HELPLESS TO HOPEFUL


Fifteen years ago, I received news that even now strikes fear into my heart and mind. My son was away at college, when the call came. I wasn’t expecting to hear from his roommate what I was told. It wasn’t the usual news that “everything’s okay.” Instead, I heard the words that still echo through my memory, “Mr. Worthy your son was in a serious accident just a few moments ago.” Being so far away from him was enough to cause a sense of panic and helplessness to flood over me. I was worried about his health and overwhelmed with the feeling that I could not get to him fast enough and do anything to help him. I was too far away, too isolated from him, and too startled to even pray. This feeling of helplessness led to fear and a strange kind of paralysis. I didn’t know what to do, except to just get to him as fast as I could.

Helplessness is a feeling that everyone has to deal with at times in their lives. Feelings themselves aren’t bad, evil or destructive. They are feelings – emotions – given to you as a gift from a creative and loving God. The issue with any feeling, especially helplessness, is what you do with it after it becomes a reality in your life.

What really matters are the actions the feelings produce. Helplessness can lead to paralysis, rendering you unable to do anything. “And He [Jesus] was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.” —Mark 1:13 (NASB). That’s why Jesus is such an inspiration! I cannot imagine what Jesus was going through as he went through the temptations in the wilderness. Being fully human, he probably experienced the full range of emotions that could have led him to a complete shutdown of His life’s purpose. Yet, in the midst of the temptations, he was ministered to, and He was strengthened and encouraged.

The next time you go through a feeling of helplessness, what will bring you hope? When those moments come, find someone you trust with whom you can talk; someone who can give you perspective. In addition, never forget that God is your hope and strength. He is very present in times of trouble, waiting to renew you with His Spirit. 

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