You might say that as Christians, we are never without hope. And, you are correct. Christ Jesus is our hope in our every circumstance.
But there are times when we feel utterly hopeless. When our hopes and dreams are shattered, never to be fulfilled. When we can’t see beyond our pain to grasp the hope He offers. To believe there will ever be a better day on the horizon.
How about the faithful wife who has prayed fervently for her marriage to survive, and yet her husband chooses to walk away?
Or the husband who sees his wife being pulled into an emotional affair, begging her to return to her family, and yet she succumbs to the other man?
The child whose father abandoned the family and yet clings to the hope one day he will have a relationship with his dad only to see his dad die prematurely?
The woman who longs for a child only to suffer health consequences making it impossible for her ever to conceive? The couple who prays over their sick child, begging God to save her, to heal her, only to see her life slip away?
Or maybe it’s something else.
Maybe it’s addiction that robs you of your child’s youth.
Or depression that steals the life of your spouse.
Or pornography that destroys your marriage.
Whatever it may be, hope is lost. Divorce. Death. Infertility. Cancer. Drugs. Suicide. So much pain. So much anguish.
Hope. Is. Lost.
Where does one turn when hope is lost? It's a question with which I struggle every single day. I've walked through hopelessness when my husband was caught in an affair. I was suicidal when I landed in divorce court. And now I watch as my children suffer their own hopelessness, as they wonder why God would allow their dad to die unexpectedly. How do we keep moving forward?
How do we find hope when hope is lost?
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. Psalms 34:18
There is never a time in your life where God will abandon you. But your times of anguish? You can be assured that God is closer than at any other time. Maybe it’s through the kindness of others. The unexpected word of comfort. The moment of laughter that takes you completely by surprise. Maybe it’s just the grace to get you through the day or even the moment. Or maybe it’s the overwhelming peace when you should be falling apart. He is there. He is holding you close, wiping your tears.
The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does. 1 Peter 5:10
Suffering is a season, often a long, difficult season. But it is only a season, one with a beginning and an end. And God promises it will one day be over, one day when He has you put together and on your feet for good.
Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow.” Joshua 3:5
Have you considered that God often does His greatest work in the midst of our most painful days? Joseph was in prison as God prepared him to rule the land. The Israelites wandered in the wilderness while God carefully provided for their every need. David learned to fight when he was tending sheep. Maybe your pain is a way of consecrating you, of molding you into His image so you can witness the wonders He has planned for you.
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28
We must have a firm grasp on the characteristics of God. He is good. He wants good for us. Even when bad things happen, we can trust that in His sovereignty He can—and will—bring good out of every tragedy.
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. ”So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we are weak, our God is strong. When we are at our lowest point, He is ready to show up and show off. As we look back at the period of suffering, we will see how His grace sustained us, how His power was perfected through us. It may take a while, but one day we will look back with a new perspective—God’s perspective—and see just how faithful He was.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever. >2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Trials and tribulations are not without purpose. If we choose to surrender to our Savior, He will take every pain and bring purpose to our lives. He uses the trials of this life to mold us into His image, to teach us about His great love and faithfulness toward us. How do we let Him have His way? By fixing our eyes on Him, not on our troubles.
“But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19
When one dream dies, God has a new dream waiting for you. A new path. A new journey. Maybe a new ministry or message. A new passion. Whatever your loss, God can take your pain and do something new in you and through you. Are you in that hopeless place? He is with you, wiping your tears, holding you up. He will see you through. Trust Him. Lord Jesus, I know what it is to be hopeless. I know what it is to contemplate suicide when life falls apart.
I know what it is to watch those we love most stumble through their days of hopelessness. I also know what it is to experience you in all of your goodness and grace when everything else is lost. I know what it is to see you faithfully guide us through the darkest days, to redeem our pain and replace it with beauty. Be with my friends who are hopeless today, struggling just to get out of bed in the morning and make it through the day. Give them your perspective, your vision of their pain. Show them a vision of what new thing you have planned for them. Give them your grace to get them through this season. In Jesus name I pray, amen.
For further reflection repeat and dwell on these:
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.>Romans 5:3-5
For the Lordyour God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17
“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” Psalm 46:10
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:4
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Written by Dena Johnson
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