Hope in the face of unyielding despair

Hope in the face of unyielding despair

Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you. – Psalms 143:8

Ecclesiastes 3:11-14

 11 God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.

 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

 14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher and a vocal atheist. Many would argue that he was the foremost atheist in the Western world in the twentieth century. One of his well-known books is entitled, Why I Am Not a Christian.

His philosophy is representative of many of those who reject God as the source of all things and embrace evolutionary constructs in place of Him. People without God end up by the force of logic in a very futile and despairing place. Bertrand Russell writes,

“That man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins – all these things, if not quite beyond dispute, are yet so nearly certain, that no philosophy which rejects them can hope to stand.”

“Only within the scaffolding of these truths, only on the firm foundation of unyielding despair, can the soul’s habitation henceforth be safely built.”

Bertrand Russell would have us build our lives upon a foundation, not of hope, faith, or the Word of God but rather unyielding despair. What a dismal outlook! One book of the Bible reflects Russell’s worldview, Ecclesiastes.

Ecclesiastes 1:2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”

At the beginning of a new year, it is common for people to reflect upon the previous 12 months. Some years are emotionally and physically crushing. Our observations lay bare the futility of life on planet Earth without faith and confidence in the Father. Rational, reasonable people are often left in despair, unyielding despair.

The Father is all-wise. He has a perfect plan and allows it to play out in the space-time continuum. Knowing this, the children of the King can have an entirely different mindset that provides hope, that is, confident expectation for the future.

It is incumbent upon each child of the King to focus on and place their confidence in His character and nature. The Father’s nature is on full display in His lovingkindness and unfailing love. As we contemplate His loyal, unfailing love we have reason to celebrate. Because He loves us and has our best interest at heart we trust Him.

The choices before people are polar opposites. They can build their lives on the lovingkindness of a faithful, loyal, dependable, loving Father God. Or they can rest their lives upon the foundation of unyielding despair.

REFLECT & PRAY

David seeks to experience the Father’s lovingkindness. He asks the Father to teach him how to navigate the desperate times in which he lives.

Father, thank You that You are always there for me. Enable me to live my life based upon the firm foundation of the truth of Your Word.

INSIGHT

Ecclesiastes 3:11 God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart . . ..

Solomon observes and reflects upon what he sees. He states unequivocally that the Father has made everything beautiful in its time. But he also recognizes that there is tension present in the deepest part of the human heart.

The Father based upon His intelligent design of humanity placed eternity in every human heart. People have a restless longing to know. We want answers regarding the seeming absurdities of life and things beyond life itself. Yet we cannot figure out, comprehend by study, what Father has done or is doing from the beginning to the end.

This is a conundrum. Yet Solomon comes to terms with this reality when he recognizes that, “both his desire to understand all of life, as well as the limitations on his ability to do so, have been ordained by God” (ESV notes).

In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon expresses despair over the futility of life in a broken world. But he also offers hope in the midst of such futility.

Ecclesiastes 3:14 I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.

Whatever the Father has designed and created indoors and no one can change His plan. “God’s acts are eternal. Earthly events are limited and marked by fixed moments, but God stands outside these limits. We can know a little about what God does, but his actions are actually of a different order: eternal, complete, and unchanging” (UBS).

Children of the King should recognize that no matter how confusing or frustrating or the fallen world is, we have to learn to be at peace with it because we cannot alter His eternal plan.

Solomon offers advice on how to respond. Modern culture would say, carpe diem (seize the day).

Ecclesiastes 3:12-13

 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can.

 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

Children of the King are supernaturally enabled to navigate the difficult times in which we live. Further, we look ahead to being with the Father for all eternity.

The Father’s lovingkindness is the reason for hope. His love is loyal and dependable. He is responsive. “Even when God’s people sin we can appeal to the Lord for help and restoration based on His faithfulness and righteousness” (Constable).

Psalms 143:8-10

 8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.

 9 Rescue me from my enemies, LORD; I run to you to hide me.

 10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.

“If we want God’s guidance . . . then He instructs us to ask for it. We must ask in faith and then listen carefully for His voice. He always guides those who really want to follow” (Stanley).

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

© Dr. H 2022

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: