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How Can We Have Hope When

Everything Looks Hopeless?

When discouraging and depressing news threatens to flood the
nation, the church, and the soul, we need God’s help to lift up our
heads, hearts, and hands. Posts like this encourage us not to
fear. But once fear is cast out, we then have to build positive
Christian hope in its place, a beautiful virtue and life-
transforming grace that yields multiple benefits:
1. Hope moves us forwards: Christian hope is a realistic
expectation of and joyful longing for future good and glory based
upon the reliable word of God. The more we long for the future,
the less we will yearn for the past. Hope deletes regrets and
underlines expectation. It diminishes drag and
increases momentum.
2. Hope energizes the present: It is worth living today
because the eternal tomorrow is so much brighter. What’s
doomsday for most, is coronation day for us. What most dread,
we desire.
3. Hope lightens our darkness: Hope does not deny nor
remove the reality of dark and painful providences. However it
does shine a bright light into these valleys and points to the
sunrise at the end of them.
4. Hope increases faith: Faith fuels hope, but hope also fuels
faith. As Hebrews 11 makes very clear, hope and faith are very
closely tied together, the one enlivening the other. Without faith
we cannot soar in hope, but without hope faith will limp home.
The greatest believers are the greatest hopers…and vice versa.
5. Hope is infectious: Just as we can drag others down by our
recriminations and moping, so we can inspire and motivate
through our inspiring hoping. It not only encourages other
sagging Christians but it also impacts depressed unbelievers who
cannot but ask a reason for the hope they see in us (1 Pet. 3:15).
6. Hope is healing: When I counsel depressed people, one of
the first things I do is try to give them hope. By definition,
depression is a sense of hopelessness. Things cannot and will not
get better. That’s why I want to give them the hope that in the
vast majority of cases, they will get better, there is a way out, and
there are things that they can do to help themselves in their felt
helplessness. That hope itself is a huge step towards healing.
7. Hope is practical: Hope does not mean we just sit and wait
for Utopia to appear. Not at all! Hope motivates action. When we
hope for better days for the church, we serve the church. When
we hope for the conversion of our children, we are motivated to
share the Gospel with them. When we hope for God’s blessing on
His Word, we listen to it much more avidly. Hope
produces action.
8. Hope purifies: Whatever persecution we experience in this
world, the day is coming when we will not be just called sons of
God, we will be like the Son of God. This is what inspires and
motivates the apostle to persevere to the end and to persevere in
holiness. “And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies
himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:1-3).
9. Hope stabilizes in the storm: There are sixty-six drawings
of anchors in the catacombs, the caves and tunnels that
persecuted Christians hid in during the Roman persecutions.
Hope was their anchor during those dark and stormy days (Heb.
6:19; 10:34). Like the anchor, hope grabs what is out of sight. As
one puritan put it: “The cable of faith casts out the anchor of hope
and lays hold of the steadfast rock of God’s promises.”
10. Hope defends: Paul also depicts hope as a defensive helmet
(Eph. 6:17; 1 Thess. 5:8) that must not be taken off and laid aside
until the battle is over. The helmet also points us to the area of
greatest vulnerability and danger – our mind or thoughts. That’s
where Satan usually works to present reasons to doubt and
despair. And that’s why we need our minds daily renewed by the
power of hope

In Romans 5:3-5, Paul says that we can rejoice in our sufferings because we are a
people of hope: “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering
produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,
and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our
hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:3–5, ESV).
So, how can we have hope when everything looks hopeless? In the midst of suffering,
we can rejoice because these challenges cause us to:
1. Rely on God’s presence
Rejoicing in suffering does not mean celebrating when bad news comes. But, it does
mean that we can believe that God is doing a redemptive work. This word “redemptive”
means that God does not waste a hurt or disappointment. He is using them to shape and
build us into the image of Jesus, which is his highest passion.
When we go through suffering, we often pray and seek God more intensely than at other
times. My greatest times of growth have been when I’ve reached the end of my
resources and all I have left is Jesus. God uses suffering to make us rely on his
In Psalm 23:4, David writes that he does not fear because God is with him. He relies on
God’s presence, and it brings him strength and comfort. Remember that for there to be a
shadow, there has to be a light. I don’t know what your “valley of the shadow of death”
is, but I do know who the Light is that is walking with you in that valley.
In another Psalm, David reveals that one of the reasons for his joy is that he is forgiven:
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven whose sins are covered (Ps.
31:1, NIV). We can’t determine God’s love for us based on good or bad circumstances.
We determine his love based on the cross and what he did for us on it.
2. Rely on God’s provision
In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul reveals that he has suffered from a “thorn in the flesh.” God
was so concerned about Paul not becoming proud he allowed this to happen to him to
prevent him from becoming conceited.
In our current situations, God is saying to us that his grace is sufficient, and even when
we feel weak, he is making us stronger than we have ever been. His grace is not an
abstract idea. It is the person of Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit. The hell you
are going through may be the very circumstance God uses to take you to a whole new
3. Rely on God’s power
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses so that the power of Christ
may rest upon me” (2 Cor. 12:9b, ESV).
What is your weakness? Maybe it is a son or a daughter that hasn’t quite turned out the
way you thought he or she would. A job situation that has gone awry. A medical
diagnosis that has scared you. Maybe, like Paul, it is also insults, hardships, or
persecutions. Whatever it is, Paul says he will boast in those things because when we
are weak, the power of Christ rests on us.
The greater the enemy comes at you, the greater Jesus is in you.
The greater the enemy comes at you, the greater Jesus is in you.
Maybe you hear voices telling you to just quit, give up, and let it go. Don’t stop. When
you are weak, then he is strong. Remember the greater the attack against you, the
greater Christ is in you, but you have to rely on his presence, his provision and his
This week take a moment to write down what you are suffering from or struggling with
and place it in an envelope. On the outside, write, “God’s got this, and he is transforming
me.” Now when that challenge comes to mind remember to rely on him.
Marinate on that.