The recent news has been horrific. In addition to the continuing nightmare that is Afghanistan, there were deaths in Yemen, a fire at a high rise tower block in Milan and an impending natural disaster in the US as Hurricane Ida sweeps in. If you’re already facing personal problems it’s the kind of news that could cause you to say, ‘What’s the point?’ It’s a sad truth that suicide is a leading cause of death for young adults aged 20 to 34. You may or may not have heard of the band REM. If you have and you know their songs you’ll appreciate their lyrics aren’t easy to follow, except for one song written clearly and simply. It’s the song ‘Everybody Hurts’ which encourages those in despair to hold on. This is how the song begins. “When your day is long, and the night, the night is yours alone. When you’re sure you’ve had enough of this life, well hang on. Don’t let yourself go ’cause everybody cries. Everybody hurts sometimes.” It’s a song that’s had a powerful impact and saved many lives, and REM deserve the gratitude of so many.
What REM sing about is true, everybody hurts. Pain and suffering are sadly a part of the world we have made for ourselves, a long way from the world God intended. Holding on is the best we can hope for, desperately hoping that one day something better will turn up. It was Scarlett O’Hara in the movie Gone With The Wind who said, “After all, tomorrow is another day.” This is not the Christian way of coping. Christians look to the Bible, and in particular their Saviour Jesus, to discover how to cope with life in times of trial.
Missing from many lives is a sense of peace that helps people remain calm when trouble occurs, or when they look into what they see as a hopeless future. To those who follow Jesus he said, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (1) When praying Christians are told that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (2) Nothing I write can convince you of this truth but those who follow Jesus will testify to its truth. In the darkest hour, we can experience an inner peace that makes no sense, the peace of God.
We need security. We worry about day to day things like can I pay the mortgage and what will happen to my family if I’m ill and can’t work. We worry about bigger things like what can we do to stop climate change and what’s going to happen in the Middle East. We worry about our eternal future, is there life after death and if so, where will I end up? Jesus said of his followers, “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.” (3) That’s the kind of security we need, the assurance of eternal life and a constant secure position, safe in the hand of both Jesus and his Father God. It’s a security that brings with it another promise, “My God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” (4)
Many people find life meaningless. What’s the point? Nothing satisfies. The wise king Solomon made exactly that point. He wrote, “I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (5) That doesn’t have to be true if you’re a follower of Jesus. Jesus said of them, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (6) The difference Jesus makes is perhaps best summed up in the life of the apostle Paul who under Judaism had it all, a rising religious star who made it his mission to persecute Christians. He was as militant as the Taliban are today in Afghanistan, but then he met Jesus. He later wrote, “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.” (7)
Friend, if this life is hard for you right now you must hold on, but hold on to Jesus. Come to Him and find peace, security, life in its fullness and so much more.
- John 14:27
- Philippians 4:7
- John 10:28,29
- Philippians 4:19
- Ecclesiastes 1:14
- John 10:10
- Philippians 3:7