Have you ever thought it’s a bad idea to continue to have hope, because of all the hurt you’ve been through in the past? You’re not alone. Many of us of have experienced rejection, abandonment, and even abuse. The promises we believed (and hoped for) were broken and we were left feeling foolish for ever having hope in the first place. Maybe your hopes were crushed by the untimely loss of a loved one. Or maybe you continue to watch someone you love lost to a life of darkness and despair. Maybe you’ve endured a betrayal by someone you trusted or seen God give a clear “No” to a prayer that you ached for Him to say “Yes” to.
When disappointment and pain strike our lives, we feel deep sorrow that stems from feelings of loss or abandonment. The weight of the sadness can seem too heavy to bear. We try to toughen our hearts and spirits so we’ll be somehow stronger, less likely to be hurt again. We build walls. We punish ourselves, feeling foolish for having hope in the first place. We promise ourselves we won’t have hope like that again because we don’t want to end up feeling foolish.
But there’s another way to live. The Bible shows us it’s okay to have hope. In fact, the Bible shows us the wisdom of choosing hope over despair. Let’s look at the story of Joseph. (Not the Joseph who was Jesus’ earthly father, the Joseph with the coat of many colors.) You can go to Genesis chapter 37 for the start of his story. Read all the way through chapter 50 to catch up on the rest. To make a long story short: Joseph was sold by his jealous brothers into slavery, deserted by his family, falsely accused and punished for doing the right thing, and endured a long prison sentence. He experienced rejection, abuse, betrayal, slavery, and imprisonment. However, Joseph’s story does not end there. His story is one of transformation from slave to governor of Egypt.
Joseph could have become angry, bitter, and depressed, but instead he chose to have hope. His hope was in the hope that never ends; the hope that only God and His faithfulness can provide. The Lord was with Joseph—right in the middle of his disappointments. Look at this verse from Genesis 39:21 NLT But the Lord was with Joseph in the prison and showed him his faithful love. And the Lord made Joseph a favorite with the prison warden. God was with Joseph and He’s with us, too. Joseph chose to respond to his pain by staying close to God, the source of faithful love. We can have hope—no matter what life throws at us—when we cling to God like Joseph did.
God wants to give us such confidence in our relationship with Him that we can be free to have hope and not fear being disappointed by Him. It is true that the disappointments we experience in this life are certain to come, but they don’t have to shatter us. In fact, we can get to a place in our walk with God that we find ourselves thankful for the rough patches in life because we know they’re helping us to build our faith and endurance! The Bible teaches us that that kind of endurance leads to character. And that kind of character leads to (you guessed it) more godly hope! And our hope in God will never lead to disappointment.
To have hope is to rejoice in the promises of God. To have hope is to believe God is good even when we do not see an answer. To have hope is to see light even in darkness. To have real hope, we must hope in the Lord and His goodness! As we turn from our despair and begin to have hope, God is powerful and loving enough to lift our burdens and mend our broken hearts. If we trust and have hope in God, we will never be let down. Still not convinced?
4 More Reasons We Can Always Have Hope in God
- He loves us. “… I have loved you with an everlasting love. …” Jeremiah 31:3 NLT
- He renews us. But those who hope in the Lᴏʀᴅ will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
- He restores us. And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 NIV
- He’s working things together for good. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him … Romans 8:28 NIV
Believe it or not, your life is a love story written by the mighty hand of God. The hurts and tragedies of your life do not define you any more than they did Joseph. You know where he ended up? He was given a high position of leadership in the very land where he was sold into slavery. He ended up saving the people there from death by famine. His brothers who sold him? They returned and begged forgiveness. Joseph’s response? He said, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Joseph never lost sight of God’s goodness and love for him—no matter how dark his life got.
We must allow the unfailing promise of God’s everlasting love to strengthen our confidence. Choose to have hope on a minute-by-minute basis in the midst of trials, challenges, and setbacks, and even through your hectic schedule. It’s through having hope that we move forward, and it’s in moving forward that we discover the beautiful and everlasting love of God.