I lay in bed, my thoughts trying to answer the question, “Why should I get up? Is there any chance that today will make tomorrow better, more attractive or worth the effort to thrown back the covers and emerge from the cocoon of a warm comfortable bed?” I roll over and close my eyes as a sense of darkness surrounds me.
Sad but it seems these lurking thoughts are becoming more and more common in the emerging generation who face the venture of shaping their lives and future with greater levels of stress, anxiety, fear and despair. In a 2011 National College Health Assessment survey with 1,600 students at the University of Alberta when asked about the past 12 months, 51.3% felt things were hopeless, 52.1% indicated feeling overwhelming anxiety, 61.7 felt very lonely and 34.4 % were so depressed that is was difficult to function. (Campus Crisis: The Broken Generation, Kate Lunau, Maclean’s: September 5, 2012)
One has to wonder why a generation who has typically experienced more of a comfortable and privileged life than former generations would find themselves haunted with such thoughts. Is it possible their view of life and the world has been built on inadequate foundations? For those who are depressed and despairing about life, what is the answer?
Expectation, desire and confidence are always based on some foundation. Hope springs from faith or confidence in some type of belief or hope. Some possible foundations or beliefs on which we might build our lives, but which often come up wanting are:
Life is good. This hope springs from the experience of those who have had comfort and material possessions. They have high expectations. Their hope is that they will continue to live at the level of their parents’ lifestyle or beyond. Uncertain economic times and a challenging job market have cast a large shadow across this hope. Life does not feel good when you are unemployed, and cannot pay your bills, let alone buy what you want.
Relationships are good. This foundational perspective is that life is a web a relationships that bring meaning and hope to the treadmill of the day to day spin of life. When relationships are strained or unproductive, the relational fabric no longer provides a foundation for hope. The growing number of divorced parents and fractured relationships between family members or friends sheds light on why almost 62 percent of students in the sampling felt very lonely. Life is not good when people turn on you, misunderstand or dessert you.
The future is good. Similar to the “Life is good.” perspective, this hope is built on anticipating a good future. This resilient soul believes that, based on hard work and perseverance anything can be overcome. This confidence springs from self-confidence and a foundational belief that humanity is good and will continue to move toward a better world. Unsettling times which is illustrated on the news every night, punctuated with events like 9-11, random mass murders, armed conflicts and natural disasters call into question this hope of a good future. Personal failure or overwhelming personal challenges also shake this foundation.
It is understandable why it might be easy to roll over and stay in bed. Each of these options for hope rests on having faith in unstable foundations such as the economy, relationships, the goodness of humanity or a confidence in self. These are not bad options but not sufficient as a foundation for enduring hope. Enduring hope has to have a foundation that is both stable and unchanging. Many might suggest that a faith in God can provide a stable and unchanging foundation for hope for you in this generation. Why is that?
God is good, loves us, knows the future and never changes. Personal faith in God provides a sufficient unchanging foundation for life in a turbulent ever changing world. Confidence in God’s goodness brings hope to the most unpleasant circumstances. Trusting that God understands and cares with a perfect love and goodness provides security to the most uncertain future. A relationship with God is eternal which provides the ultimate hope for the future now and beyond this life. Consider the often quoted words in John’s gospel...
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him won’t perish but will have eternal life.” John 3:16 CEB
God, in fact, extends an invitation of a personal relationship with him through Jesus to all. His offer is not based on how good we are but how good he is. Jesus says,
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30, The Message.
God desires a relationship with you. Will you allow him into your life to provide real rest and hope that is based on his unchanging nature and love?
“Look! I’m standing at the door and knocking. If any hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to be with them, and will have dinner with them, and they will have dinner with me.” Revelations 3:20 CEB
Here is a suggested prayer of invitation…
Jesus I know I have been living life independent of you. I invite you into my life to forgive my sins, be with me each day and to guide me. Thank you for your love, forgiveness and eternal life. Amen.
If this prayer expresses what you desire, take this step to respond to God’s invitation. He will forgive your sins, be with you always, guide you each day and give you eternal life. If you do pray this prayer of faith, God will be faithful to his promise and come into your life.
Just as the introduction is the beginning in any relationship, getting to know God is just the beginning. To grow in your relationship with God, talk to him daily through prayer, start reading the Bible beginning with the gospel of John and seek out others who have a personal faith in God. A relationship with God provides an unchanging foundation of hope in a world of unprecedented change. God will give you the strength to face the challenges of each day and to anticipate the future he has a planned for you.
Time to get out of bed…