How Do You Find Hope When Overwhelmed by Hopelessness?
Posted Dec 02 2012 12:43pm
“For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” (Romans 8:24-25)
I think that out of all the bad feelings one can have in this life, hopelessness has to be the worst. It causes us to lose our motivation for even the simplest things in life, like eating or taking care of ourselves. It can feel like a black cloud has enveloped you and that there is no end in sight. Life becomes harder than usual, and as much as others may try to help us, their words fall on deaf ears.
For those who struggle with illness and pain, these feelings of hopelessness can be overwhelming. Before I was finally diagnosed several years ago with having a rare disease called Primary Immune Deficiency, I was feeling utterly hopeless. Even though I knew the Lord and had walked with Him for many years, the not knowing what was going wrong with my body really scared me.
Instead of trusting God, I allowed that black cloud to close in on me and it felt like God had walked away from me, leaving me alone to struggle with the hundreds of questions I had that seemed to have no answers. It didn’t help that the doctors I went to had no answers either. And the answers they did have seemed so canned and made up, as if they just wanted me to be done with my office visit and go home. Some of them did show compassion and concern, but the fact that even they couldn’t figure out what was going on seemed to only make things worse.
One day when I was really in a bad place, emotionally, I felt God tell me to go to my Bible, which had laid unopened for many, many weeks. I hadn’t read it because I felt as if it didn’t make a difference and all it did was remind me of how hopeless I felt and how God wasn’t giving me any answers.
He led me to 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 which says,
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
As I read this, I realized that my hope had been on the wrong thing. I had placed my hope on man finding the answer to my problems rather than on trusting in God. I repented before God and asked his forgiveness for allowing hopelessness to become an idol in my life and allowing it to replace my faith and trust in Him.
I’d love to be able to say that I was soon diagnosed, but it actually did take longer than that. But on the day I finally received my answer and was able to begin treatment, I knew that He was finally answering my prayer–but only after I had learned the lesson I had needed to learn.
Unfortunately, my disease requires that my treatment will be daily for the rest of my life, but rather than focusing on the inconvenience of spending four and a half hours every day giving myself my infusion, I am now choosing to thank God for the medicine and that the sense of renewed hope that I had lost for so long has returned. I believe He knew that I needed to learn that my hope has to be in Him, and Him alone.
I’ve learned that without Him in my life, all there is is hopelessness. God is hope, that’s what He offers and that’s who He is.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I pray that whenever I get feeling down or discouraged that you’ll remind me that you are a God of hope and possibilities. Help to remember that it is I who allow myself to become hopeless when I focus on my problems rather than on you. Amen.
About the author
Fiona Burky is a retired Licensed Clinical Counselor who lives in Ohio. It is only by God’s grace and strength that she has been able to endure her multiple health issues. You may view her blog at: http://fionab-growingbeyondyourpainfulpast.blogspot.com
When you are anxious with feelings of hopelessness, music can make a significant difference. We hope you enjoy “Your Love Never Fails with lyrics” by Jesus Culture.