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When I was kid, I felt sorry for myself intensely. When bigger kids pushed me around and my mom wouldn’t go out and make it right, I gloated on my woes. Self-pity has been an evil that has plagued me even up to the present.
The good thing is that she has a twin called Compassion. As with many “evils,” you can flip them and make them good. When I took aptitude tests in high school, I scored low or average on everything — but they didn’t even measure the deep well of gifting God had given me. Compassion and empathy have driven years of successful ministry. Feeling others’ pain keeps me in prayer.
Self-aggrandizement is a wicked
motivation to get in ministry. The only true calling is serving others. Consider the contrast: Jesus reflects on the hungry multitudes, “I have compassion on them.” The disciples reflect harsh realities, “And where are we gonna get the money to feed them???” (Matt 15 32 – 39).
Are you more like Christ or his disciples? The case is all the worse if you realize the disciples HAD the money to buy enough food (Luke 8:3) — they just were selfish! Compassionlessness is ugly.
So if you suffer from self-pity, don’t despair. Just turn your eyes outward, and you’ll become a marvelously effective servant of God/ of humanity!
Frederich Nietzsche repudiated hope. He energetically discredited Christianity and morality. In its place, he taught nihilism, the belief in nothing. As a result, he went mad for 10 years prior to his death. His legacy? He inspired Hitler to carry out the nefarious pogrom against the Jews. His heirs — the existentialists like Beckett, Sartre and Camus — have continued to strip Western Civilization of its Christian moorings. Society applauded their philosophies and then wondered why massacres occur.
I’ll take hope over hopelessness any day! Hope is a gift from God. There is no hope outside of God.
Hope is the middle child sandwiched between her famous sisters: And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. — 1 Cor. 13:13 NIV. Though “hope” gets a lot less press, she is by no means the lesser child.
The greatest possession you could have is hope. Once you have lost hope, you have expired.
Christianity has been the piñata for philosophers for a long time. What they offer in its place is despair and drinking. True Christianity — not the perversions false Christians cite — is the only source of hope for humanity.
Crisis reigns in Israel. Not only have they lost the Philistine war, the ark of the covenant, Israel’s one great treasure, has been captured. Now, it lies deep within enemy territory, in their temple, a tribute to their god, a mockery to the one true God. True believers are in disgrace.
But when there is absolutely no hope, God’s not panicked. Instead, He uses the hopelessness to glorify Himself. The first night His holy ark is in a pagan temple, he makes the idol Dagon bow before it.
When the people of Ashdod rose early the next day, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! They took Dagon and put him back in his place. – 1 Sam. 5:3 NIV. The Philistines don’t get. They think it’s a fluke.
But the following morning when they rose, there was Dagon, fallen on his face on the ground before the ark of the LORD! His head and hands had been broken off and were lying on the threshold; only his body remained. – 1 Sam. 5:4 NIV.
Things are about to get worse, and the Philistines grow terrified. The message is clear: You don’t make a trophy of the one true God to honor false gods. That is what the Philistines learn.
The Israelites learn that God can act alone, without any human intervention. At the end of the story, the Philistines send the ark back to Israel voluntarily. There is no military raid to recover it. No high-level diplomatic negotiations. No agreement to exchange war prisoners. To the Israelite perspective, it is starkly an Act of God.
Maybe you need an Act of God for your desperate circumstances today. Instead of wringing your hands, fold them in prayer. Instead of anxiety, let quiet trust reign in your heart.
God doesn’t need you. He needs only your prayers.