I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to that have said they are at the end of their rope. If I’m being honest, I am in and out of that state of mind as well. However, the moment I start feeling sorry for myself, I am reminded that there are a lot of people who are barely holding on, or who have let go entirely.
Who can blame them? We have been through a tough decade and it seems like any bright spots get eclipsed by the next tragedy, conflict or health scare. It doesn’t matter what or who’s “side” you are on, life has been a beat down and the silver lining often seems more like a gray smudge that is easily wiped off.
However, there has never been a time in my life where I have needed hope like I need hope today. I read this quote recently that hit me in the feels:
“To live without hope is to cease to live.” Fyodor Dostoevsky
Living your life without hope as a part of it, is no way to live. However, hope can sometimes be elusive and more of an abstract concept can’t it? Hope, much like the word love, is used in a variety of contexts that can leave us confused. We all say things like “I hope you have a good day.” or “I hope it doesn’t rain today” and maybe even “I hope I have some tasty nachos for lunch today.” Maybe you wouldn’t say that last one, especially using the word “tasty”, but I’m hungry right now so I threw it in.
My point is, hope can lose meaning after awhile if we use it to say “this might happen or this might not happen.” That sort of takes the power out of the word hope doesn’t it?
Another way to look at hope is to have an attitude of “I am speaking this into existence.” Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as it is followed by some kind of action. I think words have power and the more you attempt to live into them, the more you will probably begin to take steps to make that a reality. That being said, this too could turn into disappointment and dashed dreams if it never materializes. It may seem like blind optimism or worse, toxic positivity.
So if these aren’t examples of hope, how do we find it?
I’ve always found it helpful to think of hope as expectation.
For me, it is the expectation of something good that is built on the reality of who I believe God to be and what He is capable of. That hope is also built on what God has already done in my life. They say that hindsight is 20/20 and when I look back on what God has done in my life, particularly in 2020, I see that He has been with me every step of the way even though it was extremely difficult.
Today I sat down to write just one blog post on how I find hope when I am at the end of my rope. What actually happened is I planned out weeks and weeks of content on how to find hope in hopeless circumstances. I think we all need that. I know I do. The truth is, I wrote this for me just as much as I wrote it for you.
Now I could just move on and tell you to tune in next week for the first installment of that series but instead, I’d like to leave you with something.
Hope is found in suffering. As a matter of fact, it is the direct result of enduring suffering while holding on to God with all of your strength. The Apostle puts it like this:
“And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 5:3-5
It is through the act of trusting God and then putting one foot in front of the other, that hope is developed in you.
I especially appreciate how Paul phrases the last sentence of this verse. It is “because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.” I like that because it shows how God’s love for us goes hand in hand with hope. That love is given through the Holy Spirit who guides us through our suffering and trials. His presence is proof of God’s love for us and through our trust in Him, hope begins to grow. It starts as an inkling of hope but when put into action, it creates momentum.
Suffering is where hope goes from being a seedling to a full grown tree.
Hope exists during good times and bad. However, when we are at the end of our ropes, we need hope like someone who is starving needs a crumb or someone who is dying of thirst needs a drop of water. Every single ounce of hope matters and is appreciated.
We thrive on hope during difficult circumstances.
It is the act of hoping while suffering that strengthens our hope muscles. The encouragement I can give you is that the suffering you are experiencing is a greenhouse for hope, if you allow it to grow it will.
That’s all for today. I’ll talk to you next week. May God’s love and peace be with you my friends.