HOPE! SAME BATTLEGROUND DIFFERENT FOE! People can often be an enemy of hope as we saw in my last post. But another enemy of hope is often our own relationship with God. In Psalm 42 David is struggling spiritually. For some reason he appears to be exiled or forced to be absent from the spiritual activity of God’s house of worship. This bothers David tremendously as he cries out, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, So panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: When shall I come and appear before God? My tears have been my food day and night,” (Psalm 42:1-3 ASV). It appears to me that David is almost on the verge of depression or hopelessness. And as we noticed in the last post he also had people taunting him about his circumstances (v.3). Sometimes the biggest battle with hope is our own self. It appears David knew all the answers but he wasn’t putting them into practice because obviously he was struggling as he evaluates his own condition, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance” (Psalm 42:5 ASV).
It is not uncommon for Christians to face the same problem David did; to know all the answers and yet struggle with a relationship with God. A focus on a place of worship or a method or type of worship that robs one of the ability to see and worship God inwardly and personally will lead one to hopelessness when that expectation cannot be fulfilled. But on the other hand a life of self-pity, self-interest, self-indulgence, self-introspection, self-degradation; a life full of me, me, me, me will often lead to a life that has no room for God and the hope that He offers for a full, joyous, hope filled life.
Also a Christian may rob himself of the hope found in Jesus Christ because of broken fellowship with Christ. This doesn’t mean the hope we have in Christ isn’t offered by Christ but it does mean that the Christian in broken fellowship with Christ often ends up in despair and without hope because their sin produces that feeling within them.
What can produce this type of a loss of hope? Maybe no consistent prayer time. Maybe never reading or studying the Word of God. Maybe no fellowship with God or other Christians. Maybe blatant sin in disregard of God’s Word. Satan has a way of robbing a Christian of any hope in Christ when things are not as they should be spiritually. It is bad enough when people attempt to rob us of hope. But when we rob ourselves of hope that may be worse.