Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:11
“The human heart is an idol factory that takes good things like a successful career, love, material possessions, even family, and turns them into ultimate things. Our hearts deify them as the center of our lives, because, we think, they can give us significance and security, safety and fulfillment, if we attain them.”[i] – “There is a difference between sorrow and despair. Sorrow is pain for which there are sources of consolation. Sorrow comes from losing one good thing among others so that, if you experience a career reversal, you can find comfort in your family to get you through it. Despair, however, is inconsolable, because it comes from losing an ultimate thing. When you lose the ultimate source of your meaning or hope, there are no alternate sources to turn to. It breaks your spirit.”[ii]
I found these two quotes by Tim Keller very insightful. As I was researching information for this Victory Call, I found differing opinions about a much-quoted John Calvin statement “Man’s nature, so to speak, is a perpetual factory of idols.” I appreciated Keller’s practical insight about the longings of the human heart.
It begs the question, “What is the ultimate source of meaning and hope to me?” Is it my job? My family? My bank account? Is it my diet, my weight, my health?
Pondering this thought, anything that is our ultimate source or meaning other that God we will despair in life at some point because none of it, none of it is unchanging or certain. Jobs change, companies merge or go bankrupt, we are passed over for that promotion we expected, families grow, grow-up, grow apart, move away, bank accounts ebb and flow and take sudden hits with unexpected things like floods, hurricanes and tornados, our bodies age, slow down, and get sick. If our ultimate hope and security is in any of these things or many others, our hope is misplaced and insecure. That does not mean that these things are unimportant to us but they should not be our Ultimate source of joy, hope and meaning.
Only God is unchanging, steadfast, immovable, certain, secure, trustworthy, faithful, and true. Unless our Ultimate hope and meaning is in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, the sand beneath our feet is sure to shift and give way.
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. Psalm 62:5-7
[i] Timothy J. Keller in Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters, Penguin Books, 2009.
Diane Hunt serves part-time on the staff of America’s Keswick providing ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.