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The Everlasting Hope

The Everlasting Hope. Photo: Glorious Rays of Light by Art4TheGlryOfGod CC BY-ND 2.0

By Shawna Barnard

 

I was elated when my psychologist told me I was ready to graduate. The pronouncement meant that I could return to life without the regular intervention of therapy. I was equipped with skills from my psychologist and medication from my psychiatrist. After much effort my proficiency in dealing with my problems had finally met sufficient parameters.

This was good news, indeed.

They told me a combination of medicine and therapy usually produces the greatest results. Even though the medicine made it harder to concentrate, I was glad to have it and it seemed to be helping. My psychiatrist and psychologist thought the medication was working.

This was music to my ears.

I regularly employed the breathing techniques I learned. It was the first thing I did in the morning and the last thing I did at night. I even used them throughout the day, and I practiced the other techniques as needed. My psychologist thought this was a success.

So did I!

The hope I had was great. My future was bright. I could handle any problem I might face. I returned to the world armed with medicine, breathing techniques, and other skills. I was restored, confident, and full of potential.

But I was duped.

Yes, the breathing techniques provided temporary relief, the regular intervention of therapy superficially soothed me, and the medications may have helped in some way. Yes, I could have lived the rest of my life with that kind of hope…with that kind of understanding of how to successfully handle my problems, and it may have helped me to achieve my life goals. But I was settling for superficial solutions in this life and in the one to come. I would have been soberly surprised upon meeting my Maker.

I needed to be faced with the series of questions that would lead to the ultimate questions of life. As an unbeliever I needed to be faced with the fact that the wrath of God was against me (Rom 1:18). I was a sinner in need of a Savior, and apart from Christ I would rightly be declared guilty. I needed to be faced with the fact that my life goals were utterly against God. I needed to hear that I had a completely wrong way of thinking and desiring. I was created to worship God, and I was worshipping everything but God (Jer 2:13; Rom 1:21 [1]).

The problems within me and around me were only well-managed at best. They were not solved. The depth of my hope was tied to the success of those solutions and how well I could manage them. They were deceptive because the better I was at managing them, the more deceived I would become (Rom 2:5 [2]). These serpentine solutions actually pointed me away from the real solution to my real problem. I was duped because I was believing in a limited hope when I needed The Everlasting Hope.

As biblical counselors we have something better than the best of what the world has to offer. It’s better than the most dedicated determination, the most fancy philosophies, and the most superior science (Rom 11:33; 1 Cor 1:20 [3])[4].

As biblical counselors we have something that reaches the deepest depths, comforts the greatest sorrows, and imparts the highest hope (John 4:13-14). We have the news that can release sinners from the doom of being duped by the limited hope of what the world offers. What we have makes a real, eternal difference in every nanosecond of life.

What do we have? We have Jesus. We have the precious, good news–the gospel.

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[1]“…having forsaken the truth of God, they turned to the vanity of their own reason, all the acuteness of which is fading and passes away like vapor. And thus their foolish mind, being involved in darkness, could understand nothing aright but was carried away headlong, in various way, into errors and delusions” (Calvin, Calvin’s Commentary on the Bible, Romans 1).

[2] “The ungodly not only accumulate for themselves daily a heavier weight of God’s judgements, as long as they live here, but that the gifts of God also, which they continually enjoy, shall increase their condemnation” (Calvin, Calvin’s Commentary, Romans 2).

[3]“Human wisdom always proves to be unreliable and impermanent (cf. v. 17; Prov 14:12; Is 29:14; Jer 8:9; Rom 1:18-23)” (John Macarthur, The Macarthur Bible Commentary, 1 Corinthians).

[4] “Biblical counselors reject the notion that medical interventions alone solve spiritual problems (emphasis added). They embrace the use of medicine for cure and symptom relief, but deny that medical care is sufficient for spiritual problems, which require Christ for lasting change (emphasis added)” (Association of Certified Biblical Counselors; Statement Regarding Mental Disorders, Medicine, and Counseling; Statement #4).