April 14, 2020

Viktor Frankl was an Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist who survived four different Nazi concentration camps. This was a true miracle.

In response to the horrors he saw and personally experienced, Frankl wrote the bestselling book Man’s Search for Meaning. I read his book twenty-eight years ago. It had a profound impact on my understanding of suffering and human choice.

While I am having to recount this from memory after almost three decades, there was one of Frankl’s observations that has always stuck with me. It has been on my mind a lot as the world deals with the different impacts and changes brought about by the coronavirus.

When in the different concentration camps, Frankl was able to tell when a person was about to give up and die. It was the moment they smoked their carefully rationed cigarette all the way down. If they didn’t take a few puffs and then immediately put it out for a future smoke, that meant they had no more hope. They died quickly after their last smoke.

Frankl said: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

These are very timely words, as many of us struggle with the ramifications of shelter-in-place orders, mass unemployment, financial concerns, and fears of loved ones getting sick. There are a lot of unknowns out there and a lot of fear.

But for those who put their trust in our God, the future is already secure. It is what gives us hope, even in the darkest of times.

This is what Solomon meant by saying: “Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18)

For some of you, life is very hard. Don’t smoke your metaphorical cigarette all the way down. Don’t give up your hope. God has a future in store for you. All God asks is that you trust.

Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, in these times of uncertainty, help me keep my hope. Remind me that it’s my choice and you will help me along the way. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

If you are stuck at home and looking for something to do, I highly recommend you read, Man’s Search for Meaning. It will be worth your time.

I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.
Tom Robbins