Psalm 121 begins, “I lift up my eyes to the mountain-where does my help come from?” In times of trouble and worry, we all need to have some hope that there is a way OUT! And when we have exhausted our own abilities, we need to know there is help available to us. Without it we sink into the despair of hopelessness.
Hopelessness is one of the most destructive forces on the human heart, mind, and soul. It tells you that the path you want to take in life is completely unavailable to you, and it can hit you from a variety of directions.
A difficult challenge or big loss can overwhelm you; anxieties of all kinds can grab hold of you and paralyze you with doubt. Setbacks in life can tell you that you are incapable or that you don’t matter. A string of bad experiences can convince you that you have been singled out for hatred, punishment, persecution, or discrimination. Or you can have your life turned upside down by situations beyond your control (how about experiencing a global pandemic?) In all of these, hopelessness tells you there is nothing that will change your circumstances for the better.
And when hopelessness grabs hold of your heart and mind, you become convinced that your choices in life are limited to just a few bad options. Hopelessness leads directly into depression, isolation, self-destruction, abuse of others, criminal behavior, and suicide. Hopelessness destroys lives.
This year, more than ever in our lifetimes, as we enter into another season of social limitations, business shutdowns, hospitals filled with sick people, and renewed concerns about COVID-19, I am finding that hopelessness is one of our most dangerous foes. At the root of so much of the anxiety, frustration, and anger people are expressing is a sense that all we value in life has been taken away from us and there is nothing we can do about it!
“Where does my help come from?”Psalm 121:1
But the writer of Psalm 121 knows the answer to this question. The answer has to come from somewhere outside of us and beyond our limitations. The answer has to be from somewhere uncorruptable and unselfish in order to provide help without harming us as well. The only answer that can provide meaningful hope in every situation is this:
“My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”Psalm 121:2
The psalmist goes on to point out that God never sleeps and will not let your foot slip. He will keep you from all harm and watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
When I am at a loss for hope, I often turn to a promise from God that reminds me to look beyond my circumstances and remember that I have no idea what good things the future will bring. That promise is found in Romans 8:28:
In ALL things-even the worst of all circumstances-God is taking action to bring about good for those who love him. There is great hope in this promise. Whatever may be surrounding you today will not last. God is greater that your circumstances and He is faithful in His promises to bring about good things for those who love Him.
Now, for some of you this may all sounds like religious nonsense. I understand that is where you are today. But perhaps it is time to ask yourself who or what you are placing your hope for a better tomorrow in. Is it really a reliable source of hope? Will it never fail you? Perhaps it is time to consider the possibility that there is a God who is not only able to watch over your life, but who loves you enough to make Himself available to you every day.