Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like you lost all hope? Or worse, have you ever felt like life would be easier for everyone else if you just weren’t around anymore? These are the situations in life where we need wise people around us to give us perspective. Hopefully, when we feel this way we are surrounded by the right people, because let’s face it, we all need hope. And sometimes hope just seems so far away.
Tonight, Lydia is feeling extremely hopeless. She feels responsible for the deaths of so many of her new friends, including Henry, the first person who has really shown her love in a long time (if ever). She is also feeling guilty for what Alpha and her former tribe has done to her new friends and she is wondering if the world would just be better off if she was dead.
So in the middle of a dangerous trek in the snow, she wanders off and Carol follows her.
Carol: What the h*ll are you doing? Lydia: I don’t know. I just know I can’t cross that river.
Lydia:Because I know what’s on the other side.
Carol:It’s the same thing that’s on this side.
Lydia:Everyone’s acting like getting to Hilltop’s gonna make all our problems go away, like it’s gonna make everything better, but it’s not gonna change sh*t. They’re not gonna want me back. If they hadn’t taken me in to begin with, all those people would still be alive. Your son’s dead ’cause of me. Henry said I was a good person. But he was wrong. As long as I’m one of you, it’s never gonna stop. You know I’m right. There’s only one way to fix this. (puts a spear to her heart) You see it. It can be you. No one else has to know. Please, Carol, everything’s gonna be better when I’m gone. This is how you keep from losing anyone else. Please, Carol. Please, just do it. Do it for Henry. I’m sorry it has to be you, but it does. I’m too weak. Just like my mother said.
Carol:You’re not weak. Come on. We have to go. Come on.
Lydia is so desperate that she is actually considering suicide. In this case she would like Carol to assist her. Or at least, she is crying for help. Fortunately, Carol isn’t having it, even though she is also not in a very good state of mind. Even though Carol has a lot of experience in loss, that doesn’t make losing a son (and it looks like losing her marriage) any easier. They are both in pain and in need of hope. Fortunately, Carol does the right thing and talks Lydia out of hurting herself.
But the fact is that hope is something that we all need. Some of us find it in the relationships around us (I know I sure do). Others find it in our work or our play. But as a Christian, I know that the ultimate source of hope that we have is in Jesus Christ. This hope is so important that it is a lens that I look at the world through, and it puts perspective on my relationships, my work and leisure time.
Our hope in Jesus Christ is exactly what can help us through any situation or any feeling of desperation. Why is that? Because God is the creator and maintainer of the universe and He loves us. There is no better news than that.
One of my favorite verses about this in the bible is in Romans chapter Eight. Here Paul is writing a church in Rome in the first century and he is encouraging them in the middle of some difficult times.
38 And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NLT)
No matter how desperate the situation seems, God is always there. And God loves us no matter what. Notice how much Paul emphasizes that nothing can separate us from God’s love. He lists out all of the things that can make us feel isolated and unloved. Some of them are spiritual and otherworldly (life, death, angels demons, powers of Hell,etc.). Others are part of our earthly experience (fears for today, worries for tomorrow). But Paul tells us that “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God” (vs 39). He makes it clear that there is absolutely nothing anywhere, seen or unseen, that can keep God’s love away.
I don’t know about you, but I find this to be the most meaningful truth in my entire life. When I am feeling hopeless, I know that God is here and that He loves me. I also know that God will give me the resources to deal with these situations (1 Corinthians 10:13). The bottom line – we are never alone. God is always here and He can help us through any situation.
Sometimes God uses other people to help us in our desperation. When any of us are feeling hopeless it is important to reach out to others. When you reach out to a follower of Jesus, they are going to understand this truth and help us see things through the lens of the grace and love of God.
God can also do miracles in our lives to help us through these situations. The miracle may not always be what we want, but it will always be what we need. Many of us can tell stories about the wondrous things that God has done in our lives.
And most importantly, it is crucial that we remember that the ultimate hope comes thought what Jesus did for us on the cross. When He died for us, he paved the way for anyone who believes in Him to have eternal life (John 3:16). And when we think about this, especially in light of the fact that this life is so short in comparison to eternity, this truth helps us through any situation.
SEASON 9, EPISODE 16 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
- Do you think that Lydia really wanted to die, or do you think that she was “crying for help”?Why or why not?
- Do you think that Carol is conflicted about her feelings about Lydia?Why or why not?
- Carol tells Lydia that she is not weak.Do you think this is true? Why or why not?
- In Romans 8:38-39, do you think that Paul leaves any room to believe that there is something that could make God not love us? Why or why not?
- Paul says that this love is “revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (vs 39). What do you think he means by this?
- Do you think that Paul could be referring to what Jesus did on the cross? Why or why not?
- Have you ever been in a situation where you felt like there was no hope?How did you handle that situation? (If you are feeling that right now, you need to reach out to someone you trust and talk about it. This is not something you delay, you need to talk to someone right now.)
- In the midst of feeling hopeless, do you think knowing that God loves us can help us?Why or why not?
- Does the fact that Jesus made it possible for us to live eternally with Him help our perspective when times seem hopeless?Why or why not?
Thom McKee Jr. is a husband, father, pastor… and film geek (and brother of Jonathan McKee). Thom lives in Northern California with his wife and two kids.