A young woman I know has just gone through two tragedies in the past month: one friend of hers died of a drug overdose; another committed suicide.
The friend who OD’d was trying to recover from addiction, but took Ecstasy that had been laced with Fentanyl — it’s becoming apparent that any amount of Fentanyl is an overdose — because he wanted to get high.
I don’t know how the other friend committed suicide or whether she left a note saying why, but both deaths were self-inflicted and directly attributable to hopelessness. Want a break from the world? Here: have a hit (the first one’s free). Tired of all the s**t going down? Feel that no one cares about you? Here’s some pills … here’s a rope … here’s a pistol …
Our world doesn’t offer much in the way of hope. No one seems to be able to stop terrorism, climate change, bullying or rising housing prices; jobs get out-sourced and the media gush over the ability of robots to do what humans can do. Drug addicts are offered “harm reduction”, which is a subliminal way of telling them that they’re not worthy of being cured.
The world does not care.
And that, sadly, is where the conversation usually stops. The sentence that should follow is, “But God does.” The proof? That He sent His Son to take all the blame for every wrong thing people have done from the beginning of time until the end of this age; to lift that burden off our shoulders and take the punishment that we deserve.
If God used social media, maybe He’d use this:
Maybe the world doesn’t give a fig for you, but your life matters to God. Do those words seem hollow? If they do, the world has made it that way to try to take your attention away from that reality. The world would have you believe that God’s wonderful creation — all that we see around us — is all just a series of accidents; ‘that there is nothing beyond the situation you see right now, and any kind of progress, including survival, is the sole preserve of some super-elite class of humans who Don’t Need God.
That’s enough to kill hope in anyone. But consider David’s eternal question:
When I consider the heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man, that You are mindful of him?
And the son of man, that You visit him?
— Psalm 8:3-4
And the eternal answer:
… for Thou has created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.
— Revelation 4:11 (KJV)
We exist and were created because that pleases God! That is the over-arching message of Jesus Christ and is the hope of the world. It’s the kind of message that can get someone to put down the needle, close the bottle, lift up their face.
People need to know that. We who are followers of Christ — like the young woman who’s seen this muckrain fall around her in the past few weeks — can bring that message. Don’t worry if it sounds lame: as Paul writes, “The message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:18)
Tell someone today. Tell someone tomorrow. Tell people you love. Tell people you dislike. Tell people you hardly know. And keep telling them: