Some of the leading universal causes of stress are related to health, finances and work. In English, there is an expression “trying to keep your head above water”, which aptly describes the struggle of many to make it in life. How would you feel if you were on the Titanic, knowing what the outcome would be? People often try to find formulas for success or security in government, religion, or self-help programs. But hope has to reach beyond the vicissitudes of life for it to have meaning. It has to be founded on truth.
Ukraine is nearing parliamentary elections, so political billboards are everywhere. One candidate promises stability and prosperity, which speaks to a common need. Another slogan says: “One law for all”, which speaks to the need for justice in a nation where corruption is rampant. However, Russia and Ukraine did not make the list of “Forbes” most corrupt nations. That is reassuring. One candidate is shown slamming his fist in anger with a lightning bolt behind him. I am not sure what he is promising, but it does not look appealing.
Karl Marx, the father of communism, called religion “the opium of the masses, the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand.” But we all know where his philosophy led. This part of the world is still overcoming the repercussions of his philosophy.
When it comes to placing hope in religion, there are enough religions out there to fill the “Yellow Pages”. God, the One who created us, gives us truth on which we can base our lives, bringing hope for this life as well as for eternity.
Here are a few thoughts contrasting the “head above water” mentality and “life on the Rock” (founded on truth):
Trying to keep your head above water:
1. makes you exhausted.
2. is self-centered. How can you help others when you need all of your energy to survive?
3. will only work for awhile, until you are rescued or drown (assuming there is no tropical island within swimming distance). That’s where people think they are going when they are lured into seductive lifestyles that end up empty and hopeless. Nothing but sand.
Life on the Rock:
1. You can rest on the finished work of Christ, which is how you get on the Rock in the first place.
2. You can help others, because you have answers outside of yourself that are for everyone.
3. You do not have to depend on your own strength, but have the wisdom and strength from God to do what is right.
4. Your hope will not be disappointed, because God has the power to back up His promises.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27)