Summary: How do you maintain your hope during discouraging times?
HOPE IN DISCOURAGING TIMES
"Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for," Job 6:8.
Job was a man to whom everything seemed to be going on well. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, one tragedy after another besieged him. Before he could make sense of what was happening, it was all over. Job became an object of mockery, and false accusation. He had lost everything in one day. Still Job remained hopeful in the Lord: “For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its tender shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root may grow old in the earth, and its stump may die in the ground, 9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud and bring forth branches like a plant.” Job 14:7-9. As long as one is grounded and rooted in Christ, there's a possibility of rising again.
"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." Psalm 42:11.
David was greatly troubled. He had challenges on every side. Many times he felt discouraged, abandoned and alone. But David refused to stay down. In 1 Samuel 30:1-6, he and his men had just returned to Ziklag when they discovered their camp had been burned to the ground. The Amalekites had taken all of their wives, children and possessions. In the midst of the losses, David’s own trusted men started talking about killing him. Yet David encouraged himself in the Lord. He pressed into God and found strength. David refused to wallow in self-pity! He ran to the Lord and was encouraged. Are you facing challenges today? Even in the darkest nights of troubles, betrayal and sorrow, there is still hope. Psalm 30:5.
"Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand." Isaiah 41:10.
Delay in answer to prayers can cause discouragement. The Oxford dictionary defines the word discouragement as ‘a loss of confidence or enthusiasm; dispiritedness.’ It can be described as demoralization, despondency or low spirits. The opposite of discouragement is encouragement and to encourage means to ‘give support, confidence, or hope to.’ It can also mean to ‘uplift, invigorate, fortify or embolden.’ We are discouraged when there's a gap between what we expect and what we experience; when there is a gap between what we hoped would happen and what actually does happen. Discouragement takes your eyes and focus away from the Lord, and His Word. It undermine your resolve and can even cause you to forsake your purpose. Discouragement can cause you to give up on your goal and dreams.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12.
One cause of discouragement is deferred hope. Perhaps you have been believing God for something and it does not seem imminent. Maybe you've fasted and prayed, yet the answer seems delayed. Have you given up and lost hope that your situation will improve? Deferred hope makes the heart sick. It leads to frustration, despair. So when your expectation is delayed or postponed, look to the Lord: “And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you” Psalm 39:7. When you place your hope in Christ alone, you won’t be disappointed. Hebrews 6:19. Deferred hope is not denied hope. "Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord." Psalm 31:24. A delay is not denial. God may seem silent but that doesn’t mean He's far away. God's always at work behind the scenes. Therefore we must not give up. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1. Hope is the fuel that keeps faith alive. Faith help us to stand on the promise of God we’re hoping for.
WHAT IS HOPE:
“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.
There is a common saying: "while there is life there is hope." Meaning as long as we are alive and breathing, there is still hope. The human idea of hope is “to wish for something without certainty of its fulfillment or coming to pass."
But in the Bible, hope is different because of the one through whom hope comes. It carries an expectation that the outcome will actually come to pass. The Biblical hope is more than daydreaming, wishes or desiring. The believers hope is rooted in Jesus Christ. Our hope is a reflection of the trust we have in God and our confidence in His Word. Hope is looking expectantly towards the future based on our faith in God. When we have hope, we can navigate the turbulent storms of life without despair. When we hope in God, we find the confidence and strength to face any challenge that comes our way. Hope in the Lord teaches us patience. It brings encouragement. A word of hope can turn the thoughts of discouragement and give us the courage to believe again. Hope is an unshakable trust in God, despite life's circumstances. God is our hope! He has promised to deliver us. Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. It is the belief that circumstances in the future will be better. Hope is joyful and confident expectation! Hope is the belief things will work, especially when it seems otherwise. It help us to stay calm and peaceful when something less than desirable happens. Hope enables you to keep pressing on till you get your desired result. It is believing when things looks hopeless. Hope help us to hold on when we face tough times. It is to look forward with confidence or expectation.