Overcoming Hopelessness

A newly adopted child found himself in a big mansion. His new father said, This is yours, and you have a right to be here. I have made you a joint heir with my only-begotten Son. My son paid the price that set you free from your old taskmaster, who was cruel and condemning. I purchased it for you because I love you. It seemed too good to be true, but he was deeply grateful and began to form new relationships with the other adopted children.

He especially enjoyed the buffet table from which he freely ate. Then it happened! He accidentally knocked over a stack of glasses and a valuable pitcher crashed to the floor and broke. Some dark figure outside the mansion began to accuse him, and he thought, You clumsy, stupid kid! You will never get away with this. What right do you have to be here anyway? You better hide before your new master finds out, or he will surely throw you out. At first he was caught up with the wonder of living in the new mansion, with a new family, and a loving father, but now he was confused. Old tapes laid down in early childhood began to play again in his mind. He was filled with self-condemning thoughts. You don’t belong here. You belong in the basement. So he descended into the basement.

The cellar was dreary, dark, and depressing. The only light came from the open door at the top of the long stairway from which he came. He heard his father calling for him, but he was too ashamed to answer and he was starting to question whether he was ever adopted in the first place. Old friends would try to encourage him to come back upstairs, but he didn’t think he would fit in. Besides he was tired and didn’t feel like being around people. He made a few half-hearted attempts to climb the stairs, but he never went far enough or stayed long enough to resolve his conflicts and learn the truth that would set him free.

Then one day a shaft of light penetrated his mind and reason returned. Why not throw myself on the mercy of this one who calls himself my father? So he mustered his strength and climbed the stairs to face his father. Father, he said, I knocked over some glasses and broke a pitcher. Without saying a word, his father took him by the hand and led him into the dining room. To the boy’s utter amazement, his father had prepared a banquet for him! Welcome home son, his father said. There is no condemnation for those who are in my family.

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus and the matchless grace of God. If we could accept our Heavenly Father’s gracious love, we would never confine ourselves in the basement of depression or succumb to the grip of hopelessness. “We who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged” (Heb. 6:18), because God has confirmed our inheritance by two unchangeable things. They are God’s promise and the oath confirming His promise. Our hope in God is a solid anchor for our souls, and the answer to hopelessness and depression. Since God cannot lie, then the basis for our hope is found in His character and word, and not in our failures or the circumstances of life.

Dr. Neil

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