I hope you experience despair. I hope you come to a place where you no longer can find any meaningful happiness in yourself or the things around you. I hope that when you drink, you will find that even alcohol cannot numb away your nagging feeling of emptiness and despair which lingers in your soul. I hope the unending sexual encounters you pursue would all leave you with nothing but more cravings and less peace. I pray that even your own family, as much as you love and care for them, will no longer bring meaning to your life. I hope you lose all hope in yourself and everything else in this world. I hope you come to the conclusion of King Solomon:
All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. And who knows whether that person will be wise or foolish? Yet they will have control over all the fruit of my toil into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless. So my heart began to despair over all my toilsome labor under the sun. For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune. What do people get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is grief and pain; even at night their minds do not rest. This too is meaningless. (Ecclesiastes 2:17-23).
Why would I hope for such a thing? How could I possibly desire that you experience despair and hopelessness? Do I hate you? No. I say this not out of hatred, but love.
I hope all these things for you, not because I want your life to be marked by sorrow, sadness, and dissatisfaction. No, I say this because I want the opposite for your life. I hope you (and I) come to despair in all that you are and all that you have so you then may finally turn away from trusting in yourself, your stuff, or anything else in this world and turn to the Only God of All. I say this in hopes that you would turn from empty idolatry, that you would turn away from living your life for Creation, and finally turn to your Creator. I say this because I want you to stop running after God’s stuff and chase God Himself. As the song calls…
Rise from your knees, stop worshiping
The splinters of broken gods, turn and see your King
There is one God over all kings and rulers
And he reigns alone
Timothy Keller sums it up well…
The way forward, out of despair, is to discern the idols of our hearts and our culture. But that will not be enough. The only way to free ourselves from the destructive influence of counterfeit gods is to turn back to the true one. The living God, who revealed Himself both at Sinai and on the Cross, is the only Lord who, if you find Him, can truly fulfill you, and, if you fail him, can truly forgive you.
Although God’s creation is very good (Genesis 1:31) and should be accepted with thanksgiving (1 Timothy 4:4), it should never be looked to for complete contentment. Satisfaction is sold separately from creation and can only be known in relationship with the Creator.
Unfortunately, none of us will ever come to see this truth until we see the bankruptcy of the idols we chase. We will never know true hope unless we come to it from the depths of true despair. We will never cherish the living God until we know the pitiful emptiness of our beloved idols.
Or you could say it this way…