A year ago I experienced a season of hopelessness. Several ministry programs I worked with were cut due to budget constraints. For someone with workaholic tendencies (i.e.: me) having little work to do is, well, close to maddening. One of our children was also having a difficult time at school and we seemed completely unable to help them. Then, our other child developed a serious medical disorder, necessitating many medical visits (for those unaware, we live in a developing country, so not exactly where you want your child to experience medical problems). If that was not enough, by November it seemed as if my organization would close entirely, leaving me in a foreign country without a vocational ministry. While I have weathered many storms in my life, I must say that I found myself questioning God on many levels. If God is our hope, where was the hope in that season of my life?
It’s not fun to share a story like that, but I share it to let you in on a little secret: virtually every man in the history of the world has hit a wall of hopelessness. Sometimes we may feel like we are the only ones who have ever questioned God or been trapped in the pit of despair. The truth is, there is hardly a man mentioned at any length in Scripture who did not encounter hopelessness and despair. Adam, Jacob, Joshua, Moses, David, Jonah, Peter, Paul, and the list could go on and on. Every one of them experienced hopelessness. Here is one example of hopelessness from the great prophet Isaiah.
He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes; my soul is bereft of peace; I have forgotten what happiness is; so I say, “My endurance has perished; so has my hope from the Lord.” Remember my affliction and my wanderings, the wormwood and the gall! My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me. Lamentations 3:16-20
Happy stuff right? Here is Isaiah who, like the entirety of Israel, was in the deepest of pits. His hope had perished and he had forgotten anything that could give him hope. Yet, look what he rights in the very next verse:
But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:21-24
How did I get through my time of despair and hopelessness? The same way Isaiah did: I remembered the greatness of God’s love. How God demonstrated His love to all those I previously mentioned who had lost hope. That God sent His Son, Christ Jesus, to die on the Cross to that I can spend a perfect eternity with Him. Amid your darkest struggles remember the greatness and never-ending love God has for you. It is a love that no one can take away, and a love that lasts forever. Always remember: God will always be your hope.