If My Hope Was in People…

So many things in this life are disillusioning.

Take coffee, for example. I’ve been drinking the magical bean juice since I was sixteen. I worked my way up from one cup a day to sometimes four. Rather than pouring half a container of creamer, I splashed a quick little dollop of half and half, just to turn the color from black to a slightly darker brown. When I started working at a coffee shop and was surrounded by powerful espresso and even more powerful white coffee, my caffeine consumption quickly rose from the cute little morning java to a full-blown addiction. (We’re talking Lorelei Gilmore status.)

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As the dawn of my mid-twenties has approached, I’ve discovered something quite devastating. While at one time I could drink an entire pot of coffee myself (I’m simultaneously proud and ashamed of this) and be able to function normally, I now can hardly drink one cup without my stomach turning to ruins. However, if I don’t drink at least one cup, my head and neck hurt so bad that by the time I get off work, I’m ready for bed. If I drink any amount of caffeine past noon, I won’t be able to fall asleep at night.

This may be the norm for some people. But all of this is coming from someone who could drink coffee all day long without feeling any effects, and it’s been quite devastating.

I also have no intentions to switch to tea, so there’s that.

You may be thinking I have a point. I do, but unfortunately it has nothing to do with coffee. I just needed to vent a little bit about how hurtful it’s been to have coffee turn on me this way, especially when I’ve been so faithful.

On a more serious note, I suppose that’s the disillusionment I was referring to earlier. While the coffee tragedy has been just that, there are many things in this life that come as devastating blows that leave us much more disappointed than giving up our caffeine consumption.

During the time when the Ravi Zacharias allegations were surfacing, I read a post by Phylicia Masonheimer (an influencer I greatly admire) regarding the claims being made against the Bible teacher. I ended up reposting pieces of the article she wrote, which led to some powerful discussions between myself and several friends regarding placing people on pedestals (especially those within the church).

One friend and I discussed how disillusioned we both became after working in a church for several years. We both admitted how shocked we were after getting more than a glimpse of what happens behind the scenes and how things are run.  It seemed ministry turned into a business Monday through Friday, and then a show Sunday morning.

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Church is supposed to be a safe place. Unfortunately, for many of us, it’s become a building whose walls have crumbled as we’ve tried to lay a foundation. Late this summer, I remember telling someone how I’m so tired of watching leaders fall. It seems that every week, there’s someone new being accused of some kind of misconduct or spiritual abuse.

These are not just members of the church, but leaders being accused of these allegations. It’s both disillusioning and disheartening.

And sometimes we never get a break from people disappointing us.

In my field of work, I see it happen far more than I would like. I’ve watched patients backslide after years of being sober. Parents who continue to use no matter how much we, social workers—and even their own children—urge them to get clean. Earlier this week, my boss and I were mulling over the issues the CPS system faces and it feels like one of the seven fails of the modern world. (Are we child protection services or parent protection services?)  

Disillusionment is everywhere. And the more life I live, the more it seems to envelope me. Things and people are just not what they seem.

Following that conversation with my boss, I walked back to my office feeling disappointed but reminding myself of the all-important, lifesaving truth:

 I’m so thankful my hope is not in people.

If my hope was in people, I don’t think I would be able to survive another moment on this Earth. I’ve seen too many inconsistencies to put my trust in man.

If my hope was in people, what good would it be to hope?

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When everything feels like it’s falling to pieces around me, I dig deeper into God’s Word to remind myself Who He really is. He is the one who never fails, never changes, never gives up, never disappoints. He is slow to anger and abounding in love. I’m reassured how He is also quick to forgive and ready to comfort.

Last night in Romans, I was reading the third chapter and discovered how He not only pardons our sins, but also invites us back to Him with open arms.

Your sins are forgiven; you have been pardoned! But don’t go…why don’t you stay? Not just a while, but forever?

When the King of the world is holding you, nothing—not even watching the people you esteem so dearly fall—can shake you.

Jesus saved me long ago, but knowing Him is what saves me from falling into pits of despair and hopelessness as the world just continues to deteriorate.

And suddenly, my world and all its problems seem so small.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations… (Deuteronomy 7:9)

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