I’m reminded of King Solomon who had all the wealth, fame, and power that any man could want. And yet, he felt empty and unsatisfied. So, he decided he would make a diligent search throughout the world to find that one thing that would produce true happiness and satisfaction. And what was his conclusion after making such a worldwide search? He said, “…all is vanity [emptiness]… I have seen all the works that are done under the sun, and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Eccl. 1:2b, 14)
What a sad state of mind! A hopeless state of depression and emptiness. But that’s what happens to a person whose HOPE for a better tomorrow is based on their wishful thinking and it doesn’t happen!
The problem lies in the fact that their hope (trust) is built upon something totally unreliable. Inevitably, they end up saying like Solomon… “all is vanity and vexation of spirit”.
In 2020, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times that reported the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey taken from 5,065 people… when asked questions related to their MENTAL HEALTH DURING THE PANDEMIC of 2020….
* 39% of U.S. adults ages 18 to 39 had at least one symptom of depression, up from 9% in the earlier years.
* That increase was mirrored among Americans in their 40s and 50s (jumping from 8% to 27%).
* And, those 60 and above (rising from 8% to 15%). (4)
It should come as no surprise that more people suffer from depression during hard times like we experienced in 2020. BUT, there is a particular SOURCE… a BASIS… a FOUNDATION for one’s hope that is absolutely reliable and won’t leave him feeling defeated and depressed!
In fact, it is so reliable, that when our hope is built upon that particular source, NOTHING in this world can rob you of your JOY, and PEACE, and OPTIMISM about the future.
God’s Word has GOOD NEWS for those who feel that the weight of the world is more than they can bear…
• For those who have lost their job because of COVID shutdowns,
• Or, for those who suffered devastating destruction from wild fires or hurricanes,
• Or, for those who have suffered extreme sickness from this pandemic.
• Or, for those who have even lost someone they love to this horrible disease…
DON’T GET DEPRESSED! JUST PUT YOUR HOPE IN SOMETHING (Someone) WHO DELIVERS! SOMEONE WHO WON’T LET YOU DOWN!
Psalm 31:24 - Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.
So, the Bible says we can be ENCOURAGED… strengthened in our spirit (our outlook) IF our hope is in the Lord.
When our hope is more than just wishful thinking and it’s built upon our unmovable FAITH in Jesus Christ and His love for His people and it aligns with the TRUTH of His Word… WE CAN BE GREATLY ENCOURAGED!
Here’s another scripture. In this one, the Psalmist is talking to his own soul like it’s another person. It’s like someone who says, “The other day, I was talking to myself. And I said ‘Self, why are you discouraged?”
Psalm 42:5a - Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted [discouraged] in me? hope thou in God…
Now, if those two scriptures are not enough to convince you to put your Hope in Jesus Christ, then listen to this one:
Psalm 146:5 - Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God:
Here, we see that OUR HAPPINESS is based upon having hope in the Lord. Who doesn’t want to be happy? Everybody wants to be happy!
In fact, our blessings and happiness come from trusting in and putting our faith in the Lord.
Jer. 17:7 - Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.
So, when you say, “I HOPE that 2021 is better than 2020.” What are you basing that hope on? Is it just wishful thinking? Or, are you expressing that positive outlook… that EXPECTANCY that comes from a life of trusting the Lord, that says in essence, NO MATTER WHAT 2021 BRINGS US, I EXPECT (KNOW) IT’S GOING TO BE BETTER BECAUSE MY LIFE IS BUILT UPON MY TRUST IN THE LORD.
I look forward with great expectancy to the Rapture of the Church… realizing that 2021 COULD BE the year that it happens. And the Bible tells us that this is our BLESSED HOPE! We are told that we are to be…
Titus 2:13 - Looking for that blessed HOPE, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
There’s a great old hymn that goes…
1. My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
When our HOPE is built upon the solid Rock, Who is Jesus Christ, we have the absolute ASSURANCE of eternal life with Him. And, no one can take that away from us!
BUT ALSO, it gives us a mindset… an attitude… that BECAUSE my hope is based upon Jesus Christ and His infinite power… and His unfailing love for me… and the truthfulness of His Word… NO MATTER WHAT 2021 BRINGS… NO MATTER IF THE ECONOMY FAILS, OR THE GOVERNMENT DOES SOME HORRIBLE THINGS… OR IF NATURE THROWS EVEN MORE DESTRUCTION UPON US…
I’M GOING TO BE OK BECAUSE I HAVE JESUS! And HE’S going to make it a better year for me!
(1) Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7,700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times, (Rockville, Maryland: Assurance Publishers, 1979) page 564