Jump Start # 3394
Psalms 42:5 “Why are you in despair, O my soul? And why have you become disturbed within me? Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him for the help of His presence.”
I saw a report recently that said the suicides in this country are at an all time high. The numbers that were compared went back to the days of World War II, eighty years ago. This is something to be concerned about. Why are suicides so high now? We are not in a major war. The economy, though not good, is not in a depression. Covid has been managed. And, yet, more people are giving up. And, it’s not just teens that are committing suicide. It’s professionals. It men and women well into their careers.
Those that analyze the such things will attribute a rise in crime, drug addiction and mental illness as the cause. But that’s like seeing a bump on your leg and putting a band aide on it and never realizing that deep inside is a form of cancer. We see the bump, but we don’t see the cancer. We see crime, drug addiction and mental illness. Those are just bumps in our society. Pouring money into those things will not change anything. There is a much deeper problem in our culture. And, until that is addressed, crime, drug addiction, mental illness and suicides will continue to rise. The answer is not more shelters. The answer is not free food. The answer is not legalizing drugs. Those are merely the bumps.
Our verse, written long, long ago addresses the inner problem. Two questions are asked. They are personal. They are intended to bring reflection. The first, “why are you in despair, O my soul?” Great question. For many, the answer would be the externals. It’s hot outside. I have a terrible job, some would say. My family doesn’t like me. There is too much traffic. My co-workers stress me. I can’t afford what I want. On and on, we complain.
What this question tells us is that what is going on around me and on the outside does not have to affect my insides. Why are you in despair, O my soul? Why?
The second question asks, “And why have you become disturbed within me?” So things are bad on the outside. Do they have to be bad on the inside? You can’t control the outside, but you certainly do control the inside. Misery is an option and a choice. You don’t have to go there.
Our passage ends with the answer. Here’s the solution. “Hope in God, for I shall again praise Him.” That’s it! Hope in God. The God who understands what you are facing. The God who sees you. The God who is already in tomorrow. The God who’s promises are rich and true. The God who has blessed you. The God who will forgive you. The God who longs for you to spend forever with Him.
Don’t hope in the next election. That’s not the answer. Our hope is not in the Whitehouse, courthouse, school house, or even the church house. Our hope is in God. When Lot had to flee corrupt Sodom, God was there. When Job was broken down with pain and sorrow, God was there. When Noah saw that ark door closed, God was there. For Joshua, God was there. For Gideon, God was there. For David, God was there. For Paul, God was there. And for you, God is there.
Why are suicide rates up? The answer is simple. It’s not drugs. It’s not crime. It’s not the economy. It’s that they have no hope. What they hoped for, failed. Their hope was in themselves. Their hope was in someone else. Their hope was in the government. And, when their hope failed, so did their will to live.
When all we see are problems, the dawn never comes. But when we realize in a dark Philippian prison, past midnight, God was the hope for Paul and Silas. They sang and prayed. Their hope wasn’t in busting out. Their hope wasn’t in bribing a guard. Their hope was in the Lord.
We’ve made a mess of our past, yet, God can help us. The future looks foggy, yet, God can help. Marriage troubles, God can help. Family issues, God can help. Church scabbles, God can help. The power, the hope, the strength is not in us, but in God.
Hope in God, who keeps His promises. Who can do what no one else can.
Why are suicide rates sky rocketing? People do not know God and there is nothing left for them to hope for. The answer is obvious. We must show the world Jesus Christ. Hope in God, that’s the answer. The darkest nights are not so bad when we hope in God.