Hope is easiest to maintain or exercise when ignorance is involved, when you are blissfully unaware of just how bad everything is, how little hope there really is to be had, so they say. But even though things are indeed classified as ‘hopeless’, the One who created hope, the One who IS hope, is still involved, still very much active.
I’ve seen hopelessness in a number of people, too many, perhaps. Their eyes are filled with sadness, desperation, confusion, and pain. It hurts to see it the most when the person you’re looking at has always been hopeful, even when they have their down moments. It’s hard to look into the eyes of the hopeless who once held great hope. I realize this is a little deep and kind of depressing, but it’s real. A lot of people say that religion and ignorance and dreams can only last so long; then you have to wake up to ‘reality,’ and reality is hideous.
Sometimes, when you’ve hoped forever, prayed forever, stayed strong and faithful forever, done what God has asked, what God has led, and things just don’t seem to be getting any better, you just want to throw your arms up in the air and yell, “I surrender!” The exhaustion and the persistence and the constant day-to-day ‘hope talk’ you have to give yourself is just too overwhelming, too much. You can’t do it anymore. You wonder why God let this happen; you wonder why He won’t just fix it. You have to ask how any of this could possibly fit into His plan for you, for humanity, if the situation you’re in is so terrible and so impossible. When you’ve been in the same place forever, and no amount of praying and hoping is fixing anything, you tend to stop praying and hoping; hearing encouraging words becomes a dull noise, a murmur in the background of your difficulty, your pain.
God knows about it.
I know, it’s cliche, but just because something is cliche or repetitive doesn’t make it any less true. God does know. When Jesus was on this earth, He experienced temptation, betrayal, hurt, rejection, everything. Also, God made humanity in His image; He knows our feelings and emotions and situations better than anyone.
Abraham’s cause, this promise that he would become a great nation, seemed hopeless. Elijah was being hunted down by Jezebel, living in a cave somewhere in the wilderness, alone, hopeless, and desperate. The woman with a chronic bleeding disorder had been bleeding very painfully and slowly for twelve years, hopeless of ever finding a cure. All of their hope was restored when Jesus came, when God showed them what hope was.
I can’t believe that situations can get so terrible that one can have no hope…I won’t believe that. Maybe situations get very dark and dreadful and it’s a little too dark for a while, but hope can always be found. Sometimes it’s hard to see, hard to find, hard to believe in. Being hopeless is really easy to do. Giving up is easy to do. Despairing is easy to do. As many hopeless people as I’ve met in my short time on earth, I’ve seen just as many miracles happen when all hope is lost, maybe even more. I’ve heard too many stories and encountered too many walking testimonies to believe that there is ever a situation that is truly, 100% hopeless.
Even though hoping is the hard part, loving is the hard part, remaining determined is the hard part, having faith is the hard part, it’s the part of life that makes life most worth living. Yes, it’s corny, but it’s so, so true.
When you feel lost and down, as if there’s no point in praying any longer or being strong anymore, that’s the exact moment when everything rides on hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
—Romans 15:13, ESV