Having Hope During Times of Hopelessness
“Now may God, the fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!” Romans 15:13
How wonderful would it be if we never had to deal with feelings of hopelessness because we are followers of Jesus Christ? Knowing the Savior that has all power and is in control of everything should automatically speak to our faith, but if we are honest, when severe trials come our way, having hope is easier said than done. During the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ, He was the embodiment of reassurance and comfort. Expectation in Him and His ability to make everything all right was seen in several instances through the people around Him who believed that He was the Messiah.
Consider the woman with the issue of blood. Matthew 9:21 shares her thoughts of, “If I could only touch his prayer shawl I would be healed.” Faith and hope joined together to bring a miracle for this woman who suffered for so many years. This healing took place in the middle of another miracle, when Jairus came to Jesus because His daughter had died (John 9:18-19, John 9:23-26). His hope was stirred when he approached Jesus with his need for a miracle. In great desperation, this father went to the One who had all power and could birth a miracle when no one and nothing else could. The medical knowledge and remedies of the day could not make the child well, but when everything looked hopeless, and devastating news came to Jairus that his daughter had died, Jesus was his last hope, but also his true hope when man had nothing left to offer.
The need for hope and answers for man’s impossibilities didn’t begin in the New Testament. Romans 4:18-22 shares insights from the story of God making a promise to Abraham: “Against all odds, when it looked hopeless, Abraham believed the promise and expected God to fulfill it. He took God at his word, and as a result he became the father of many nations. God’s declaration over him came to pass: “Your descendants will be so many that they will be impossible to count!” In spite of being nearly one hundred years old when the promise of having a son was made, his faith was so strong that it could not be undermined by the fact that he and Sarah were incapable of conceiving a child. He never stopped believing God’s promise, for he was made strong in his faith to father a child. And because he was mighty in faith and convinced that God had all the power needed to fulfill his promises, Abraham glorified God! So now you can see why Abraham’s faith was credited to his account as righteousness before God.”
While we can read story after story of all that Jesus did during His earthly ministry and God’s interaction with humanity in the Old Testament, often times we still struggle with the idea that He can and will do something for us. Maybe because we don’t have a tangible body that speaks to us like the people did 2,000 years ago, we battle with the doubts of Him moving on our behalf. Even so, hope is powerful and has great value in the heart of Christians. The child of God has access to it at all times, and God is continually in motion, orchestrating things even when we cannot see. How can we embrace hope for our own lives? How can we learn to trust that Jesus is there and that He cares and wants our hope to be in Him?
Understand That God Doesn't Change
Before anything else, let us cling to Hebrews 13:8, which says, “Jesus, the Anointed One, is always the same—yesterday, today, and forever.” His love, His faithfulness, His power, and His miracle-working abilities have not changed. He hasn’t lost an ounce of any of His power or attributes toward the creation He loves.
Saturate Yourself in His Word
As we approach God with our requests, let us find comfort in His Word and allow it to speak to us. The more our hearts are saturated with the Word, the greater we can see our God of hope in action, knowing He is still moving today. He is the God of hope! “You’re my place of quiet retreat, and your wraparound presence becomes my shield as I wrap myself in your Word!” - Psalm 119:114
Remember His Past Works
Take some time to think of the many instances in the Word where God intervened and worked on behalf of those He loves. Hannah was facing barrenness in 1 Samuel 1. David was facing a big obstacle when he went to battle against Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. Even when Peter wanted to protect the Lord from being taken and crucified, the outcome was not what the disciples wanted, but they each learned shortly after that what God had in store for them was much greater than anything they could have ever imagined (John 18:1-14). He is the God of big things! We must remember that those who experienced amazing interactions with the Lord were human beings just like we are today. With flaws, mistakes, doubts, and fears, they were not superhuman, but souls needing a Savior just like us. It wasn’t because He was working in the lives of people who were great, it was because He is great! Romans 15:4 reminds us: “Whatever was written beforehand is meant to instruct us in how to live. The Scriptures impart to us encouragement and inspiration so that we can live in hope and endure all things.”
Watch Your Company
Stay surrounded by those who help build our faith as we dare to be vulnerable in our efforts to foster hope deep within. Listen to the stories of those who can tell us about their moments of hope that were met with beautiful and miraculous answers. And during our own times of hopelessness, let us remember what God has already done for us, and that He isn’t finished working in our lives! As 2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us, “He always comes alongside us to comfort us in every suffering so that we can come alongside those who are in any painful trial. We can bring them this same comfort that God has poured out upon us.” This applies to our own times of need as well.
Acknowledge the "little things"
Pay attention to the things happening around us, whether they seem significant or not. Let our hope build on the smallest of things, from a simple thought shared by a friend for no apparent reason, scriptures that grab our attention, interactions throughout our day, events happening around us that pertain to us. Let our hope join together with faith. Expect God to move on our behalf. “Let your love and steadfast kindness overshadow us continually, for we trust and we wait upon you!” Psalm 33:22
Releasing our fear in order to let hope in can be intimidating. However, those who dare to hope are those who will see the miraculous! If we’ve allowed the hope in our hearts to become dim, let us strip away the things that have dulled this valuable tool and refresh its shine once again!