Helpless and Hopeless

Helpless – Can’t Buy, Beg, Or Borrow A Cup Of Coffee!

I forgot that Ed, my old neighbor in Saskatchewan, has no stomach for belly-achers and whiners. When I phoned him yesterday, I launched into my story of a disastrous start to my day. Upon rising, I had gone to the kitchen for my wake-up cup of coffee, but before I could put my cup in the coffee maker, the hydro went out. The Keurig was dead as a corpse. So was the toaster.

After cold cereal, things went from bad to worse. There was no internet, so that I couldn’t check my emails. Our part of the city was powerless. Stoplights flashed neither stop nor go. There was no point in shopping as the stores close while the power is off. I could not watch television or listen to the radio, so it was talking to the wife or nothing. Before I could continue my story of woe, Ed said in impatience, “Get to the point of this, Ray, or I’m going to hang-up.”

“The point of the story is that I was helpless this morning as I couldn’t buy, beg, or borrow a cup of coffee. More than that, I was hopeless because the power might be back on quickly or off all day,” I told Ed. Then I asked him accusingly, “Where is your compassion, man? How would you like to miss your first cup of morning coffee?”

“I wouldn’t be belly-aching about it three provinces away, I ‘d put it on the national news,” Ed said with sarcasm. So, I asked him what was new with him, and he said, “Just the same-old pain in my neck.” Of course, I told him that he should get a new pillow.

Even Ed would agree that when the coffee maker, toaster, stove, and all our appliances are working, we forget that we are lost when they don’t work. We do not like to be helpless. When we feel powerless, hopelessness may get a hold on us. Hopelessness is hard to cure because it’s an attitude that holds us captive to the feeling there is no way out. Hopeless thoughts suggest that we are doomed to our present state of affairs. Hopeless thoughts focus on our power and ability to make things better.

The pandemic has left many feeling depressed. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting dimmer rather than brighter. Will we ever get past this virus? Will we ever get everyone vaccinated? How do you keep from despair when you’re poor, facing physical handicaps, chronic pain? From where do we get a hopeful attitude when there is no hope that things will ever get any better?

In the Bible, we see that hope comes from allowing God to help us through His Son Jesus Christ. In Luke 7:11-17, we are told that Jesus arrived at the village of Nain during the burial ceremony of the only son of a widow. The young man was dead and on his way to his grave. His mother, as a widow, was left in desperation, but Jesus’ heart was full of compassion, and he raised her son from death. The widow’s despair or hopelessness was broken. She knew firsthand that all things are possible with God.

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Raymond Maher
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