Carola is a Christian writer and author of several books. She writes about Christian living, relationships, and other related topics.
Some trials in life in life seem to go on and on forever with no end in sight. We struggle with unemployment, marriage problems, financial disasters, illness, and strained relationships every day. Sometimes we wonder if the light at the end of the tunnel is an oncoming train instead of a way out into the sunlight. It is easy to be overwhelmed with emotional pain and depression.
So how can we overcome despair in the most hopeless situations? There are several ways we can seek and experience hope.
Ways to Find Hope in Hopeless Situations
Finding Assurance Through Prayer
God wants us to draw closer to Him during the hard times. God has a plan for us that gives us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). It is His will that we prosper and be in good health (3 John 3:2). Jesus said that He would never leave us, forsake us, or throw us away ((John 6:37). God is delighted when we put our hope in his unfailing love (Psalm 147:11).
We can hold onto hope because we have a God who answers prayer. God answers with three possible answers: “yes,” “no,” and “wait a while.” Jesus assures us that everyone who asks will receive (Matthew 7:7-9). What seems impossible to us is possible with God (Luke 18:27). Stories of how Jesus met people's needs, healed them from their illnesses, freed them from demon possession, and raised the dead reveal how Jesus longs to meet our needs.
Study the Bible
When we feel discouraged, we can read stories in the Bible about people who struggled with depression and be inspired by how God worked in their lives. Many encouraging verses assure us that we can hope in His unfailing love and his promises (Psalm 33:18).
In the New York Times bestseller Hope: building our lives on the promises of God, author Max Lucado says that the heroes of the Bible leaned on the promises of God. God tells us to be strong and take heart (Psalm 31:24).
The scriptures have many stories of difficult situations that seem impossible to resolve at the time such as:
- Sarah, the wife of Abraham, bore him a son after a long time of waiting well past her childbearing years.
- Joseph came out of slavery and imprisonment to become the second in-chief ruler of Egypt. He also was reunited with his family.
- When Ruth lost her husband, her mother-in-law Naomi told her to go back to her home. Naomi was going back to her own land. Ruth clung to her and insisted on going with her. Ruth ended up with a new husband and a better life.
- Job lost members of his family, his wealth, and his health. He went from sitting on an ash heap scraping his sores to experiencing God restoring twice as much as he had before to him.
- David went from being on the run from a vengeful King Saul to becoming a mighty king over Israel.
- Elijah did mighty things for God, and his enemies wanted to kill him (1 Kings 19:1-18). Elijah was afraid, ran away, and prayed to God to take his life. God took care of his physical needs, encouraged him, and sent him on a new mission.
- God saved Daniel from lions and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from a flaming furnace.
Jesus healed people from conditions that were usually considered permanent such as physical disabilities or chronic illness. Some of these people suffered with no hope for relief such as the woman with the blood issue. The woman bled for 12 years but believed that God could heal her. When Jesus showed up, she had hope that if she touched his robe, she would be cured. She was healed instantly. There are many other examples in the gospels of his miracles.
When life seems like an endless road of frustration and pain, we can look to these stories for encouragement and a renewed hope. We can also recognize the good things that God has done in our lives in the past.
Our troubles often seem never-ending with no resolution in sight. We need to be willing to wait for answers to come (Romans 8:24, 12:12). Impatience will only cause us frustration and misery. God can make all circumstances work for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
Seek Options that Improve Our Situation
There are always ways that we can improve our situation. No situation is completely hopeless. I actually once attended the wedding of a 75-year-old man who was marrying for the first time. Like the old saying tells us, “it ain’t over until it’s over.”
Seek Help and the Support of Others
We can find comfort and encouragement in books such as the devotional series Out of the Ashes We Rise: 40 Days of Hope When Life Seems Hopeless by Angela Dees.
We were not meant to carry our burdens alone. We need friends, mentors, and family to surround and support us. They can provide encouragement and help. They may share stories about situations similar to ours that were resolved. God comforts us in our troubles so that we can comfort others (2 Corinthians 1:4). Sometimes pastors, support groups, or mental health professionals can help us through tough times.
Remember That Trials Do Not Last Forever
Most trials are temporary and will end. We must be patient in affliction (Romans 12:12) and not despair. No matter how bad things are, the time will finally come when our health improves, we finally get a job, heal a broken relationship, or work ourselves out of financial disaster. We can live our lives with the expectation that things can get better and turn around. Our minds should be at peace and not troubled or afraid (John 14:27).
The Greatest Hope
If nothing works for us in this life, we have a hope of a perfect, eternal life with God in the next (Titus 1:2). May we all overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit and not despair when things seem hopeless (Romans 15:13, Ephesians 1:18-19).
As Christians, we experience a new birth that is a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1:3). May we all overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13).
The Holy Bible, New International Version
Living With Hope in a Hopeless World, Charisma News, Bill Johnson
Will You Dare to Be Hopeful When Life Seems Hopeless?, Whitney Hopler
5 Ways to Hope in God When You Feel Hopeless. crosswalk.com, Cally Logan
© 2021 Carola Finch
Kathy Henderson from Pa on January 30, 2021:
The world needs more focus on hope and encouragement. Love this!