Hanging onto Hope

To preach into darkness a soul must realize how very dark it is there. If you have been rescued from darkness, then it is there that God can use you to reach others. I know that darkness, and if you are there, I know how you feel. And I know you can be rescued like me.

And if you have been rescued from there, won’t you minister to the hurting? Won’t you minister to help those suffering, as only you can know their suffering? “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me” (Psalm 42:7).

Friends, we live in a darkened world that is crying out in search of something to hope for. There is nothing that will satisfy, but Christ alone. Jesus is not just your best chance, but your only hope. Light always trumps darkness. Be the light to others.

Hopelessness: Hopelessness is that empty place you find when you reach the end of yourself. It will be at this place where you either give up, or you give yourself over to God. Friends, don’t ever give up, but just go to Him and He will be your life. “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God” (Psalm 146:5).

Hopelessness is lights outs, but hope is the light of Christ in you. The darker things are, the greater His light will be seen. Sometimes He places us in the dark places that we would see the light. Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness” (John 12:46). The Lord Jesus is not the just light at the end of the tunnel, He is the light in the tunnel.

Depression: Depression is the result of carrying a burden heavier than we can carry. Yet, the things that weigh us down the most cannot be lifted at all. The things we say have a hold on us are those things that we refuse to let go of. “Cast your burden on the Lord, And He shall sustain you…” (Psalm 55:22). You will never regret letting go. So just let go.

The reason we hang onto to hope so tightly is because sometimes hope is the only thing we have left. Friends, I want you to know that God has hope in abundance. Though I may sometimes feel so low, yet I worship a God that is so High. “I will cry out to God Most High, To God who performs all things for me” (Psalm 57:2).

Depression looks downward. Hope looks upward. It matters not as much where you are, but where you are looking. “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other” (Isaiah 45:22). Never focus on your problems, but on God.

Suffering: Suffering is the window through which you either see the purposes of God or the hopelessness in yourself. Your viewpoint depends upon whether you focus on the intentions of man or the intentions of God. “But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Genesis 50:20). Live in His purposes, not from your perspective.

How is it that we can have the joy of the Lord in the midst of suffering? Because the suffering is in our soul, while the joy is in our spirit. “but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy” (1 Peter 4:13). Learn to suffer with joy, not that we want pain, but that we can see His purposes in it.

Tribulation is the currency that either buys character or is squandered into bitterness. Never squander that which has cost you so much. “…we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5:3-4). If it was easy, you wouldn’t grow. Hope is not the beginning, but the result of all we go through.

Adversity: Never think the life of a saint is easy. The joy may come in the morning, but sometimes it will be a long night. “…Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). 

Never imagine God intended to give you an easy life. Adversity is the hammer and chisel that shapes the heart of a saint. Learn to trust Him more than understand Him.

Trials are the lenses in which God allows you to see yourself as you really are. Nothing exposes your heart faster or with greater clarity that adversity. We waste all our energy trying to overcome adversity instead of allowing it to have its holy work in our heart. “In the day of prosperity be joyful, But in the day of adversity consider: Surely God has appointed the one as well as the other, so that man can find out nothing that will come after him” (Ecclesiastes 7:14). Don’t focus on the suffering, but the results from it.

Regrets: Never be sad that life did not turn out as you had planned. Never be discouraged that you are going through a struggle. Everything in your life has meaning. Every obstacle has a purpose. Never mistake the journey for the destination.

Whatever has happened to you, never forget Christ is in you. “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Whatever is going on around you, just remember, that Christ is in you.

Regret is anchored in your past, while hope always presses forward into the future. Regret looks back, while hope always looks ahead. Regret looks downward, and hope always looks upward.

Every morning begins a new day. Never give up, never lose hope, never despair – knowing that the God of all creation loves you perfectly.

Nothing is by chance: Never measure God’s love for you by your circumstances, only by His promises. He never promised an easy path, but an eternal joy living with Him. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). The Lord said this as the nation of Israel was about to begin 70 years of captivity in Babylon. His promises are true, but not always immediate. Stand on His promises, not on your circumstances.

