Friday, June 8, 2018

Hope: An Anchor of the Soul

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain are two celebrities who have recently taken their own lives. How many others have ended their lives this week?

These individuals had money, celebrity and every good thing life could offer. Yet on some level something was missing and they concluded there was no point in going on in this life.

I don’t know either one of the celebrities mentioned above but I am acquainted with a young man who Liz and I came to know through camp. For several years it seemed that he was getting his life together. Then he decided, for reasons we don’t understand, to reverse course and go back into the world. In fairly recent times, he made another stab at coming to church services and getting his life in order. Sadly, he could not continue on the positive path and ended his life. His funeral was this week.

There are varying reasons why someone would choose to end their life. Thankfully, for most of those who commit suicide we know that God is merciful. There is a coming second resurrection and a time for them to embrace God’s vision for man and get on the path to salvation.

Many of us still living can probably hearken back to dark times in our lives. We may have contemplated that there was no reason to carry on. The ending of life may have seemed like a viable option. However, this is not godly thinking but Satan’s mindset. The fact that we are still living indicates we chose the better path.

God desires that each and every person who has been given life would fulfill His purpose in their lives. But most people don’t know what God’s purpose is and they have no hope. Paul made this point in Ephesians 2:12-13, “That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”

In the verse cited, Paul points out what gives a Christian hope. As Christians, we have Christ, we are part of the commonwealth of Israel (the Church, the body of Christ), and we have entered into covenant with God so we can enjoy the blessings of God’s promises. All of this has been made possible through “the blood of Christ.”

I would venture to say that Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain knew nothing of Ephesians 2:12-13 and were therefore without hope and without God in the world.

Additionally, I would say the young man who ended his life recently did get a glimpse of God’s great plan for him. Sadly, he did not grasp it well enough to establish it as a foundational part of his life. He was not at peace and lost hope. When one reaches this low ebb, this dark place, it actually seems like a reasonable decision to end one’s life.

The question for all of us who remain in the faith, “Do we have peace and hope?”

Regardless of the setbacks, disappointments, and other difficulties in life, we can be at peace. Peace is a state of mind that allows us to hold it together no matter what tribulations we face. In this life we can be at peace. In addition to being at peace, we can have the immovable hope of God’s coming Kingdom. As it is said in Hebrews 6:18-19, “. . . we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast….”

As we have this state of mind, we can reject the negative pull of discouragement and hopelessness and instead keep our eyes on the goal: eternal life in God’s Kingdom. That goal gives us every reason to keep pushing on until the end of the race.

Happy Sabbath

Gary Smith