“The tragedy of man is not that he dies, but what dies within him while he still lives.” – Albert Schweitzer
Some years ago, the wife of a close friend walked out on the marriage, leaving the husband with their four children, all under 10 years of age. When this catastrophe struck, he had just completed his Ph.D., and was embarking upon a promising teaching career at a prestigious university. Desperate now for help in raising his children, he found it necessary to relinquish his position and return to the city of his parents to enlist their assistance.
Early one morning before driving his U-Haul truck of household goods the 1400 miles north, he stopped by to say good-bye. It was painfully obvious that he was deeply crushed by the desertion of his wife, and the uncertain future awaiting him. So we talked, wept, and prayed… and finally bid farewell.
And as he climbed into the cab of the truck with his four small children he looked down, eked out a smile, and said, “Well Dwight, I still have HOPE.” As his vehicle disappeared from sight I was reminded of the words penned by St. Paul:
“We… rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. And HOPE does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 2:2b-5)
Today, eight years later, my friend and his clan are doing beautifully. The children give every evidence of maturing spiritually and socially into responsible adults. Recently he was appointed the head of his department in a respected institution of higher learning.
With the sparkle back in his eyes, it is apparent that he is experiencing God’s promise that “HOPE does not disappoint us… ”
So what do you do when the bottom falls out of your life?
- Allow that which lies within you to die while you are still alive? Or
- Choose to place your HOPE in the character and promises of God?
“Why are you downcast, O my soul?… Put your HOPE in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God… ‘For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.'” (Psalm 43:5; Jeremiah 29:11)