“Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 NLT.
Have you ever had that kind of a day? That kind of day where you see and observe things, and feel the great power of oppression weighing heavy on your shoulders and mind? I know I have. And in those days, I do tend to conclude that the dead are far better than the living, and those who have not been born are fortunate to never have known the pain of evil. Today, is my birthday, and believe me, I get it. Not all birthdays are happy. And perhaps on these days, more than any other, I wonder for what reason I could possibly be born for. I get it.
For me, any day that I am not praying that God would take my life, is a good day.
Thankfully, God is gracious, and does not always gives us what we pray for. Today is a good day. While I do feel the pain of oppression. While I do wonder what purpose I could possibly be alive for. While I do see the suffering around me and feel this sense of helplessness to help anyone, including myself. While I do sense this dread that tomorrow will be the same or even worse than today. While all these things I sense and feel as though they assault my mind relentlessly, this one thing I am grateful:
Today, I am not wishing I am dead.
Today, I am not asking for God to take my life. While my mind is clearly being assaulted, with messages like, “yes, with God all things are possible, but it does not mean all things are God’s will,” and “all things are possible for God, yes I believe that, but that does not mean that all things I hope for are God’s will.” In those moments I go from hopeful…to feeling like…what is the point of hoping. Pain is my lot in life. Pain is my purpose. Pain was the purpose of Christ’s life too. And yet, there still is this one tiny smidgen of hope.
Today I do not hope to die. My hope is not in death.
That might seem pretty miserable and hopeless for some. I can understand why you would think that. Today, I do still feel this sense that my life is meaningless, because the truth is, it really is. Especially, when you look at everything that is happening around me and what little I have done to help relieve any of it. All the people who literally die alone and have no one. My life is a vapor, a rather unimportant vapor, and any attempt at me trying to make my life into something significant and filled with purpose and meaning, is like trying to catch a vapor. Good luck on that one! I can sense how that might seem pretty depressing and hopeless, and well, it is. Yet, this one thing I do have, that most people do not recognize.
I have hope that one day I will have hope again.
I know, that doesn’t seem like much. But in my world, it is the difference between the assault on my mind overtaking me completely, or having the strength that only comes from God to persevere. The difference between life and death. Hope and complete and utter hopelessness. Light and darkness. Giving up or pressing on through the darkness.
Today is a good day. Today, I have hope, even if my only hope is that hope is coming. For that, I am grateful beyond belief. God has given me the hope of hope. Hope when it is impossible to find. Hope when it seems as if there is none, for me, and so many others. So, I suppose in that sense, it only confirms the truth and reality that with God…all things truly are possible…because God has given me hope…hope that hope is coming.
One. Small. Piece. This is my remnant of hope. Sometimes the only hope I have. But it is still there. I am still breathing. And God…for whatever reason…has given me yet another day. And God…for whatever reason…has not given up on me. And people…for whatever reason…show moments of compassion that I am not deserving of.
I pray that God has given you more hope than this, but if your birthday ever feels less than happy…I pray that this one hope remains. A hope that hopes for the coming hope. A hope that an actual happy birthday is coming. God always gives us a remnant of hope…even if that hope is simply the hope that hope is coming soon. A hope that a true happy birthday is coming.
“And let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” Galatians 6:9.
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.” 2 Corinthians 4:16