaven which is above us not to shuffle along, eyes to the ground absorbed by the things right in front of us. But look up and be alert what is going on around Christ see things from his perspective Colossians 3:2

David said it this way: I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all evil; Psalm 121:1- 7

God our rescuer has the right purpose. He is also the right direction. He made the boldest claim in the history of man when he declared ‘I am the way, the truth and the lifeJohn 14:6

People wondered if the claim was accurate. He answered their questions by cutting a path through the wilderness of sin and death and coming out alive. He is the only one who ever did and He is the only one who can help us do the same.

He has the right purpose, He has seen the homeland our final intended destination. He has the right directions he has made the way but most of all He is the right person because He is our God.

Who knows the wilderness of life better than the one who made it and who knows the pitfalls of the path better than the one who has walked in it?

Jesus doesn’t give hope by changing our circumstance, He restores our hope by giving us Himself.

And He has promised to stay until the very end, I am with you always to the very end of the age Matthew 28 :20

We need that reminder. We all need that reminder because all of us need hope.

One of the verses in which we find the word hope is Hebrews 11:1. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

This verse at the beginning of the faith chapter (Hebrews 11) carries with it all of the confidence that comes with knowing for sure, with no question, what we have been promised by God in His Word.

Our faith is confident assurance, for it is founded upon the Rock of our salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the actions of the heroes of the faith recorded in Hebrews 11 were made possible because they had this faith based in their confident assurance or hope in God.

As believers, we are also called to give an answer for the hope that is within us to any who would ask 1 Peter 3:15

Therefore, Biblical hope is a reality and not a feeling. Biblical hope carries no doubt. Biblical hope is a sure foundation upon which we base our lives, believing that God always keeps His promises.

Hope or confident assurance can be ours when we trust the words, ‘He who believes on Me has everlasting life’ John 6:47 (NKJV).

Accepting that gift of eternal life means our hope is no longer filled with doubt but, rather, has at its sure foundation the whole of God’s Word, the entirety of God’s character and the finished work of our Lord and rescuer Jesus the Christ.