A few months ago, I wrote an article titled Hope Changes Everything. Shortly after I posted it on my own blog, it also ran on a website called Thoughts About God. There it received more exposure which led to comments and questions from readers in other countries.
The common question was…
How do I keep hoping when it feels like all hope is lost?
That’s not an easy question to answer. Everyone has to deal with something in life, whether it’s in the past, going on right now, or something that will happen in the future. Everyone’s “something” is hard and the longer it goes on, it can feel like hope is fleeting.
Without knowing individual situations, I tried to respond based on what I’ve learned in my own experiences… because sometimes just knowing someone else is also struggling makes a difference.
Maybe you’ve been asking the same question—how do I keep hoping when it feels like all hope is gone?
4 Things I’ve Learned About Staying Hopeful
1.) No Matter How You Feel, Stay Close To God
When it seems like prayers have gone unanswered and we’re getting weary of waiting, it can be tempting to forgo praying, or even to become angry with God. I’ve felt this way and it doesn’t help. It just makes me feel worse.
Prayer doesn’t have to be formal or well thought out. When I’m sad, angry, frustrated, and/or depressed, just talking to God helps. Tell Him you’re angry with Him. Tell Him you’re frustrated with life. He already knows, so He’s not going to ask you to explain and He’s not going to defend Himself or give pat answers.
What He will do (if we let Him) is provide comfort—a safe place to let it all out. Keeping it in and pretending we’re okay rarely works, and if it does, it’s short-term. But talking to Him allows us to share the burden we’re trying to carry alone.
When we let Him comfort us, He provides rest, renews our strength and energy, and gives us the ability to persevere—to keep hoping despite what we can or can’t see.
2.) Spend Quiet Time In God’s Word
We need to talk to God and we also need to listen for Him to speak. God’s Word is for us and it’s where we’ll find His voice and His promises. If we don’t spend time reading and studying His Word, we won’t know or hear what He has to say.
It might take practice. If I read my Bible while I’m stressed and preoccupied, I don’t get much out of it. It becomes something to check off of my to-do list. But when I make up my mind to let all the other stuff go, even if it’s for 10-15 minutes, and focus solely on what I’m reading, I almost always walk away with something from Him—new insight, wisdom, comfort, or renewed trust and hope.
As you pray and listen for Him, ask Him for His help—help to stay faithful and to keep praying, help in waiting no matter how long it takes, and help to keep hoping.
3.) Release Your Hope & Expectations To God
God’s ways are not our ways. The way we want to see a situation work out may not be God’s plan, and our timing is rarely God’s timing.
When we release our expectations to God, we stop looking for that one thing we want or the one way we think a situation will unfold. When we let go of what we’re holding on to so tightly, we are able to see the ways God is at work in our lives—ways we tend to miss because our focus is not on Him.
Waiting to see when or how God’s plans will unfold can be frustrating, but when we release what we expect to happen to Him, it enables us to wait without knowing what we’re waiting for. It allows us to say, Lord, I know how I want this to work out, but I know it may not be what you have planned. Help me to wait on You, for your way and Your timing. Help me to focus on You and to stay open to whatever Your plans are. Please renew my hope, especially when I see no reason for hope.
4.) Don’t Let The Enemy Get His Way
The enemy wants us to lose hope and turn away from God. He will try to convince us that God doesn’t care and our situation is hopeless. But, please remember this—the enemy lies.
Nothing is impossible for our God. Even when we’re out of strength, tired of waiting, and life seems hopeless, God is right there with us. He sees so much more than we can ever see and knows what we don’t know. With Jesus, there is always hope.
Satan knows that, but he doesn’t want us to believe it. So, he will keep yelling words at us like hopeless, useless, unloved, and _______ (fill in the blank). He will do anything and everything to get us to believe that God has left us in a hopeless situation.
Don’t let him get his way. Don’t give in to the feeling of hopelessness. Sometimes, that’s not easy, I know. It can be a battle to keep hoping when we don’t see a reason for hope. We have to remember that our feelings are not always trustworthy. They fluctuate with a good or bad day, something someone says to us, or how we feel physically.
No matter how we feel, we can’t give in to hopelessness and let the enemy win the battle. Sometimes, that thought alone has gotten me through some hopeless-feeling moments.
No matter how I feel or how hard the days are, I know our God is a God of miracles. Nothing is impossible for Him. And because Jesus has already won the war over sin and death, there is always hope. Always, always, always hope… and hope changes everything.
Have you ever felt hopeless? What has helped you stay hopeful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Because Jesus has already won the war over sin and death, there is always hope …and hope changes everything.
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