IN many parts of the world today, conditions still seem hopeless. Although repressive governments are becoming somewhat less monolithic, there are still areas where freedom is desperately needed. If this seemingly endless struggle were all we could expect, we could perhaps justify the depression and hopelessness that we sometimes feel. Christ Jesus' ministry, however, shows clearly that there is something beyond this finite view of life--that there is hope even in the midst of darkness.
Take Jesus' own example. After the crucifixion, his followers felt the situation was hopeless. Many of them were frightened for their own lives. His resurrection from the grave changed all that. And when the disciples perceived anew the power of Jesus' teachings, they preached fearlessly despite the danger. In short, they had gone beyond a merely human concept of hoping, to the kind of hope that comes from confidence in God.
They were galvanized by the need to share this good news with all. The basis of their ministry was the fact that man is truly spiritual. He is not, and never was, a mortal who could somehow be separated from God or who is the helpless victim of material conditions. We are, in reality, the ideas of God, divine Mind, or Love. This means that each of us has direct access to Love. And it also means that we can never be deprived of Love. The result is that we are never truly alone before a hopeless situ ation. We always have the presence of God with us.
This presence is Christ, the true idea of Love, and it is what Christ Jesus worked so hard to leave to the world. One significant example of Jesus' attitude when confronting seemingly hopeless conditions is the time when he raised Lazarus to life after he had been dead for four days. The mourners certainly felt hopeless; Lazarus's sisters were more trusting in Jesus, although they were not without doubts. I have often pondered the difference in perspective between Jesus and these other people. The Ma ster, perceiving the spiritual nature of things, was confident of the power of God. The others seemed to think that the best Jesus could do was comfort the sisters in their loss. He did comfort them, but not in the expected way.
After asking for the stone that sealed Lazarus's grave to be removed, Jesus turned to God and said: "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. Then he simply cried, John's Gospel tells us, "Lazarus, come forth. And a seemingly hopeless condition was completely turned around.
It is so clear from Jesus' life that the understanding of God as divine, ever-present Love was the answer to any hopeless situation. His certainty that God loves all His children and has no desire for them to suffer informed every step he took. And he taught this to his followers as well.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, emphasizes the importance of understanding God in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She declares, "To understand God strengthens hope, enthrones faith in Truth, and verifies Jesus' word: 'Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.'
Sometimes, when things seem hopeless in my own life, I think of the many times Jesus and his disciples were confronted by situations that were worse than anything I could have imagined. This not only gives me perspective; it also gives me hope. And in each case, I have also found these teachings bring healing solutions to my life. Trust in God does give us hope; and, like Jesus' other followers, we can expect it to save us.