Helpless…Sorta.  Hopeless…NEVER!

Rik Gervais, CCC ruling elder

Greg mentioned during his sermon a week or so ago that I was in Germany and had the privilege of visiting Martin Luther’s home and church. It was an awesome visit for many reasons, not least of which was singing songs in Luther’s church during a noontime sing-along with the seminary students and staff, as well as visitors from all over the world! As you have heard me say many times, “It was WAYYY cool!”

But during my visit, not all was okay in my world or the rest of the world for that matter. On the personal level, my wife, Bobbie, sent me a note to let me know that she had slammed her thumb in the car door. She had also come down with a cold and was feeling pretty miserable. She was “home alone” and from where I was, I was feeling very helpless. My desire was to “fix it” for her. I wanted to be home taking care of her, giving her sympathy, and trying to ease her burden. I felt helpless.

On a larger scale, Hurricane Irma was SLOWLY moving its way toward the United States and pounding one small island after another along its way. The pictures from the ‘round the clock coverage on CNN International were heart-breaking. Total destruction in so many places. And I just knew that each place that was destroyed would quickly become “old news” as thenext place fell into the path of the storm. People’s lives were being torn up and thrown around with the same abandon that their homes and possessions were being tossed to and fro inthe wind and rain. And again…I felt pretty much helpless.

Back here at home this week, I heard stories from a couple friends who have very sick relatives who most likely won’t survive. And others have jobs that are in jeopardy. And they feel helpless. Events outside their control are tossing their lives around just like Hurricane Irma. But what I also heard as they spoke was that although they might be feeling helpless, they are definitely not feeling hopeless. I had that same feeling last week in Germany. In light of all the “bad news” in our lives one might well ask, “Why?”.

The answer is because we all believe we have a sovereign and gracious Father who is fully in control at all times and in all circumstances, including things as “small” as smashed thumbs and as enormous as hurricanes and death! When our lives have been turned upside down and make NO sense, we can cling to the truth of Scripture where God’s purpose is revealed to us. For example, Romans 8:28 tells us we can KNOW, “…that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” And we can KNOW, “…through faith in him [Jesus Christ] we may approach God with freedom and confidence.” (Eph 3:12) That means we can bring him our prayers, our fears, our tears and even our joys and he hears us, and in his perfect time, he answers us. We can KNOW we have a perfect hope, because we KNOW that “He [Jesus Christ] is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Col 1:17), even the pieces of our lives which seem sometimes to be falling apart.

There may be times in our lives, on a larger or smaller scale, when we feel absolutely helpless and vulnerable. Not to sound flippant, but “that’s life!” But as followers of Christ we NEVER have to feel hopeless, because we have a perfect and eternal source of hope. “Blessed are all who take refuge in him.” (Ps 2:7)