Have you been discouraged lately? Are you struggling to have hope regarding the future? Does it seem like everything that could go wrong has gone wrong?
Difficult and painful circumstances are all too common in this life. And discouragement in the midst of them is like a poison that affects our minds and souls. Proverbs 13:12 articulates this when it says “hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life” (KJV). Even for those of us who are believers in Jesus, hopelessness can easily creep into our thoughts, robbing us of the ability to persevere.
We forget about the hope we do have. We forget the One in which we can find our eternal hope.
So, how can we learn to hope again?
In order to restore our hope, we have to remind ourselves of the truth of God’s character.
There are a number of passages in Scripture which portray this concept of remembering the truth, but I want us to look at two of them. The first is Lamentations 3:21-23, where the prophet Jeremiah says, “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”
The context of Lamentations is that the city of Jerusalem had fallen due to the disobedience of God’s people. In response, Jeremiah lamented over the destruction of sin and the consequences of judgement. In the midst of his discouragement and heartache, he reminded himself that God is ultimately loving, merciful and faithful to all His promises. It was on this foundation of truth that Jeremiah found hope.
The same is true for us. Our hope rests in the truth of who God is and the promise we have that Christ will return and all made right again.
The second aspect of restoring our hope is to realize that the pain and difficulty we are facing will not last forever. Psalm 30:5b tells us that, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” Our present sufferings will not last. Though we may remain uncertain about the time and date they will end, the fact that they will subside is still true.
Instead of allowing the current problems we are facing to swallow us, we can hold fast to Jesus and trust Him to carry us through. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds” (Hebrews 12:1b-3).
What a wonderful thing to know that our Savior suffered for us and has paved the way for us!
A similar thought is found in Philippians 3:13-14, where Paul says, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
Whatever circumstances come our way, we can be assured that the Lord is with us. Jesus has already claimed the victory and it is His example that we are able to follow. We can press on to claim the prize to which He has called us.