You Are Not Hopeless Enough

And neither am I.

Bob Kauflin, Director of Worship Development for Sovereign Grace Ministries and one of the pastors at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, blogs about his battle with hopelessness and the truth with which God changed in his life.

Back in the mid-90’s I went through a significant battle with hopelessness. I would wake every morning with this thought: “Your life is completely hopeless.” My day went downhill from there. For about three years I experienced frequent panic attacks, itching and numbness, shortness of breath, and a hollow feeling in my chest.

There were a number of contributing factors, but a major root was the fear of man. I “feared” that others wouldn’t share the same high opinion I had of myself. I “feared” they would reject me, or think of me unfavorably. Those thoughts, repeated hundreds of times every day, led to bouts with anxiety, depression, and hopelessness.

One morning I was confessing to a pastor and good friend from another Sovereign Grace church that I felt hopeless all the time. He looked at me with compassionate boldness and said, “I don’t think you’re hopeless enough.” At first I thought he was kidding; but then I realized he was completely serious. He went on. “If you were completely hopeless, you’d stop trusting in what you think you can do to change the situation, and starting trusting in what Jesus Christ has already done for you at the cross.

A light went on. I realized that I hadn’t been embracing the fact that apart from Jesus, I truly do have no hope (Eph. 2:12). For months following that conversation, every time I would start to feel anxiety or hopelessness, i would say to myself, “I am a hopeless person. But Jesus Christ died for hopeless people.” I began to see that my inability to live in the good of the Gospel was rooted in my desire to find hope in something I had done rather than in what my Savior had done. I wanted some kind of credit, some kind of recognition, some kind of acknowledgment that God knew what he was doing when he chose me to be his son.

Fortunately, the Gospel brings better news than that. My acceptance before God isn’t rooted in anything I’ve done or ever will do.

This is a feeling we all can certainly relate to, but especially those of us bent toward legalism (which, in one way or another, all of us are). Jesus Christ is once and forever my standing before God and not myself or my works. If you trust Him, know that He is rock-solid, freeing, and grace-filled. Meditate on Him the next time you read the Bible, spend time with God in prayer, or feel tempted to look at yourself for your assurance, forgiveness, or satisfaction.

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About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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