When Times Seem Hopeless
By NANCY PATRICK
Do you ever feel as if the world is spinning out of control? I do. As I watched world news recently, I learned the staggering new statistics regarding Covid-19 and its Delta variant. Patients, medical personnel, families, and politicians frantically urge people to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others against this aggressive and deadly virus. At the same time, others passionately oppose safety standards urged by scientists.
I also observed reports of the worst forest fires in American history sweeping the West coast. These infernos have wiped several small towns off the map. They have ravaged homes, schools, businesses, churches, and every other man-made obstacle in their paths.
Floods ravage other parts of the world, sweeping away the same things the fires burn on the U. S. West coast. These floods and fires destroy individual lives as well as decimate families and communities.
Another news story showed the Taliban forces reigning terror in the streets of Afghanistan. The U.S. Embassy urged all Americans to get out now. U.S. troops currently leave as quickly as they can. Afghans who worked with our troops as interpreters and informers seek asylum in the U.S. Afghan women dread their probable futures as Taliban forces brag that they will restore their country to its culture.
Then a reporter pointed out a new problem we face—space debris. Who would have thought that human beings could pollute space the same way we have polluted the oceans and seas? Where can we turn? What can we do?
I just read a depressing and overwhelming post on Facebook. The writer has lost all hope for America. Sadly, many people agree that not only the United States but the entire world has sunk into a quagmire of political, social, moral, theological, ethical, familial, and (any other adjective you can add to the list) turmoil that we now live in the twilight zone.
As a person who battles depression every day of my life, I read that post carefully and slowly to absorb the level of hopelessness expressed by the author (it was a shared post, so I do not know the original writer). At first, I felt a panicky anxiety begin in the pit of my stomach as I absorbed the degree of confusion, perplexity, anger, hatred, prejudice, fear, and intolerance in which our interfaith world lives. Then I had the words of my “go to” song come to my mind and soothe my fears. This link allows you to hear the song: Lord I Need You – Matt Maher (Worship Song with Lyrics) – Bing video, but I have written my personal thoughts in bold italics below the stanzas.
“Lord, I need You – My One Defense My Righteousness”
Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart
I cannot control the turmoil
In my world. Without reliance
On my God, my world falls apart,
And depression wins my heart
(CHORUS): Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You
Lord, I confess my weakness,
My fear, my sin, my powerlessness
As I beg for your presence in every hour.
You alone can defend me, you alone
Gift me any righteousness I have.
Oh, God, how I need you every hour!
Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are, Lord, I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
In the midst of evil and sin
I find my God’s grace,
And in that grace, God’s
Holiness frees me as He takes over.
Teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way,
And when I cannot stand, I’ll fall on You
Jesus, You’re my hope and stay
Teach me to turn to you and
Sing your praises when I
Feel tempted to sin. And if I do
Fail, let me fall on you
Because you are the cornerstone of my being.
A meditation with this song can calm the soul, reassure the doubts, and remind us of our purpose and place in the world. We have little control over anything except our own attitudes and behaviors. Accepting this reality releases us from the anger, fear, hatred, intolerance, and lust for power that some feel. We can yield to God’s sovereignty rather than sink into the world’s despair.
Nancy Patrick is a retired teacher who lives in Abilene and enjoys writing