If you are like me, there have been times in your life when you have felt HOPELESS.  I guess it can be described as a feeling of despair, like there is no joy in living, as if there is NOTHING to look forward to—neither today nor for the tomorrows to come.

What do YOU do when you feel HOPELESS?  I would imagine there are many different approaches a person could take in that situation.  Trying to identify and “fix” the CAUSE of the feeling (if that is even possible) would be one.  Getting together with friends, engaging in a hobby, throwing oneself into her/his work or studies would be others.  Meditation, exercise, prayer, journaling or confiding in a confidant are still additional approaches that have benefitted some.  Hopefully (pardon the pun) you have discovered effective strategies that can help you when you experience that feeling of HOPELESSNESS.  Thanks be to God that on so many occasions this gloomy cloud dissipates so that the sun can shine through again!

But what if that feeling of HOPELESSNESS endures?  What if the strategies and approaches fail?  What if HOPE remains elusive and cannot be found—ever?  Then what??

Unfortunately, the options at this point for someone who is feeling hopeless may seem to be very limited.  Some have chosen to begin a conversation with their medical, spiritual and/or mental healthcare providers in order to identify if there may be some physiological, psycho-social or spiritual factors that may be causing that feeling.  Chemical imbalances, underlying physical pathology, broken relationships or unresolved guilt or spiritual issues may each contribute in their own way. 

Once again, the phrase “Thanks be to God!” can be uttered by those who have benefitted from prescribed medication, therapies, counseling or “good ol’ fashioned” Confession & Absolution.  One can see the Hand of the Lord blessing countless lives through the knowledge, skill and therapeutics give to us and our society through the Healing Arts, and ultimately His Grace which touches lives through them all.

As a society, and more specifically as a community, however, we are too often jolted, grieved and left in disbelief when we learn of one of our own who has been so overcome by the condition of HOPELESSNESS that the only perceived option open to her/him is to bring an end to their life rather than continue living in this gloomy cloud.

Words cannot express the tragic nature of such a situation.  To anyone and everyone who has been touched in any way by the suicide of another, please know that there are those who care and who desperately want to help.  Prayers are offered, awareness is raised, support is lent.  But these may seem grossly inadequate or frankly “too little, too late” at such times.

There is obviously no simple solution to life’s very complex and messy challenges.  In spite of the most painstaking efforts, set-backs, disappointments and crushing losses still occur.  But I pray that we do not give up or lose heart—or should I say, lose HOPE.  By God’s grace we can make a difference and bring hope as we work together, love one another and seek the mercy and guidance of God, the Holy Spirit.  Let us continue to keep our eyes and our ears open and our minds ever vigilant to be aware of the signs of hopelessness in our own lives and the lives of those around us.  Let us be courageous enough to err on the side of caring rather than assuming “everything is just fine.”  The Lord just may be using you to bring HOPE.

Rev. Joel C. Kaiser
St. Lorenz Lutheran Church & School
CrossRoads Counseling Ministries Board of Directors
(989) 652-0761

For more information you can call Crossroads Counseling at 989-652-0764 or further explore our website. 

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