Gloom, despair, and agony on me. Deep Dark depression, excessive misery. If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair and agony on me.
For most of us born in the 1960s and 70s, we probably associate this line of text with a skit performed on the popular show Hee-Haw. The words were sung in unison by four tired and depressed overall dressed men who, between each chorus, would tell a joke explaining the cause of their depressive and hurtful states. While a joke can lighten up a such moment, real pain and misery are not funny. Although with good intention, others often say to us, “What you need to do is”, or Cheer up, it could be worse” and of course my personal favorite, “God only gives you what he knows you can handle.” While such insightful phrases might serve some partial truth, physical and emotional pain unique to ourselves is very difficult at times to experience and let go of. We all are capable of trying to ignore pain, hoping it will go away. We can also be strong enough to challenge the issues related to pain and seek ways of working with it all together.
While there are various reasons we hold onto pain, there is probably not a more capable feeling that clings to pain than misery. Whether emotional or physical pain, not much is going to change until we choose to adopt a different attitude and allow ourselves the privilege of throwing misery out the door. In doing so, our pains in life can gradually become easier to accept and embrace. What could possibly be a driving force behind such a change? Hope. Considered both a feeling of trust and an expectancy or longing, hope is where we turn for understanding and answers. Hope reinforces our change in attitude. In the midst of pain and suffering, hope allows us to develop belief, trust and patience for the possible. During the time of New Testament writings found in the Bible, the Apostle Paul wrote a passage that puts into perspective just such hope. Although Paul is speaking of having hope in the context of redemption, his words about hope ring true even during many other types of pain encountered during life.
“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. We ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? If we hope for what we do not have, we wait for it patiently.”
We are part of creation. Creation groans inwardly; therefore, we groan inwardly. Just as God has provided the first fruits of our life, so will he provide the rest of what is needed. At times, feelings of bitterness, frustration and disappointment so easily accompany our pain and misery, keeping us from having the kind of hope that moves us forward. When we choose to have the kind of hope and patience Paul speaks of, God begins to reveal what is evident. As a result, we become more willing and readily available to accept the greater possibilities of dealing with painful moments in our lives.
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by the endurance and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Romans 15:4
© Andy L. Westbrook, Westbrook Publishing, Ink., 2010