A story was recently told about a 5-year-old son who waded into a patch of daffodils when the first flowers of spring bloomed in the yard. He noticed some debris from plants that had expired months before and remarked, “Mom, when I see something dead, it reminds me of Easter because Jesus died on the cross.” she replied, “When I see something alive—like the daffodils—it reminds me that Jesus came back to life!” It is a matter of point of view. Your point of view will either foster hope or despair.
If Jesus had not come back to life, our faith as Christians would be pointless, and we would still be under the penalty of our sin. However, the Bible tells us that Jesus “was raised to life for our justification”. Today, we can be right with God because Jesus is alive! If Jesus did not rise from the dead, we have no hope and live in despair….and no Easter.
It has been said:
“Nevertheless, in this sea of human wretchedness and malice there bloomed at times compassion, as a pale flower blooms in a putrid marsh.”
― Henryk Sienkiewicz, In Desert and Wilderness.
“When you’re in a Slump, you’re not in for much fun. Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.” ― Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!
“EMOTIONS can be useful if they influence the future, so it is not surprising that they are aroused mainly by events that change our appraisals of whether we will be able to reach our goals. Events that indicate that our efforts will succeed arouse hope.
Events that suggest that our efforts are futile foster despair. We experience hope and despair, not at the beginning or end, but in the midst of our long-term efforts.
First, and most obviously, hope can relieve suffering, so people naturally prefer it to despair, just as they prefer drugs that relieve anxiety to those that cause it. Not only do we prefer hope to despair in ourselves, we have similar strong preferences for others.” From the Evolution of Hope and Despair by Randolph M. Nesse- Social Research Vol 66, No 2(Summer 1999).
We are social animals made to fellowship. Hopelessness or isolation can lead to despair, fear, and anxiety. Despair, fear, and anxiety can lead to various medical conditions of a mental illness. Medical conditions of a mental illness can be treated by different methods which could include talking with a counselor or therapist, prescribed medications and/or hospital stays.
Some would look at the world events and think it might be better to stay under the sheets until it is all over. Some look at North Korea’s threats to attack us along with all that is going on in the Middle East, the world’s economy and experience hopelessness, despair, fear, and anxiety which can lead to a treatable medical condition of a mental illness.
Hopelessness, despair, fear, and anxiety can also lead to self medication with drugs and alcohol. The need to obtain drugs and alcohol can lead to a variety of criminal behavior which would result in a further downward spiral.
Sounds like a gloomy picture….and it is.
Your alternative is to decide that you are not going to fall into hopelessness and choose to find away where you can work with others to help make your corner of the world a better place.
If you let everyone decide your fate, then don’t complain when you don’t approve of the outcome. If you let everyone decide your fate you are allowing yourself to be a doormat.
Be part of the solution…..rather than being a part of the problem. Look for the new flowers rather than the debris from plants that had expired months before.
Reverend Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA & AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ) http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org