Nothing happens by chance. There is no such thing as good luck, only His good plan. Not only does He know your story, He wrote it. Everything that has happened in your life has happened for a reason. Every tear clears a path.

Put your absolute total trust in the Lord who knows you absolutely. God is not your last chance, but your one true hope. The LORD God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5). He knows you. Give the Lord all the glory for your story.

Hope in the Father: Hope is found in God, not in circumstances. Your health will fail, but still He is Lord. Your finances will run out, but still He is Lord. Your job will someday end, but still he is Lord. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).

Hope in the Son: There is no darkness so deep that the light of Christ cannot shine through it. Never lose hope. Hope is not a feeling, but a knowing. And know this, the Lord Jesus loves you in the midst of all you are going through. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life'” (John 8:12). The world will disappoint, but the hope found in Christ never will.

Hope in the Holy Spirit: If you want to live the carefree life, it is not your circumstances that must change, but you. The change is never by your effort, but His. The only thing stopping you is you. Let the Holy Spirit have His way with you, and your life will never be the same. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Stop hindering the Holy Spirit, and simply yield unto Him.

Praying for your break through,

Paul


4 thoughts on “Hanging onto Hope

  1. A pastor at one of our local churches killed himself this past week. He had been in an accident on a vacation to Florida, and required surgery on his leg as a result. Evidently, he went on to have problems with his leg, experiencing chronic, excruciating pain, grew depressed, and took his own life.

    As somebody who is dealing with depression, this shook me to my core. If a pastor can kill himself, what’s to keep me from doing that? I have always believed that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. And it dawned on me that viewing depression as a TEMPORARY problem would seem to indicate that I have not lost hope that it would go away. There have been times when all I could do was pace the floor, saying “Help me, Jesus,” over and over. God is good, and got me through those moments. He has been there for me during terrible anxiety attacks. I cannot imagine how all of this would feel if I ever lost hope in God…I would probably go the way of that pastor. God has, indeed, sustained me during this period.

    You wrote that “everything that has happened in your life has happened for a reason.” Years ago, a woman at a church I was visiting was praying with me, and she told me that she had a vision about my future. She told me dark days were coming, that she saw a blackness enveloping me like a shroud, but that in that vision, she also saw the blackness being replaced, little by little, with light, and that in the end, I was shiny and bright like a gold coin, that I would overcome that darkness with the help of The Lord. I cannot tell you how many times I have thought of her words during this period of depression, and how thankful I am that I wound up in that church on that particular evening. God knew what was going to be coming my way 20 years later, and He put someone in my path all those years ago to tell me it was all going to be okay. He used that woman to give me hope 20 years later. Amazing!

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    1. That is so sad for that pastor. Sometimes we lose sight of the fact that pastors are just people. They have all the faults and shortcomings and pain as everyone else. They are held to a higher standard, but live in the same flesh as the rest of us. I would say their lot is harder, as they are expected to be something higher when in the end they are just people like you and me.

      Depressions is a hidden monster, it may not be visible, but it is real and it is ferocious. It feeds on the lonely and the broken. It is the Devil’s tool in a world of hurting people. It is darkness and it is cold all in one. It is a chamber set apart from God and His light and His warmth. The only way out of despair is to be in Christ. The world would give you medicine, and if needed I am not opposed to it, but know the greater need is more Jesus, not more drugs.

      I have known the deepest of despair, but stand on the Rock of Christ, and I will not sink on this ground I stand on now. I always encourage people that are struggling to gain counseling. We need each other. We need prayers. Like the lady you spoke with, we need prophetic words of hope that we can hold onto.

      In this blog this week I kept my personal story out, but hope someday to maybe share more there in this topic. What I know is that everyone is struggling. Everyone needs hope. Everyone needs Jesus. He is the answer to every problem. He is the light for every darkness. Call on Him day and night, and never stop. Never.

      This light in you some 20 years later, now it will shine on others.

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