The Age of Melancholy

Psychologist Daniel Goleman says that we live in the Age of Melancholy. Here is how he describes it:

“Each successive generation worldwide since the opening of the century has lived with a higher risk than their parents of suffering a major depression—not just sadness, but a paralyzing listlessness, dejection, and self-pity, and an overwhelming hopelessness—over the course of life. And those episodes are beginning at earlier and earlier ages. Childhood depression, once virtually unknown (or, at least, unrecognized) is emerging as a fixture of the modern scene.”

That’s pretty bleak. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. And cynical. And despairing. And hopeless.

But God is a God of HOPE. Want proof? In Romans 15:13 Paul writes: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

But here’s the plain truth: You can’t be a person of hope if you don’t know what yours is.

So what is your hope?

On Sunday morning at the church I pastor, I’ll describe the Bible’s powerful and hope-filled vision of how our world and lives will turn out in the end: Death gets defeated; hate staggers and falls; life wins; love muscles out on top; pain and suffering will vanish; evil and darkness are judged; faithfulness in Christ is rewarded; and God restores things to how they were originally intending to be by bringing about “a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:13).

Are you rooted in this kind of Big Hope? Or in something less? Maybe you just haven’t thought about it. If not, I think you should. The prevailing cynicism of our times is always looking for another victim.

Don’t be overcome by the Age of Melancholy. Instead, triumph in the God of hope.

But you can’t be a person of hope if you don’t know what yours is.

By Matthew Ruttan

–“Up!” is published 5 days a week (Monday to Friday) and returns on June 3.
–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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