- David Defries
This last season for me has been incredibly challenging. I've been dealing with interpersonal conflict in a number of different areas of my life and seeming to not make much progress in any of them. When situations like these tend to drag on over a long period of time, I get really discouraged and tend to want to avoid anything in life. My personal favourite escape in life is playing video games and I find myself desiring to do nothing but play or dwell on whatever game I'm currently on. It's my not-very-good way of dealing with the constant, ongoing tension in the relationships I'm struggling with. You see, I want to escape because I feel hopeless about the situation. It feels like it's never going to change, like the other person will never see my perspective, like an insurmountable obstacle I am powerless to do anything about.
I had to repent about that attitude today.
I came to the realization today that a hopeless perspective isn't just wrong, it's actually an affront to God. By definition there is no situation that is out of His power to reach into. If He is always able and willing, then there is always hope. To be hopeless is to basically say "I don't trust that God will actually come through or that He's able to come through".
Everyone who believes in God will tell you with certainty that God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and able to do what He says He wants to do. The problem comes in that our practice seems to not follow our beliefs. My practice doesn't follow my beliefs. If it did, I wouldn't succumb to hopelessness. I'd instead start to pray fervently into the situation for God to do His thing. I'd start to partner with God for His heart to be revealed and His will to be done.
The Bible says that "we destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ." (2 Cor 10:5) When we don't take these hopeless thoughts captive, we lead ourselves into a dark place. We basically convince ourselves against God doing anything or intervening in a positive way. Instead, we need to continually remind ourselves of God's heart, His purposes and plans, and how He has come through in the past. We need to discipline our minds so that we are continually feeding our hearts a message of hope and trust in Him.
"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." (Phil 4:8)
For me, I repented of feeding myself with the lies that "this situation is never going to change" and "this person is never going to see where I'm coming from". These are lies that the conflict will never be resolved and the relationship will be irreparably damaged. The truth is that God always wants to strengthen relationships, strengthen bonds of love, and strengthen unity. Even if I have no clue what to do or how to proceed with the relationship, I can trust in God that He will come through in repairing what is broken.
It's time to stop feeding myself on the swirling thoughts of negativity and constantly reciting arguments against the other person. It's time to start releasing the power of God, His peace and His love into them via prayer. It's a good thing that we have a God who forgives us and enables us to change, otherwise I would be hopelessly lost. As it is, there's hope for me and hope for my relationships.
Do you have a situation you feel hopeless about? It's time to start focusing on God's truth about it rather than the lies you've been believing. There's always hope in God. It's time to hope again.