Holding on to Hope

No matter how dark the night, light comes in the morning. Always.

By Michael Brown Published on December 27, 2017

Many of you have suffered devastating personal losses and yet, with God’s help, not only did you survive but you came out as stronger and better people. But if you lose your hope, what then? Loss of hope can be devastating. How can you hold on without hope?

How do you persevere when you have no hope? How do you live your life in a meaningful way without any hope?

Hope Deferred

There’s a well-known verse in the Bible which states that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb. 11:6). Using this verse as a starting point, I once heard a pastor preach a sermon entitled, “Without Hope It Is Improbable.” That is something to consider. Without hope, it’s highly improbable we will be able to maintain strong faith.

Perhaps we don’t put enough emphasis on nurturing hope? Perhaps we have forgotten that “faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see” (Heb. 11:1, NLT, my emphasis)?

What is it that you are hoping for? Does that hope still burn bright in your heart, or has the flame of hope been extinguished by years of disappointment and failure?

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The Book of Proverbs states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life” (Prov. 13:12). And the Hebrew for “deferred” is vivid, literally meaning “long, drawn out,” hence, “prolonged.”

At a certain point, we lose hope, becoming convinced that God is not listening to us. Or that we were just dreaming all along. That we sinned and forfeited God’s blessings. Or that … there is no God at all. Why prolong the agony?

We expected an answer to our prayers too many times before. We were convinced that the breakthrough was coming this year, over and over again, for decades. We felt sure that our circumstances were about to change, and they never did. We knew that the worst-case scenario couldn’t possibly unfold, yet it did. What then?

God Will Never Disappoint

Some of you say, “I’m tired of trusting and hoping and expecting. It makes me too vulnerable. I’ll just accept things the way they are and resign myself to the miserable status quo. At least I won’t experience any more disappointment. I just can’t handle that again.”

Well, you may have come to this conclusion, but God has not. And if you are His child, He is actively at work for your good. As trite as it sounds, He will never disappoint you. Ever.

Circumstances may not unfold as we expected. We may experience unimaginable losses and go through severe trials. We may experience disappointment because of mistaken beliefs and expectations.

But if you will cast your entire life on the Lord, not only will He see you through, but He will accompany you every step of the way. What’s more, He will take the worst things and use them in the best way, so that, in the end, you are more like Jesus, more filled with faith, more grounded in peace and security, even more joyful.

That is just the nature of our God. There is nothing about Him or in Him that can disappoint.

Even Biblical Heroes Had Doubt

If you’re fight deep discouragement right now, would you allow me to encourage you for a moment? No matter how dark the night, light comes in the morning. Always.

There are whole psalms in the Bible that end with hopelessness and despair, like Psalm 88, which ends with the words, “Darkness is my closest friend” (Ps. 88:18, NIV). But the very next psalm begins with praise: “I will sing of the steadfast love of the LORD, forever; with my mouth I will make known your faithfulness to all generations” (Ps. 89:1).

Yes, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning” (Ps. 30:5). Eventually your morning will come, as surely as the sun rises and as surely as God is God. He is worthy of your trust.

Eventually your morning will come, as surely as the sun rises and as surely as God is God. He is worthy of your trust.

And that’s why the psalms are filled with cries of pain and anguish, including the words “How long, O Lord?” on more than one occasion. Our Father wanted us to know that even the great biblical heroes fought unbelief and doubt, asking when and if God would ever answer their prayers. Yes, God wanted these verses in the Bible to encourage us, not discourage us.

So, you’re not alone when you go through these long valleys of hopelessness and despair. But you should also know that God remains faithful still, and even during the trial, you can experience His love and His hand. And you can grow and mature in the faith all the more.

Jesus is Alive and Returning

Here’s another reason for hope. Jesus rose from the dead. The grave could not hold Him. And He rose even though the disciples were too depressed and fearful to believe. When He died, they thought it was the end. Instead, it was the beginning!

That fact alone is enough to carry me through, no matter what: Jesus has risen and is alive and sits enthroned and will return. How can I lose hope when I keep my focus on Him?

A few days ago, a Christian named Neil posted this on Twitter: “This world is filled with bad news. Yet, every time I listen to your podcast I am encouraged, because no matter the news, you counter it with the good news, scripture, love and truth. God bless you brother, for helping to give us hope in all circumstances.”

Those words blessed me deeply. If I can encourage you to hold on to hope by holding on to the Lord, that will be a great reward. Lean on Him, and You will find Him to be worthy of your confidence. In Him, hope truly springs eternal.

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