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Sometimes we can lose hope. Circumstances cloud our vision and block out reasons to keep going in life. A change at work results in you’re being let go or bypassed. A decision by a loved one hurts you deeply. A tragedy strikes that throws your entire world into disorientation. Sadly, some who lose hope never recover. Some take their own lives. Some sink into a deep depression. Some give up and become a shell of themselves. When we or someone we know loses hope, what can we do?

There are several possibilities. If the situation is desperate we need to call for immediate help. Use a distress line like 780 482 4357 (HELP). If it’s not so desperate but there’s ongoing hopelessness, we need to talk to others to gain perspective. We need to see a bigger picture than the one we currently see. Talking to family, friends or professionals for their perspective can help. They can help us see hope-filled possibilities. Or we may need to do something active or make other healthy choices.

But there’s another possibility I’d invite you to consider. I was recently reading the account of a 2 sisters who had one brother. They were a very close family. But one day their brother got ill. He was so sick they knew that his life was under threat. They consulted doctors and sent out a call to their brother’s dear friend to come quickly.

But it was too late. Their brother died. So they buried him and their dear friend arrived 4 days later. This dear friend was called Jesus of Nazareth. When one of the sisters heard about Jesus’ arrival, she went out to meet Him on the road as he entered their town. She asked a question that contains two crucial words when dealing with hopelessness. She said “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

One very wise writer noted something profound about her question. He wrote that “if” is the word that hurts and “Lord” is the word that heals. “If” can be a word that focuses on regrets. “If only this hadn’t have happened. If only the economy had not turned down. If only they hadn’t gotten into drugs. If only the other driver had paid more attention. If only my health hadn’t given out.” Each expresses real feelings and pain. It can be helpful to express our regrets and get them out on the table.

But staying at the “if” stage leaves us stuck and hopeless. The writer commented on the sister’s statement also wrote, “Lord is the word that heals.” This sister believed that Jesus of Nazareth could do something about her brother’s death. She seemed to know that somehow turning to the Lord would begin her healing journey.

Jesus was not someone who spoke inspiring words but never did anything inspiring. His life and actions backed up His Words. He showed that He was a Lord who loved and healed; looked out for the lonely and hopeless; did something about people’s terrible struggles and He was willing to die so others could have hope. As a Christian, I trust in the very solid evidence that He was resurrected and lives today. I believe He provides hope even beyond the grave. So that even in death, we have hope.

I invite you to consider the difference between focusing on “if” or “Lord” in times of hopelessness. I pray that you might discover the great hope that can be found in the Lord.