October 11, 2019
Sometimes, I find myself wondering, “Why? Why are my circumstances overwhelming and out of hand? Why do I feel like my world is going on a downward spiral? Will life ever get better?”
Lots of things can make us feel hopelessly trapped on a dead-end road. These could be the loss of a loved one, a chronic illness, your parents’ problematic marriage, a relational conflict, an unending financial crisis, or the pervasive feeling of hopelessness caused by the injustices in the world.
Many people wobble on the edge of hopelessness every day. They struggle to find a reason to keep on going. Many believe that no one will understand and that no one could or would help them, so they lose confidence that things will work out. Some are on the borderline of quitting, while others quit altogether.
Though you probably haven’t experienced a rock-bottom moment yourself, we all face our own hardships that are difficult to bear. Hope can be lost through a large-scale problem, pain, injustice, and even from personal “little” disappointments and struggles.
When we are unable to find an escape route, what do we do? Where do we turn to?
When the world seems to be falling apart, we want to know why. We plead to our Father above, but He seems silent and uninvolved at times. Though we may feel alone in our distress, we are not. There was once a prophet named Habakkuk who also felt this way. He was hopeless because his nation was wicked and experiencing much oppression. He couldn’t understand why God seems to be unconcerned about it.
He wondered, “O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you ‘Violence!’ and you will not save? Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?” (Habakkuk 1:2,3)
God listened to Habakkuk and asked him to wait and watch for He has a plan and because all earthly sorrows are known to Him (Habakkuk 2:1–4).
When circumstances tempt us to despair of life itself, here’s how we can live a secure and hopeful life, just like Habakkuk.
Habakkuk poured out his heartaches, frustrations, and complaints in tears, expecting God to answer. With embittered heart, He wrestled with God. Wrestling with God means being honest with Him about our questions, concerns, and fears, asking Him for understanding. We persist in pursuing Him by praying and meditating on His Word with all our might. We wrestle with the Lord because we trust that He cares and hears each desperate plea.
Don’t wait until your circumstances get better to come to God. He is eager to walk with you in the midst of your pain. In your anguish and confusion, wrestle with Him and expect answers in His Word. Though it may seem slow, He will surely come (Habakkuk 2:3). And when your wrestling is over, you’ll find an intimacy sweeter than anything you’ve ever tasted.
Like Habakkuk, many times, my eyes can’t see how God could bring anything good out of my situation. My many sorrows persistently try to convince me to give up. But as I continually allow the truth to set me free from my fears, the Lord reminds me that He is the Most High God, who time and time again rescued and saved His people (Habakkuk 3:13). There is hope beyond my circumstances!
As we are reminded that God is God—sovereign, loving, holy, and fully committed to justice (Habakkuk 2:20), we can be assured that we are not hopeless. Because God loves us more than we love ourselves, we are as safe and as protected as He is faithful. And because He loves this world more than we do, justice will be served. God will one day confront the hopelessness and evil of the world.
After much wrestling, Habakkuk learned to trust and rejoice in God declaring (Habakkuk 3:17–18, GW):
Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes,
even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food,
even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle—
Even then, I will be happy with the Lord.
I will truly find joy in God, who saves me.
God taught Habakkuk how it is to live by faith even when he couldn’t see what will happen in the future (Habakkuk 2:4). He learned to praise God even when circumstances were telling Him otherwise. He learned to rejoice in God, the God of his salvation, for His unchanging character.
With the blessed Trinity ruling the world, no hopelessness can stand forever for those who have been saved by grace through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
One day, our hopes will reach its full efficacy in the returning of the Son in the fullness of His glory. No more hopelessness, no more broken homes, no more poverty, no more illnesses, and no more pain for us who have been adopted and welcomed by Our Heavenly Father into His family.
Even in the most hopeless situation imaginable we can say with Habakkuk, “I will be happy with the Lord!” Because the Lord Almighty is our strength, we will live on.