Sadness and sorrow are life’s great equalizers. They affect us all, in varying degrees.

Sometimes entire countries suffer. In 1994 we were horrified by the massive sorrow in Rwanda and Bosnia. And we are all touched by smaller-scale tragedies: accidents, illnesses, family breakups, financial woes. Regardless of our own optimistic tendencies, sorrow visits all of us.

But there’s another side to this. No matter how tragic our lives may be, no matter if we are given to depression and despair rather than happiness and joy, we are never left hopeless.

That’s because life is not a string of accidental circumstances. Life has a spiritual dimension that can always be buoyed by God’s love, mercy, and grace.

Look, for example, at Lamentations 3. Drenched as this passage is in the misery of the people of Jerusalem, there is hope. Amid the details of wholesale slaughter and devastation as the city was overrun, the author inserted mankind’s best hope for a reason to go on: God’s great love. To counter the affliction and sadness, the writer spoke of God’s compassion, His faithfulness, His goodness, and His salvation (vv.22-26).

It’s remarkable! No matter what we might be suffering, we can be sure that God will never leave us hopeless.