Today we you will see Chapter 4 from the book, “Signs of Hope: Ways to survive in an Unfriendly World.” If you missed any of the back chapters, just check the archieves to see them.
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Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
God didn’t promise us a rose garden—besides there are thorns in a rose garden. He allows us to go through the storms. He wants us to learn from them and grow.
We question if God is still there for us when we have a crisis. Things pile up and we wonder, Where are You, God? He allows things to happen that are very hard to understand. Why would He let bad things happen to us?
The psalmist wondered the same thing. In the psalms, crying and wailing come out with a vengeance. Psalms can be also joyful and uplifting, but some of them are not joyful, and they teach us that it is OK to question God. It is OK to voice your true feelings to Him. He knows how to handle your feelings—even your anger.
Despair and anger are combined in Psalm 89:46–47:
How long, O Lord? Will you hide yourself forever?
How long will your wrath burn like fire? …
For what futility you have created all men!
In our world today there is much despair and anger. There are gang wars, school shootings, sex abuse, battered wives, seniors getting scammed, racists and terrorists.
All of these could cause even the strongest Christian to act on that anger. You have choices. You could seek justice like a vigilante. You could forget it and let it build up inside you, or you could turn it over to God, who is the only Supreme Court Justice in heaven. He will judge those who have wronged others.
We should never stop being angry or sad about what happens in the world, but we need to turn it over to God, and let Him bring peace in your life.
Too many people have decided that acceptance of wrong is much easier than trying to fight it. Some live in their own little world and go on as if nothing were happening around them.
I saw this in action when I was in the military. Uncle Sam had me stationed inKorea, and we were traveling throughSeoul,Korea. I saw an old woman sitting and leaning against a wall. She was begging for help because she was ill and starving. No one stopped. They just kept on walking by.
All military personnel had been instructed that under no circumstances were we to get out of our vehicles—just keep going. This was because if you tried to help someone they could claim you were the one that caused the problem and then get a big settlement from the government. There were rumors of Korean parents throwing their children in front of army trucks to collect a settlement. We retraced our route on the way back to camp. By then, the woman had fallen over and was dead.
I was very angry. I felt helpless. I wasn’t allowed to help the woman, and she died because of that.
I didn’t know if I could make any difference in life. Could one person out of the billions of people on this earth make a difference?
My mother once remarked that she didn’t know why she should get out of bed anymore. She has macular degeneration (partial blindness) and has to use a walker. Her two main loves (besides my brother and me, of course!) were reading and working in the garden. Now she cannot do either of them. I could understand completely what she meant, but it hurt me deeply that she felt that way. I again felt that same helplessness because I wasn’t able to help her.
Why keep going on? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The weak fall by the wayside. You spend your whole life trying to have a good retirement, and the cost of living eats up all of your income. Evil seems to win—and good seems far away.
The prisoners in the holocaust had all the reasons to be depressed and to commit suicide. They didn’t do that because they kept clinging to their faith in God.
Is that the secret? By just turning our hurts, frustrations and failures over to God, we can have peace? Of course we can. God is the key. If there is no God, anything goes, but everything is meaningless.
If you stay the course, and always let God hold your hand, everything will have meaning, things will come into focus, and everything will fall into place.
As of this writing, my mother is still alive. She is 93 and lives in an assisted living home. She has trouble understanding why she has to be the way she is as far as her health. The world is coming to the stage where 100-year-old people are more common than ever. But many of them are clinging to life assisted by a machine, or they do not have a quality of life that they prefer.
We have developed many new drugs to help people live longer, but we haven’t invented ways to make them happy. We spend millions to help the poor in our country and other countries, but the number of starving children inOregonalone is growing at an alarming rate.
We allow sexual freedom in our country go to the point that there is an AIDS epidemic. School drop-out rates are at an all-time high. Pornography can be found for free on the internet. We thought that we sent racism away in the 70s, but it is still staining our society today.
It is no wonder that we feel depression, despair and apathy. This world is not a rose garden anymore. The thorns are tearing at our skin, and leaving scars that won’t go away.
Let me make something very clear: God will take the world as you see it today and make it into the world He wants. I’ve read the end of the book—and we win. The end is all set, and it is up to us to believe it.
So—can you make an impact on the world? You are just one grain of sand on the beach. Can you make a difference? God thinks you can. He made you with a purpose in mind. Yes, I said you. As you read this book, God has a plan for you. God just needs you to ask Him what it is. You can make a difference for others in this tough world.
I used the Psalms as an example of despair and anger. Now let the psalmist soothe you and let you know God is there for you and will carry your burdens for you.
Trouble and distress have come upon me,
but your commands are my delight.
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you.
He will never let the righteous fall.
Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge;
no one cares for my life. I cry to you, O Lord; I say,
“You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need: rescue me
from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.”
(Think of the Korean woman dying on the street.)
When I said, “My foot is slipping,” your love, O Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.
(This should be our prayer any time we are depressed or sad.
We can read it to God and let Him comfort us.)
There are times when you feel so low that you are not sure you can make it through the day. Use this time to pray. Sit quietly with God and share your deepest feelings. Do not hide anything. (God knows even your inner thoughts.) Let Him know that you need to lean on Him completely right now, and He will pick you up and carry you the rest of the way.
Something to Ponder
Isn’t it funny that God knows our every move, but we go on like He is not watching us?