“And so we will be with the Lord forever.”
1 Thessalonians 4:17 (NIV)
One of England’s greatest philosophers in the 20th century wrote “…my soul is a habitation of unyielding despair”. This dark, fearful comment is all that many people have to guide them through life and deal with the struggles common to us all. They think that all there is to existence is found in this present life. Death is the end of it all for humanity.
Despair means to lose all hope, to believe that nothing will rescue or deliver us from imminent danger or destruction. When a person is depressed they may not be able to identify a reason for the sorrowful state of mind. But the person who is in despair has thought through the alternative ways to approach the problem and has come to the conclusion there is no solution.
Despair is then the more frightening problem to have in life. A depressed person may have hope of a better day down the road. The person in despair believes the road ends in a brick wall and there is not a ladder to climb over it. There is no one more hopeless than the person in despair.
Now we look at the Christian’s response to the person in despair. Those who trust in Jesus know that there is a ladder to use to get over the brick wall that confronts the traveller through life. They have trusted in Jesus as their Saviour Who will lead them all the way home to the eternal presence of God.
Christians recognize the futility of life apart from a relationship with our Creator. We know that this life is not all there is to existence. That is what marks the difference between a Christian and the person in despair. Believers in Jesus look forward confidently to a better world and to a remarkable future. People in despair think this life is all that they can hope for. So, if this life really is all a person can hope for, then it is a mess because of the problems we all face.
Small wonder the philosopher despairs and builds his life on that sad view of things called “despair”. He believes death ends everything for him. Christians on the other hand are confident that death merely changes the venue, it brings them a whole new world to live in where all the problems of this life are gone forever.
The believer in Jesus is not concerned to get all they can out of this life. If circumstances rob a Christian of health, wealth, or whatever is desirable here and now, they can patiently wait for their real goal in life to appear. The real goal of the Christian is the world to come, not this present world.
We have our eyes fixed on eternity and all it possesses. For the believer the future is to see the One who loved us and gave Himself for us, Jesus Christ. We desire faith to give way to sight. We desire the present sad world to go away and the world of light, glory, love and truth to come. Our great hope is to see Jesus and be like Him.
What is your great goal in life? Is it only for the things of this life? If so and if you have a long term disability, poor health, no money, or some other issue, then you will never achieve happiness. If your goal is the life to come then you can cope much better with the hassles of this life. What is your ultimate goal in life?