Recently I have interacted with several people who seem to be without hope.  I guess you could say that they are “hopeless”.  I don’t know about you, but I am not sure I have ever been in a state of complete hopelessness to the point of utter despair.  My limited times of lacking hope have come and gone.  However, I now know or have known people who feel trapped with their physical ailments, with their jobs, with their spouse, with the state of their relationships, and with their life as a whole.  When I look at their circumstances, it appears that things went “south” when they entered a state of “hopelessness.”  They lost hope that there would ever be a good solution to their circumstance and they gave up. I don’t ever want to find myself in that situation, do you?

The apostle Paul taught that real love always hopes (1 Corinthians 13:7).  It seems that love and hope work closely together, and that it is possible that a hopeless situation is a situation where a person feels neglected and unloved and alone - a place devoid of care and love - a place where hope is gone.  My heart breaks for those who find themselves trapped in such a scenario.  I pray that God touches them in their state of hopelessness and that you and I never find ourselves there!

With that being said, there is a story that John tells in the New Testament of a lame man who was in that state of “hopelessness.”  We are told that he had been sick for thirty eight years.  Imagine that - unable to walk before the modern invention of wheel chairs in a culture that looked down and cast aside those with such infirmities.  He would have been able to move only by dragging himself around, or maybe from time to time someone might have moved him from one spot to another.  Many versions of the bible label him as an “invalid.”  Not only was he lame, but he was seen by others as having “no validity.”  If you break down the word “invalid”, that is what it literally means - worthless, lacking validity.  So sad and this man had been that way for thirty eight years.  His hopelessness must have been so ingrained into his psyche that any hope of ever rising above those circumstances was long gone.  Thirty eight years is a long time to live without hope.  Unfortunately, that is the state of many in our world today also.

In John 5, we are told that Jesus came to the place where this man and many other “disabled” people would lie in their destitute state.  We are told that when Jesus learned of how long this man had been in this condition, Jesus asked the man a crazy question - or at least at first glance it seems crazy.  Jesus asked the lame man this, “Do you want to get well?”

It seems like such a weird question to ask someone who obviously wants to be freed from his hopeless circumstance, but Jesus knew more than what the obvious would reveal.  You see this man and the others lying there in their state of disability believed that from time to time an angel would stir the water in the pool in front of them and that the first one in the pool would be set free from whatever infirmity that ailed them.  That healing scenario doesn’t offer much hope to someone who is lame.  There is no way he could get to the water before others who were able to move on their legs.  Hence, the man was hopeless and trapped by circumstances that he had no control over.  His answer to Jesus’ question was that there was no way he could get to the water in time, the others would always get there before him.  (BTW, there is a great visual of what this could have looked like in the video series called The Chosen.  If you haven’t seen it, it would be well worth checking it out!)  Of course Jesus told the man to get up and walk, which he miraculously did to the incredulous looks of everyone around.  It was an amazing miracle!  Jesus brought hope to a man who had no hope…someone who was absolutely hopeless!  He would have been lame to his death, but Jesus had compassion on him and made him well!!!!  

Does Jesus still set people free who are in hopeless situations?  I believe He does.  Is Jesus still walking among us and doing unimaginable miracles?  I believe He is.  Do you find yourself in a state of “having no hope”?  Have the circumstances of your life, or of the life of someone you know, left you “hopeless” and feeling “in-valid”?  I want to pour some hope into you!  It’s not hope that I have to give, but it is the hope of Jesus Christ.  Here is the mission of Jesus Christ as foretold by Isaiah the prophet:  

  1. To bring good news to the poor…
  2. To proclaim that captives will be released…
  3. To proclaim that the blind will see…
  4. To proclaim that the oppressed will be set free…
  5. To bring a time of God’s favor to people!

Are you feeling the pain of poverty, do you feel held captive by your circumstances, have you lost the ability to see anything good in life, have you felt the oppression from others?  The time of God’s favor is here!  Let me say that again a little differently - you are favored by God!!!  Call on Jesus - He is the one who can take a life from hopeless to hope, and from having no validity (invalid) to being valued.  You may not be lame physically, but your circumstances may be leaving you feeling crippled. There is hope from Jesus to you available.  “Do you want to get well?”  He is the one who has authority to deal with our infirmities!  His promise to you is above normal (supernatural) from Isaiah 40:29-31 -

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.

Even youths will become weak and tired,and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

They will soar high on wings like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint.

May God’s blessing of new strength land upon you.

Please let me know how I can be praying for you if you find yourself in a state of hopelessness!  We are part of a caring group of Jesus’ followers who would love to support you and encourage you in the hope we have found in Jesus!

Pastor Don Erehart

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