What do you see? This may be the most important question you must answer in the next few years. Like you, I receive notes from friends who have lost their jobs, had their wages reduced, or in some other way endured a loss. When that pressure is heaped on top of what already existed in family life through needs, relationship hiccups, and an increasingly decadent, anti-God world environment, it is easy to lose hope and slip into despair. Often when discipling I hear a plethora of comments that reveal what is seen.
“I am in the wrong place to find a relationship.”
“There is simply no one hiring.”
“We have had the same trouble for years in our marriage, and it is not going to change.”
“I have tried everything with my son, and he continues on his own way.”
“I am just tired of being run over.”
“I have been depressed for years.”
You get the point. We, like the servant of Elisha, only see the circumstance and not the God who is always behind the circumstance. If we could recognize our God behind the events, we could rest in this moment and not let our emotions and thoughts race ahead to the worst possible outcome, letting events yet to happen determine our lack of joy and peace today. Remember how one saying of a “Praise God” before knowing the outcome of a situation is worth a thousand expressions of “Praise God” after the situation.
In these times believers must draw upon their history with God. We do have a history with Him. Has He ever left us? Has He ever forsaken us? Have we starved, to date? Have we ever not had shelter? “I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread” (Psalm 37:25). I would be lying to say there were not times in my life when I had lost hope, and in those times my one problem merely multiplied into many more. Hope is the incubator for life.
To lose it is to lose life. We are not of those who are “having no hope and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12). When I have been in the place of hopelessness, I have prayed for God’s opening of my eyes to see Him all around me. He is there; He shows no partiality and is in the middle of our circumstances.
Often I have seen believers in a pit; it would be inaccurate to say they are not! They are! The best advice does not encourage those for whom all options appear to be gone. I simply ask them to invite Jesus into the pit with them, because He takes responsibility for everything into which we invite Him. “Casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you . . . and after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you” (I Peter 5:7 & 10).