Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: The sin of despair. Only Christ can change the way you look at tomorrow.


Why should I be excited about tomorrow? That is a question that every person thinks about from time to time. Why should I be excited about tomorrow? “Because it’s good for you,” we are told. “It’s healthy.” And it’s true, that having a positive outlook on life is healthier than having a negative outlook on life. And so I’ll be excited about tomorrow, I’ll be hopeful about tomorrow, because it’s good for me.

That’s easy to do when things are going well. But what happens when things aren’t going well? Let me make up a situation for a moment… What if you were the worker at NASA – hired just a few years ago. The space shuttle crashes. And after the investigation is over, they determine that you are to blame. You are responsible. Maybe you are a mechanic, and you didn’t fix something right. Or maybe you work at a desk, and didn’t file something right. Whatever happened – you are responsible. It’s all your fault that those people died.

Now what do you do? Can you still be excited about tomorrow? Are you going to wake up and have a positive outlook on life because it’s healthy? It doesn’t work in that situation. Where do you go, then, when you know that you’re the reason the whole nation is flying the flag at half-mast, and everyone is going to know that you are the reason all these bad things happened?

Thankfully, the situation is made up. But if this were you, what would you do? Where would you go for comfort and strength? A Christian is someone who knows where to go. No matter what you’re situation, no matter how desperate or hopeless life seems to be, there is a place you can go, and there you find what you need when life has tossed you into the depths. Today we’re going to talk about that place, and we’re going to talk about those depths, as we see how Jesus Christ changes the way you look at tomorrow.

Perhaps there is no better example of someone in a desperate situation than Job. Job was a man who had lost everything. At one time he was rich, but then he lost all of his wealth. At one time he had 10 children, but then all of them died in an accident. At one time he was healthy, but now he was covered with sores and was slowly dying. At one time he was respected, but now he had lost his honor – everyone was talking about him. And so, as Job thought about tomorrow, he fell into the sin of despair. What exactly is despair? Listen to Job. Verse 3, “I have been allotted months of futility.” In other words, my whole life has been one big waste of time. Verse 4: “When I lay down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’ The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.” Job couldn’t sleep. Physically, he was suffering too much. Psychologically, he was too depressed to sleep. Verse 6: “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to and end without hope.” Job felt no hope as he thought about the future. Verse 7 is the most striking: “Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath; me eyes will never see happiness again.” Perhaps that is the best picture of despair: I will never see happiness again.

Job was at a point in his life when he hated to think about tomorrow. There was nothing good about the future. I will never see happiness again. Job had fallen into the sin of despair. He felt like he had nowhere to go.

What could bring you to a point like this? Well, perhaps, like Job, you lose your entire fortune. You lose everything you own. Maybe, like Job, you lose a child – to bury your own son or daughter is a terrible thing. Maybe, like Job, you lose your health – you become incurably ill. Or maybe, like Job, you lose your honor, your reputation – you become the talk of the town, the laughingstock, because of something you said or did. Imagine if all these things happened to you at the same time. And you feel like you will never see happiness again. You have fallen into the sin of despair, and feel like you have nowhere to go.

Some commit suicide. You see this in the news from time to time – a depressed person kills other people, and then turns the gun on himself. It’s the sin of despair – to stop believing that God is in control, that God cares about your life.

We have all fallen into this sin of despair from time to time. Maybe not to the degree of Job, but we’ve all had our moments. Moments when we’ve thought: “God’s not in control.” “God doesn’t care!” We’ve all had moments when we have fallen into the sin of believing that God is somewhere else, far far away, that he doesn’t care, and we have nowhere to go.

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