In our society it seems there is an epidemic of mental illness. Hopelessness and despair runs rampant….why is it so, you may ask…I know I surely do.
Perhaps is not an epidemic of mental illness. perhaps it’s a legitimate reaction to the futility, hardship and perplexing nature of our lives as humans? Look at it from the outside, if possible. One day we just “wake up” on earth: in little bodies totally helpless. We grow up, experience the ups and downs of life, experiencing life’s beauty as well as its many tragedies.
Oh, and death, let us not forget about that (although we’d like to). So to summarize it, we are born, we work, build, love, etc. and then poof….it’s all gone.
We are all on the shelf drawing closer to our innevitable expiration date. We’ve all heard stories of the horrors of contemplation faced by those awaiting execution on death row…always pondering your end, always dreding the day of reckoning. Wake up call! While most of us do not know the exact day and time of our immanent departure, we like all the rest of humanity will sing that great last “swan song.”
Death stands over our head sometimes screaming but most of the time whispering: “what’s the point of it all, why bother?” In and of itself, life makes no sense at all. We try and find purpose and meaning to life in an assortment of things: work, family, pursuing “fun” and pleasure, volunteering and fighting for a cause, etc. But at the end of the day, why?
The faint whisper of death, “why” is reasonable. We’re born here and we die here against our will (Bob Dylan: “Not Dark Yet”). We try and quiet the voice with alcohol, drugs, our occupations, relationships and the like. Even “positive undertakings” never truly set us at ease. As the writer of Ecclesiastes expresses “‘vanity of vanities,’ says the preacher; ‘vanity of vanities, all is vanity’ what profit has a man from all his labor in which he toils under the sun?” (1:2-3).
As an individual who has experienced severe hopelessness, I’ve tried to make sense of it all and numb myself with work and pleasure. I totally can agree with the writer of Ecclesiastes: all was vanity!
Now there are many blessings in life: much enjoyment and joy. However, in and of itself without an ultimate purpose granted, life ultimately is meaningless (says the man who tried to commit suicide). So what’s the point, Evan? We’re all aware of how hard life is and generally confusing to make sense of. I’m glad you asked!
First, death: what, why? As Romans 6:23a starts “for the wages of sin is death…” you see God is absolutely holy, in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5, Exodus 15:11, Jeremiah 17:10, Psalm 90:8, Deuteronomy 32:4, etc.).
We sin, we sin a lot! The just result being that we die: we sow sin and dishonor God, and we reap death and punishment. It was not meant to be like this, things have gone amok! But there’s hope, Romans 6:23 continues, “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Yes, in and of itself taking on a purely materialistic view of life, there is no purpose, no reason…it just does not make sense. However, thankfully, we find that our great loving creator who fashioned us in our mother’s womb with love and care is aware of our sufferings and lack of hope and peace. We have hope in Christ that this is not all, that death is not the end! And we are given purpose in this life: what we do matters and we can partake in God’s work in proclaiming His kingdom come to a lost and dying world.
I can honestly say, having miraculously survived death by God’s grace and for His purpose, I am hopeful, love life and take on each day with purpose and passion. I pray you will as well!
And no, I’m not denying nor rejecting medical help in any way. We live in a fallen world where our bodies and minds have been effected. God blessed us with medical professionals and uses them in providing care. My point is that hopelessness leads to despair and having legitimate hope in Christ is to receive life. No amount of medical intervention can overcome our fallen natures. By all means see your doctor and trust in the Risen Lord!
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58).
Heavenly Father, may we all come to know you, your purpose, forgiveness, and love in Christ Jesus. This world is hopeless without you: please wake us up from our slumber. We love and praise you in the name of your blessed son Jesus Christ. Amen