Hope plays a very vital function in the lives of every human being. Here are the topics we’ll be discussing in this article:
- How can I have hope?
- Sometimes I feel hopeless
- I need hope during unemployment
- I need hope in times of grief and loss
- I need hope when everything goes wrong
- I need hope when I am really depressed
- Finding hope in uncertain times
- Can I have hope for each day?
- How to have hope for life after death
What Is hope?
Hope is a small word infused with rich meaning. It is one of the most positive words in the English language.
Hope is multifaceted. Like the word life, it is impossible to define it fully. We need hope to thrive.
As a noun, hope is the the belief that things will go well or improve, that plans will materialize, that love will be found. It is more than a wish, more than a dream, more than a fantasy. Hope is a tangible feeling that has enormous implications, amazing power, and unending viability.
As a verb, hope is active. It is desiring something wonderful, longing for a better world, accompanied by the confidence that a better world is possible. To hope is to have a zest for the morrow that makes dreams attainable. Hope is the antithesis to fear.
Hope is something that can be disbursed freely, without fear of diminishment. It is a cinder to be fanned, a flame to be shared.
How can I have hope?
The good news for anyone who sees their need for hope is this. The one true living God in heaven is the author of hope. He has made a plan to bring eternal hope to all who come to Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you a hope and a future.”
After creation, humans chose the way of rebellion against God, but God in His mercy prepared a rescue mission for his fallen creation through His Son, Jesus. All who come to the Father through the Son can have the assurance of His help and strength in seeing us through our darkest of times.
The blessed Christian hope is the confident assurance that God is faithful and “He that began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6.
There is so much hope for you!
Sometimes I feel hopeless
We live in a time when it is all too easy to lose hope. When hope is lost, negativity rushes in as quickly as air into a vacuum, destroying confidence, motivation, and dreams.
The loss of hope colors everything a dark gray. As viruses spread and economies crash, you may be asking, “Is there any hope for me?”
If you are feeling hopeless, you are not alone
Most people feel hopeless at some point in their lives, especially in times of crisis, when they look ahead to the future and the future looks bleak.
When health is gone or compromised, homes are lost, jobs are taken, relationships are broken, or loved ones die, the feelings of bright expectation come abruptly to a halt.
Sometimes it’s difficult to admit that we need hope
I need hope during unemployment
As I write this, we are dealing with the highest unemployment in recent history. Maybe you just have been let go or furloughed from a job that you liked and that provided the income you needed to support your family.
A friend of mine just lost what was his dream job. He and his lovely wife have two small children, a house payment, and a car payment. They have lived in moderation with all of their needs nicely met. Through no fault of their own or of their companies, suddenly they both are unemployed.
The unemployment rate is very high, making it difficult if not impossible to find another job. It is a scary time for them. They are struggling with financial pressures and self-worth. They desperately need hope.
Sometimes what appears to be the worst things in life turn out to be the best
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.”—2 Corinthians 4:17-18
Jesus promises He will never leave you or forsake you
Losing a job in a bad economy can be terrifying. But our Lord Jesus repeatedly tells us to “Fear not.” He must have known we were going to have fear, because he repeatedly admonishes us to not to fear. Hope chases away fear – or at least corrals it. Hope is a gift of God. Because He says,
“Fear not,” we can have assurance that He has a solution. Listen to the hope in the voice of God assuring you, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13.]
In looking for a job, we can sign up for job fairs, support groups, and training, much of which occurs in local churches. We can develop community among other job seekers or friends who are committed to pray with us. All of these things are gifts from Him. The most important thing we can do, however, is to look to God for strength and provision.
I need hope in times of grief and loss
In the midst of a pandemic, the threat of death surrounds us all. The death count in the media is ever before us. We hear heart wrenching stories on a daily basis. We may even know personally of elderly people dying alone in sterile hospitals; young families trying to move forward after losing a husband and father; medical workers succumbing to the virus after battling it for others.
We need hope to combat the fear of death. We need hope when we are experiencing grief and loss
Just within our neighborhood, death has touched many families and has shaped how have grieved.
An elderly father died unexpectedly just as the country was beginning to shelter in place. His memorial service was the last public event the family’s church permitted.
A co-worker lost his seemingly healthy young adult son to COVID-19. No one had known the son had a congenital heart defect. No one was prepared for his death or how his arrangements were to be made.
A widow was forced to grieve alone in her car as her husband received his military burial. She was the only one allowed to be there at all.
A local fisherman joined hundreds of others in pulling boats in a farewell parade for a boy who died of cancer.
In New York City, hundreds of families couldn’t be near their loved ones at all, as bodies were stacked in mass anonymous graves. All of these people expressed the need for hope.
God is our comfort. He is near to the broken hearted
He encourages us to seek out community, wise counsel, time with Him. Healing from grief is a process that takes time. The Lord is like a good shepherd who carries his lambs through dark valleys, the very picture of hope.
I need hope when everything goes wrong
Sometimes there seems to be no room for hope. Circumstances domino, one upon another, until everything seems to have collapsed.
What do we do when we need hope and it constantly alludes us?
