Hopelessness … why not try God?
The ‘wait’, every damn second of the ‘wait’, is consumed with survival, yet survival, is the one thing her Motor Neurone Disease (MND) cannot give her.
With her days numbered my visits with Kirsty are much quieter. Our conversation more intermittent as she rests from the effort of trying to live. And while the disease continues to wreak havoc on every muscle in her body, despair and hopelessness also hover in the background. Like vultures. Persistent in their quest to ravage her soul.
The dictionary describes hopelessness as an emotion characterized by a lack of hope, optimism, and passion. From my perspective, as a bystander to my friends’ illness, the English language completely lacks words to describe the intensity of emotions encircling the dark, shadowy wasteland of this thing called ‘hopelessness’. Fear, despair, helplessness, powerlessness, pain, loneliness, and ‘I feel so useless’, are words Kirsty has used at various times during my visits as she confronts her death – a death forced upon someone wanting to live.
But Kirsty’s response is, and always has been, unwavering. God is her answer. She says God is her reason to smile amid this hideous crisis. God is her hope.
“How do people cope with hopelessness and despair without God?” she often asks.
It’s a good question.
Kirsty readily admits there is no hope for her, from a medical point of view. No cure on the horizon. No person who can lift the burden of MND off her.
“But God’s word tells me that even when this body I live in is folded up at death like a tent, I have a God built home waiting for me in the heavenly realm (2 Cor 5:1). That is a hope that allows me to look beyond the failure of my frail body to an eternity of wholeness. ”
According to a UNICEF report New Zealand holds the dubious honour of having, by far, the highest youth suicide rate in the developed world. Our number of overall suicides in New Zealand also reached its highest ever level, with 685 people dying in the year to June 30. But it seems no matter what we throw at it, whether it be medication, funding, people or opportunity, hopelessness and despair are hard to ‘cure’.
Author Mitch Albom says there is no affliction like hopelessness.
“I believe it’s worse than anything that strikes the flesh. Hopelessness can be contagious. But hope can be as well. There is no medicine to match it.” [Mitch Albom – Finding Chika].
Yes, we can placate hopelessness with all sorts of medication and sticky plaster legislation, but when it comes to hope, not the feel-good kind of hope, but the kind of hope that speaks truth, there is no magic pill, because hope demands inside-out work. Hope is the language of the soul. There is so much on offer in the world to appease hopelessness that telling people hope is the work of the soul sounds looney. Even when there is no rational answer to explain our deepest despair, we don’t want to hear someone telling us, ‘Try God.’
But we can’t find refuge from pain and remain filled with hope anywhere else than in the presence of God. The hope God gives us is powerful and effective. Everything man comes up with, just can’t go the distance, says Kirsty.
“His hope keeps my head up and my smile shining in the middle of a death sentence. Do you realise how valuable this is? Do you realise how desperately the world needs to hear about this? In an age of epidemic anxiety, skyrocketing suicides and unprecedented environmental instability, hope is what is needed. And we know where to find it.”
God offers hope beyond what we know and what we can see. What God offers is beyond the realm of our experiences. Only God offers the meaningful. The real deal.
True, deep, lasting hope. Why not try God?