by Robert A. Smith, Jr.
There are thousands of self-help books, videos, and CD Roms in bookstores and online today. Each author expresses his wisdom to persons who are in the dungeons of despair, lonely, anxious, physically and mentally abused, rejected, plagued by guilt, depressed, and obsessed with thoughts of suicide.
Many of the materials available, including the book The Secret, focus their strategies on how to live a stress-free life, accumulate wealth, and find the perfect relationship.
Major publishers' marketing departments have tapped into the suffering and agony of men and women who, in the words of Henry David Thoreau, "live lives of quiet desperation;" those who are overwhelmed by dread, a numbness in the soul that makes each day of life daunting and best and taxing at worst.
Does being a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, our redeemer and ever-present companion in the person of the Holy Spirit, exempt a person from moments of hopelessness? The answer is no.
It matters not if you are white, Asian, African-American, Hispanic, rich, middle class, poor, male or female, red state or blue state; trouble, trauma, and tragedy will touch your life. What are we to do? How do we respond when the unimaginable threatens to overtake us, when our faith is fragile and our strength is just about on empty?
1) Our God specializes in things impossible. Our Lord is bigger than our problem. Nothing we go through is beyond Christ's healing touch. His love for us is our assurance of delivery from valleys of uncertainty.
2) David Tells us in Psalm 18:6, "In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help." What is David's message to us? Our personal relationship with God makes it possible to call God anytime, anywhere, under any circumstance. God will respond to our agony. He is closer than our next breath. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" (Psalm 30:5).
3) Knowing the will of God! How can we, who are limited, know the will of the One who created everything that exists? When we accept every trouble or trial that comes to us from the mistakes (of ourselves or others) as God's appointment. His providence is His will for us. This can prevent the irritation, anger, and worry which often cloud life and make us bitter and obscuring God's favor. The Apostle Paul reminds us that we "can do all things through Christ who strengthens" us (Philippians 4:13).
To God be the glory!
Robert A. Smith, Jr. is pastor of Church of the Savior in the Bronx, New York.