How sad and faithless it is when we rule an individual as HOPELESS. Most of the time, we make such judgments out of desperation. Sometimes it’s a matter of circumstances under no one’s control. Other times, it’s a result of an individual’s choices. Often, it’s a combination of both. Unfortunately, too many of us are quick to wash our hands of the need to help those in serious crisis, feeling the hopelessness of their complicated circumstances.
Again, I say that we are too quick to think or say that someone is hopeless. Jesus never has, never does! He specializes in situations that seem hopeless. He loves to do the impossible. He is especially good at targeting otherwise hopeless situations.
One of my cherished memories from the last couple of years is worshipping God on a Sunday morning with our Colombian brothers and sisters in Medellín. During the morning service, a woman was walking by on the sidewalk and heard the singing. She stopped to listen. One of the members of the church noticed her and invited her to talk. She told the Christians who talked with her that she was on her way to commit suicide, but the sound of praise touched her in an unfamiliar way. A hopeless person was introduced to hope that Sunday morning.
The truth of the matter is that the least unlikely candidate is the best choice for Jesus. Can you think of anyone in that category? Of course, you can. The thief on the cross, right? He was HOPELESS as anyone will ever be. Yet at the end, which came in short order, he walked into eternal life and the glory of God. And that by a simple prayer. ” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:42–43). From hopelessness to a bright and beautiful eternal life.
Or we could think about Saul of Tarsus, aka, the apostle Paul. He was the least likely candidate to become a follower of Jesus because of his hatred toward Christians. Educated, sophisticated, religious, influential, etc., etc., he surely was an unlikely man to become a great spokesman for Jesus. But in this case, as in all others, the least likely candidate to follow Jesus is the best candidate in the end because Jesus leaves the door to hope open until the very end.
Paul actually described himself as “the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.”
By God’s grace, the most unlikely person to become a Christian is the best choice to be forgiven and transformed by Jesus. History is full of such surprises because God’s grace leads the darkest heart to the light of the Gospel. So don’t lose hope. Don’t give up praying for those whose hearts are as hard as stones. Keep asking God to change people and situations that seem hopeless. We worship and serve the God for whom nothing is impossible.
Filled with hope,