A family in our community is wondering if there is hope for them. Having been financially devastated by the wife’s long illness that coincided with a down-turn in the economy, the couple has been striving to pull themselves up by their own industry.
Now fully recovered but in her sixties, the wife is starting over in her career and her husband is building a new business from the ashes of the old. Both of their cars recently have broken down beyond repair; their house has been drenched inside with rain after a roof collapsed, and mold is growing. Topping it all off, their relationship with their daughter is strained because of political differences.
This couple could be devastated, but instead they have placed their hope in God. They know His character and are trusting in Him.
I need hope when I am really depressed
Sometimes we feel so hopeless we sink into depression. Many in a depressed state will need—and should have—medical treatment in addition to counseling. Depression is not a condition to be downplayed or disregarded.
Often the simplest steps are a help. Regular exercise, beginning with daily walks, helps produce chemicals in the body called endorphins that trigger good feelings and brighten our days. Personal grooming works wonders—dressing appropriately and attractively for every occasion can trigger a feel-good, hopeful response to early and mild symptoms. A balanced diet and adequate sleep refresh spirits. Other times more is required.
Depression is often accompanied by anxiety
If you are experiencing serious problems or symptoms of either of these, please contact your physician for consultation and referral as soon as possible. There are helpful medications that can be used under a doctor’s supervision: you will probably be referred to a counselor/psychologist to help you maneuver out from under this dangerous and debilitating shadow.
You may experience symptoms of depression
Symptoms may vary. Men tend to exhibit fatigue, irritability, insomnia and a loss of interest in things that were important to them. Anger and aggression, substance abuse and reckless behavior may be manifest. Panic attacks are not uncommon in both sexes.
Women may have depression symptoms that manifest as deep sadness, bouts of crying, feelings of guilt, and excessive sleeping and eating with resulting weight gain. Hormonal factors from the onset of menses through menopause complicate the treatment; hence the combination of physician and mental health specialists is advised.
Teenagers need early intervention
Teens are vulnerable to depression. Sadness, headaches, real or imagined illness, lack of interest, and suspected drug abuse are factors that alert the adults in their lives. Professional care should be sought early.
Older adults may show a loss of interest in life, in self-care, and appearance. Lack of appetite, fatigue, memory loss, as well as emotional signs of depression may be evident. Their problem may be a more gradual decline and therefore not picked up on easily. Over-medication should be considered a cause as well.
You are not alone, even in depression
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Finding hope in uncertain times
Humans tend to like certainty. We want to know what the future holds. Finding hope in uncertain times—like pandemics and all they bring—means finding certainty in the source of hope.
Oswald Chambers wrote, “To be certain of God means that we are uncertain in all our ways; we do not know what a day may bring forth.This is generally said with a sigh of sadness; it should be rather an expression of breathless expectation. We are uncertain of the next step, but we are certain of God. Immediately we abandon to God, and do the duty that lies nearest, He packs our lives with surprises all the time.”
When you find yourself without certainty and in need of hope, here are some things you can do:
- Locate resources: explore every avenue of advice or assistance available;
- Seek community by connecting with people of wisdom, faith and prayer;
- Do the little things, like eating when you’re hungry, getting a good night’s sleep, going for a walk, or talking with a friend;
- Remember your history: the ways God has blessed you, how He has taken you through losses and heartaches in the past, how He has rescued and restored you; and
- Walk with God in expectant hope, claiming His promises through Jesus Christ.
Can I have hope for each day?
Hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised. It is the confident affirmation of the faithfulness of God. It is the deep belief that God will complete what He has begun. We do what we can, but we don’t need to depend only on our own abilities and initiatives.
We can have hope—the quiet affirmation of God’s character that gives the Christian faith its peace and power, the resting in what God has promised.
This quiet faith that some may perceive as a weakness is instead a symbol of strength that the believer finds in God.
Believing God’s promises, trusting Him to be faithful, and being willing to follow God’s calling and His ways leads one to develop a strong and steadfast Hope that serves the Christ follower well.
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”
Colossians 2:27: ”God willed to make known what is the riches of his glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the HOPE of glory”.
This is the hope that is the theme of this entire manuscript. Christ and Hope are interchangeable in this sentence. Christ is Hope and real, tangible Hope is Christ.
God is completely aware of all that you endure and that fact that you need hope
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
How to have hope for life after death
Many people think of their physical lives as being completely separate from what we know as our spiritual lives. That is a fallacy.
We are physical and spiritual beings, and the one is as real as the other. Both the physical and spiritual realms impact us greatly. The dark world of unbelief is ruled by the Prince of Darkness, or Satan. It is he who traps us in hopelessness and despair. Jesus, however, in glorious Light, leads us out of darkness and into joy, hope, and peace. We are not robots: we have been given freedom as to whom we serve.
“The sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
His Word proclaims on every page that there is hope for you, now and forever. As physical beings, our time is short. As spiritual beings, we are eternal. He comforts us with these promises for the future:
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
Meditate on these promises from the God who created you and loves you immeasurably.
May you find the abiding hope that will lighten your burdens here on earth, and the Glorious Eternal Hope who will take us to Heaven.