I first noticed it when an up-and-coming executive was caught embezzling money. He knew the system. He didn’t need the money; he didn’t even care about money. And he knew he would get caught. His embezzling had nothing to do with stealing and greed. Instead, he was moving quickly toward dizzying heights of success; hope was rising too—and he had to kill it. In the confusing world of fallen humanity, everything can be turned upside down and backwards. In his case, hope was a threat that had to be eliminated.
It happens more than you think. There are many hope saboteurs out there.
- Do you get uncomfortable or even panic when your circumstances improve?
- Have your hopes been dashed and you are committed to not having that happen again?
- Do you believe that somehow you are unworthy of “success”?
- Do you predict doom and gloom and then help it on its way in order to prove your prophecy true?
- Have others assured you that you are a failure and, rather than try to prove them wrong, you assume they are right?
Beginner hope saboteurs are like Eeyore—pessimists. They forecast the worst. The pessimist says, “There are enough ups and downs in life, so let’s assume the worst—prepare for the worst—then the worst might not feel quite so bad.”
Those who live with depression are the more advanced pessimists. Just try to speak words of encouragement to some depressed people and you will discover that they seem to become more depressed!
Here is one rule that hope saboteurs live by: success creates higher expectations, so undermine any gains before anyone notices. Some aren’t satisfied until they have hit a new bottom. There, they feel comfortable, safe, and at home.
Odd, yes. But this makes complete sense in a godless world. Apart from God, things will indeed get worse. Why postpone the inevitable? Why pretend that all will be well? Ecclesiastes explores such a world and its natural conclusions.
But if we have come to know Jesus Christ, who died and is now the resurrected, living King, then hope-killers, along with their Eeyore brethren, are blind. Even in the midst of suffering, victimization, and our own sin, the King will accomplish good and his reign of peace will be eternal.
So, a follower of Christ is a person who has hope. That, of course, takes a lot of explaining. After all…I might die today….the church that I attend might be gone in a year…I could lose my job. Uh oh, my inner Eeyore is coming out. But the church at large will grow in breadth and depth, Christ and his followers will be vindicated, and we will see the lover of our souls face-to-face.
We are people of hope, and this hope cannot be sabotaged. We must proclaim it well to a world that is almost persuaded that hope is a fantasy.