The UK Telegraph had this story last Friday. It contains a lie:
Man living on benefits killed wife of 32 years after being overcome by ‘hopelessness’ An unemployed man stabbed to death his wife of 32 years because he felt their life on benefits was meaningless and they had nothing to do other than watch television. LINK
Michael Cole was younger than me. He and his wife had lost their jobs, were childless, living on savings and about to lose their house. Drinking heavily, he tried to convince his wife to make a suicide pact with him but she refused. So, he killed her with tools at hand, waited by her body for two days then called the police and tried to commit suicide. He failed and survived.
Here is the lie; do NOT believe it:
(Lie –>) There is no hope! (<– Lie)
Did I mention that this is a lie?
There is always hope!
According to The Telegraph, Cole was overcome by “feelings of hopelessness.” But there’s a problem with feelings. Feelings lie.
Feelings are, by nature, irrational, meaning they do not depend on rational logic. They do not depend on truth. In fact, they often blot out the truth.
Feelings appear bigger and truer than they are. Fueled by alcohol and anger, Cole’s feelings blotted out the fact that there would be a tomorrow and there would be good things in it.
Hope is more than a feeling! Hope is the foretelling of good things to come.
There are always good things to come.
One year ago I didn’t have a puppy. There were friends that I’d yet to meet. There were sunrises and sunsets I’d not yet seen.
In the last year I’ve found new trails and roads I’d never traveled on. There were opportunities that hadn’t knocked. There were solutions to problems waiting because the problems hadn’t yet appeared to inspire the need for the solutions.
Last year there were hugs and kisses and love and blessings still lingering on the horizon. There were people still to help. There were cups of hot chocolate yet un-drunk on crisp winter nights yet to fall. There were surprises waiting, still secret, and flowers that were not yet even swelling buds.
Imagine your past year and then mentally erase all of the bad things, the boring things, the mistakes and the wasted time, leaving only the good things. Now imagine making a list of all of them. It would be difficult to recall them all, each blossom and song, each gentle breeze smelling of freshly cut grass, each rain shower.
That is the promise hope tells. These are not dreams, but future facts that have not yet happened. And next year will be the same.
Life is more than work.
We haven’t even begun to look beyond the physical to include life’s meaning and purpose. We haven’t begun to talk about the value you have just by being who you are.
Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Mt 5:25-26 – Jesus’ sermon on the mount.
Spiritually, things are not focused on jobs and possessions.
The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:26-27
Even jobless, there are people to serve. Martin Luther King, Jr put it this way . . .
“Not everybody can be famous but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service… You only need a heart full of grace and a soul generated by love.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
So, there is never a time when good things are not coming. And never a time when we cannot serve. And never a time without hope.
No recession or politician or feeling can change that. There will always be good work to be done that is within our ability to do. There will always be purpose. Life will always mean far more than employment.
My grandmother, Blanche Ritchie, wheelchair bound by arthritis and in her 80’s, once put it this way:
“I can’t do much else but I can still pray. I pray for all of my family every day. Then I pray for other people. If I fall asleep, I just pick back up where I left off. God doesn’t mind. He understands I’m old.”
I’m not sure I can add to that . . .