Bible Reading: Romans 3:1-26

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, there has been a 31% increase in hospital admissions for suicide ideation and self-harm amongst adolescents (0-17 years) due to the side-effects of lockdown and the coronavirus pandemic this year. Most likely, we have felt the brunt of poor mental health creeping in at our door, and if we have not, it is not hard to tell just how much our generation has debilitated mentally as a result of this pandemic. 

When we ask why, we need to ask, what keeps us going? The general answer that is not specific to our generation alone is hope. As long as our lives are aligned with our hopes and dreams, we can cope. But, when our hopes and dreams are taken away, and we become hopeless, our lives and mental health start to crumble. 

Then, the question is, what gives us hope? And what has the pandemic taken away from us? It’s not a hard question to answer. On one side, we hope to meet up with our friends and enjoy a secure and comfortable social life. On the other hand, we long for certainty in the future and things to look forward to. Because of the pandemic, our hopes have been crushed and replaced with gloomy isolation. 

We hoped to be satisfied with the ability to meet our friends, to go out and enjoy the world, to secure a better future for ourselves by working or studying. Yet, these things are currently non-existent. The world seems to be able to take away our hopes at any moment. I think now is an excellent time to reflect — are these things actually worthy and reliable to hope in? 

The hopelessness which has seemingly risen around us is actually nothing new. This is because the reality of humankind is hopeless. Because of the curse of sin and our rebellion against God, we are hopeless and have lost our sense of meaning. Moreover, our consciences witness the guilt we must bear for our sins and the divine judgement that is to come. 

To hide from this reality, many will simply say God is not real. Yet, when they do, they also have to delude themselves into believing that some earthly thing can give them hope. Hiding behind false hopes does nothing. All our worldly hopes can crumble at any moment, as the pandemic has shown us. The one and only true hope is found in Christ. 

Our real problem, which leaves us hopeless, is our sin against God. Sin is more than just lying or murdering. Sin is our heart’s attitude and desire to rebel against God’s ways and live life the way we want. We were created to serve and enjoy God. When we decided to serve ourselves, we ultimately lost the ‘enjoy’ part. 

Little do we know the reality of our sin and the reality of God’s holiness. The only one who can restore us is Christ. On the cross, He died for sins, and He offers a new life of holiness and hope in returning to Him and living for Him. 

In these times, it is our responsibility to herald the true message of hope. Let us pray for a burden to use these moments wisely for God’s kingdom. 

Lord, You are our only source of true hope. In You, there is life and reality. Please teach us to walk with You in faith day to day. Give us also a burden and awareness for the expansion of Your Kingdom in these times. Many need the truth of Your gospel. Give us the burden to spread it to them. In Jesus’ name, amen.