By Aaron D'Anthony Brown, Crosswalk.com
Hope for the Hopeless
By Aaron D’Anthony Brown
“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is near the brokenhearted; he saves those crushed in spirit. One who is righteous has many adversities, but the Lord rescues him from them all. He protects all his bones; not one of them is broken.” (Psalm 34:17-20)
Where Do We Find Hope for the Hopeless?
“I just don’t know what to do,” he told me, fighting back tears. For five years he worked to find a job, and for five years he had none; at least, not one that was steady, lucrative, or desired. The man said that he did everything possible: submit job applications, contact employers directly, and reach out to his personal contacts for help. Even with multiple degrees, decades of experience, and “fifty different resumes,” somehow, he remained empty-handed. No one and nothing seemed to help, not even God, according to his estimation. As his faith waned, he lamented his situation, and as far as he could tell, all hope was lost.
Have you ever noticed how easy encouraging someone is as opposed to encouraging ourselves? The man’s situation was not as detrimental as he feared, financially or otherwise, but from his perspective, he couldn’t see a way out. The clarity I felt listening to his predicament is the same clarity my friend has when encouraging me. This is the same clarity we often have when listening to the suffering of others. When they are without hope, we provide what they lack. When we are without hope, we rely on others to do the same. And if we have no one, the results can be fatal.
So, where do we find this hope for the hopeless? Either for others or for ourselves? A friend once told me to consider while I may be rushing to escape my quandary, moving from Point A to Point Z seamlessly, God may have other intentions. In my despair, He could be working to edify me, test me, and make me more like Christ. Whatever the case, he said to remember, God was with me, and he was too. Hope, for all of us, is rooted in knowing, knowing the truth. And one truth we can always count on is that there is always hope.
The man, or myself, or anyone, bemoaning their circumstance do so because we have lost sight of God. We have forgotten His goodness. And as we lose sight, we turn our backs on him, talking, thinking, and acting in ways we would not have had we maintained our faith. Then, far too often, our choices make the situation worse. If only we would recall there is always hope.
Hopelessness may be where you are today. If so, maybe God is using your struggle to shape you into a person who is more like Christ. You want to go from Point A to Z, but B, F, and P have some valuable lessons. No matter the reason, and no matter how hopeless we may feel, there is always hope.
When those doubts sink in, and your bright skies begin to fade, remember these three ways to bring hope to the hopeless.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
My parents used to say I had “selective amnesia” when disobeying their rules as a kid. In reality, I would forget their commands for lack of paying attention. Their made-up term better describes how I respond to God, knowing what’s true but choosing to “forget” instead. How often do all of us know what Scripture says about God’s love for us, but we give more credence to our situations anyway?
The way we restore hope for others, and ourselves, is by remembering His love, His provision, His blessings, and His everything. We can accomplish this through reading the Bible, memorizing and reciting verses, accountability, and more. If we don’t recall the good God has done on our behalf, fighting off the negative thoughts is going to prove challenging, even impossible. However, when we compare our situations to God’s Word, suddenly, our spiritual ailments are not as bad.
God did not design us to be alone. He designed us for community. This truth applied to Adam way back when and applies to you and me today (Genesis 2:18). God’s desire for human companionship becomes all the clearer when we face trials and tribulations. Some situations are just too much for us to stand on our own. Divorce. Death. Illness. Aging. No one is completely independent. No one can go through life without needing the help of someone else. With this in mind, one solution to hopelessness is the encouragement of others. They can remind you of God’s goodness and point out how a bad mindset is leading you to go astray.
Hopelessness can be a powerful feeling, like a rain cloud that hovers over you no matter where you go. This seemingly unending quality of hopelessness could explain why Paul says to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulations, and be constant in prayer” (Romans 12:12). Finding hope requires effort on our part because, for many of us, hopelessness comes naturally. Forgetting the truth comes naturally, but remembering takes effort. And prayer helps us remember.
We would do well to recall Paul’s words, to pray without ceasing, and without holding back. We don’t pray to inform God, He already knows; rather, we pray to conform ourselves to His image. Prayer gives us the guidance and awareness we need to seek God despite what we’re going through. Prayer offers an emotional release, a reminder that God is not just with us, but He will strengthen us enough to overcome whatever comes our way. Prayer reminds us that there is hope.
How do we know there is always hope? We know God. We know His promises. We know He hears us. We know His love. Now, don’t be confused. Hopelessness may one day return, today, or tomorrow, a year from now. Whenever the dreary feeling comes back, just remember there is hope for the hopeless. There is always hope for the hopeless.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/imtmphoto
Aaron D'Anthony Brown is a freelance writer, hip-hop dance teacher, and visual artist, living in Virginia. He currently contributes work to iBelieve, Crosswalk, and supports various clients through the platform Upwork. He's an outside-the-box thinker with a penchant for challenging the status quo. Check out his short story “Serenity.”