GENDUSA COLUMN: Hopelessness: Our ultimate enemy

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, February 16, 2022

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War is brewing in Ukraine. Iran is stirring up a bomb, and who knows what North Korea is cooking. Truckers are blocking roads in protest, politicians continue to fight, crime is rising everywhere, and of course, there is still evil COVID.

On the home front, a friend was in a terrible car accident, another is battling cancer, a husband became a widower, and to no one’s surprise, more than a few are suffering from depression.

The prayer list is so long today I could start in the morning and not be off my knees by suppertime. It seems as if tragedy, hopelessness, and sorrow are trying to sabotage our everyday lives. Challenges lurk, ready to confront us, test us and persuade us to give up.

When it seems we are being consumed by evil forces or personal catastrophes, what can we do to not let them destroy us?   

We, as a people, are masters at avoiding suffering hardships.

We will watch a comedy on television to dry our tears, and we pay buckets of money for entertainment to make us temporarily happy.

Most of us have or will buy trinkets to ease our depression and soothe our minds. Many will turn to drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. However, the sad thing is, our painful challenges will still be around tomorrow.

The reality in life is that wars, protests, crime waves, bad politicians and diseases will always be a part of our existence here. We will endure accidents, illnesses, and deaths; tears will flow, and we can’t avoid them.

Hopelessness is our ultimate enemy. When we lose hope, we gain apathy, resentment and anger. Thus, crime, hatred, substance abuse, depression, suicide, homelessness and other maladies rise.

When my granddaughter was six years old, she was thrown into a world of fear. Her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and this little girl suddenly needed to understand that there was hope even though she was terrified.

Using crayons, I drew a scene on a sheet of copy paper depicting a “USA Chemo” rocket ship preparing to launch.

Above the rocket were dark clouds with tiny angry, ugly faces, each named “Cancer,” embedded in the darkness.  At the top of the page, I colored a blue sky with a bright yellow sun in the corner, and the sun was called “Hope.”

After each chemotherapy treatment that followed, we erased an ugly face until one bright, glorious day, they were gone. The clouds flew away, and  “Hope” was all that remained.   

That was eleven years ago when a little girl learned to believe in hope.

Most of us desire to buy our children the finest toys, send them to the best schools and make sure they become involved in all exciting activities.

However, when we do not take the time to educate them on how to climb above the hardships they will encounter, we fail them. 

Hope comes directly from God. It takes patience and an abundance of faith to not succumb to the iniquities in the world. 

Most of you who read my columns know I have suffered clinical depression throughout my life. Years ago, when I was going through a  very challenging time, I said to my psychiatrist, “Doc, I am so depressed I am scaring myself! You might need to put me in the hospital for a while!” His eyes twinkled as he smiled, which I thought odd.

“Lynn, as long as I have known you, I have learned one sure thing.” 

“What’s that?” I replied.

“Just before you hit rock bottom and give up, you reach for the hand of God. Your faith always saves you.”

The good news is that I persevered to tell you that we all can rise above the darkest circumstances and see tomorrow’s sun.

Faith and hope save folks, and they are the weapons against discouragement and gloom. It is there in God’s light where hope resides and where lives thrive, and no human can take that away once it is found. 

No matter what race, what age, and what nationality you are, we live under the same sun, and if we only believe, hope can erase the ugly faces embedded in the clouds.

“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.”    Romans: 5: 3-4