WASHINGTON – Famed author Max Lucado has written so many books he finds it impossible to recall every title from memory. His latest, Unshakable Hope: Building Our Lives on the Promises of God is his fortieth and for this book, he says, it was clear he needed to write about hope.
"In this case, two things happened – one was just a sense of despair among people in our congregation, people placed in challenge after challenge, issue after issue generally with the saying, is this ever gonna stop?" he told CBN News.
"And then about the same time coming across the statistic that says that the numbers of suicides in the United States have increased 24-percent since 1999 and I was just stunned by that, you know, if a particular disease increased 24- percent we'd call it an epidemic."
For people looking for hope in their lives, Lucado says they needn't look further than the Bible.
He writes, "For every problem in life God has given us a promise. Make it your aim to get so acquainted with these promises that you can write yourself a prescription."
"There are over 7,000 promises in the Bible, 7,000! So I just picked my favorites and put them in the book. My idea is to whet our appetites to create our own lists of promises that we can turn to whenever times are difficult," Lucado said.
"And what promise can do? Promises can be that life preserver that's tossed to us when we're out in the water just giving us something to hold on to. Promises can be just that ray of sunlight in the clouds that says OK I know it's a stormy time but the promise of God is that he's with me forever, the promise of God is that the wages of sin is death but the promise of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord. And we begin to filter all of the challenges that we face through the promises of God," he continued.
Lucado also reminds readers that God is incapable of breaking his promises.
"Promises only have value if God is faithful, right? And every time in scripture when God speaks – what he says happens... He cannot lie, the Bible says."
As a pastor, Lucado says he tends to write about things he sees in his congregation and in society and he has an idea why suicide rates are increasing at alarming rates and why people so many people are feeling anxious.
The Problem with "Secular Society"
"My hunch on this is that we are seeing the fruit of a secular society. When we raise up a generation of people and tell them that all of life is just what they can see, what they can touch and what they can hear – in other words – there's no transcending power, there's no good God overseeing the affairs of mankind – you remove that from society – my feeling is that creates a discouraged society. If there's no hope beyond what I can create – no strength beyond what I can muster – no solution beyond what we can come up with we look around and say well this isn't very good. And I'd just soon get out of it then stay in it," he said.
"I do not want to simplify the whole issue of suicide – I know it's a very complex issue and I would never want to make it sound like there's a one-step solution, but you've got to think that a generation that does not believe in God – that is choosing to turn its back on God – you've got to think that we would soon bear the fruits of that and secularism sucks hope out of a society," he continued.
With God in his life, Lucado says he has the promise of heaven, the assurance that his sins will be forgiven and the power of the Holy Spirit living inside of him.
A Message from Max
To drive his message home, in Unshakable Hope Lucado tells his readers what they can expect on his tombstone after he's gone – a personal message from Max.
"And it would say something like this, 'Hello, this is Max. Thank you for coming by, sorry I'm not here, but I've gone home. Finally home and I hope you'll be there too.' And then I might say something like, 'And I do believe in the rapture and that could happen while you're here so you might step away," he continued with a chuckle.