Have you had a moment where you don’t know how you can go on? A time where no matter where you looked it was dark? A situation where no path forward seemed possible? Have you experienced a pain so severe that it enveloped you, body and soul?
For me, that moment, the time, the situation was when my husband Mark died from a massive heart attack. Breathing was impossible, I didn’t eat for weeks, I would wake up in the morning and realize that the nightmare wasn’t a dream, it was my life. I was angry, I was discouraged, I had no idea how I would survive my heart being torn in half. The pain was overwhelming, and two years later, sometimes it still is. I remember walking through the cemetery looking at the headstones, I would calculate the years between two spouses dying. I was wondering how long they managed to live without the other. I did this knowing that if my estimates end up being correct that I will be on earth for between 60-70 years without my husband, and surviving those seemed so daunting, I was hopeless.
Feelings of hopelessness are common, and they can come from a multitude of situations. Maybe your situation is similar to mine, you are drowning in grief. Maybe you are looking at your financial situation and not seeing a way out. Maybe you feel trapped in a hard marriage. Or you might be desperately longing for a marriage you don’t have yet. Perhaps the season you are in has no end in sight. Or the finish line of that marathon you are running seems like it's never coming. Maybe when every time you feel like you get a little bit ahead something else drops in your lap. Your strength is fading, and you are tired. Our lives on earth often bring us to a place where we seem to be void of hope.
When we are hopeless, in desperation, struggling, the enemy meets us there. It's exactly where he wants us to be, so he can add on. So he can whisper or shout, in our ear that nothing will get better, that we can’t make it, that no one loves us, no one is for us, and he begs us to agree with him. He taunts us until we give up, until we lose faith, until we stop believing what we used to know is true.
We need to get our hope back! What do we put out hope in? Who do we put our hope in? Where can we look for hope? As humans we place our hope in what is consistent, the chair will always hold me up, my boyfriend will always comfort me, my job will distract me, that bad habit will help me escape. But what happens when our expectations aren’t met? We get stuck in the cycle of hopelessness.
But, the most consistent place we can put our hope is in God, who quite literally is our hope. Because if we simply hope that our circumstances will change we are relying on “wishful thinking” but a real HOPE in the God of the universe, means we are trusting and hoping in someone who actually has the power to change our circumstances or work to change us in our circumstances. Putting our hope in God and his power is an active way to wait, waiting on God to act, or waiting on God’s promises to come to fruition.
Lamentations 3:20-25 says
“My soul continually remembers it and it is bowed down within me. But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never came to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. ‘The Lord is my portion’ says my soul, therefore I will hope in him. The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.”
Our God is consistent, when you feel hopeless can you remember the moments He has brought you through? Can you speak confidently about His character and His promises? Can you praise Him with an eager Hope that He is still working?
Our God is not just the God who can move in our situation, He is the God who is already moving. He is the God who already has a plan for us. He knows exactly what He is doing and what will come from it.
Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you, and not harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.”
God has a plan for each of us, and he has had the plan before we were even born. If He says He will prosper us, not harm us, and that we have a hope a future, then that is what is true. This is what defines us. This is what we fight the devil with. God cannot lie, He is always faithful, He never changes, and He always keeps his promises.
Psalm 130:5 Reads “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.”
We can put our hope in what His word says. We may also see glimpses of hope in our lives, even in the darkness. This could be confidence in the sun rising each morning, joy of spring flowers, kind and heartfelt words lifting your spirit, maybe you see just a little bit of light. I continually see these small glimpses on a daily basis and they remind me to lift my head toward my ultimate hope.
I have ultimate hope in the fact that Jesus defeated death when He died on the cross and rose again on the third day. As believers who have accepted Christ, that is our ultimate and eternal hope, the hope we have in our salvation! We are not only children of God, but by accepting Christ we are adopted into the inheritance of God. We have a place prepared for us in heaven, our true and eternal home. But His promise of life transformation still starts on earth, we do receive earthly blessings, and get to experience life walking with a God who never leaves us.
2nd Corinthians 4:16-18 reads
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
This hope, the hope of salvation, the hope of being renewed, the hope of eternity being real is the hope that got me up off my driveway the day I took Mark off life support, that hope is what gets me out of bed in the morning, that hope is what anchors me when my emotions are reeling and my flesh is angry. That hope is what makes these years on earth (the good, the bad and the ugly) worth it. Jesus went ahead of us and he conquered death, and He did so with Joy! Forward is a great place for us to set our eyes, because Jesus is already there. When we are confident that God has tomorrow covered, we can face today. This is how we practice hope. We can look forward with a confident hope that God is bringing us from glory to glory and ultimately into a glory beyond all comparison.
1) In what situation (past or present) did you feel hopeless?
2) Where did you see or find hope?
3) Where are you currently seeing hope in your life?
4) What are you hoping for?
5) What or who is your hope in?
6) How can you remind yourself to be hopeful?
7) How can you help bring hope to someone else?
This devotional was written for and shared at Serenity Village Community Church Women's Ministry October 2022, if you are in the Twin Cities area I would love to have you join us in the New Year!