How To Stop Giving Up And Find Hope
…. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33, KJV
Question: Is there anything which can be described as an absolutely hopeless situation as long as God is alive? This, of course, means that you take His existence by faith, something that is not too difficult for most people. Hebrews 11:6 in the New Testament says that “anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
“All right,” you may concede, “I can accept that premise, but the real question is, ‘How do I connect with Him in changing a hopeless situation into one where there is just a glimmer of hope?'”
On numerous occasions when Christ was upon earth, He encountered hopeless situations which were caused by disease, death, despair, or absolutely impossible circumstances. He responded by saying, “Be of good cheer,” or as some modern translations put it, “Be of good courage” or “Take heart.” He refused to accept the despair of the obvious because He knew something of God’s power to change the circumstances.
When you lose hope, you accept the status quo; you pour concrete around the perimeter of your despair. You simply give up on things ever being any different. If, of course, there were no God and you were a victim of fate or the victim of someone’s evil intentions, there would be reason to give up hope. But as long as there is life and God, there is hope. No situation is final, and nothing is fatal apart from the despair of hopelessness itself. I say that, based upon the repeated encounter of faith with hopelessness as it is recorded in the pages of God’s Word, the Bible.
Ten times in the King James translation of the Bible you will encounter the phrase, Be of good cheer, and seven of those times, the phrase is associated with an impossible situation. (See Matthew 9:2; 9:22; 14:27; Mark 6:50; John 16:33; Acts 23:11; Acts 27:22, 25).
Paul was involved in a shipwreck which Luke describes in the 27th chapter of the book of Acts. Driven by a merciless, northeasterly wind, the ship on which Paul was a passenger was driven towards the rocks. For a while, those on board pinned their hopes on four anchors which they hoped would hold. They didn’t. And gradually their hopes gave way to despair.
Paul challenged the circumstances, saying, “…be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me” (Acts 27:25, KJV). The New International Version puts it, “So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God.”
When the ship of your life is driven towards the rocks, can you say, “Keep up your courage because I believe in God!”? You can. Now back to that question, “How do you connect with God when you feel tempted to give up hope?’
Guideline #1: First, go back to the Bible and claim the promises of God. These, of course, must be taken by faith. Realizing that God is absolutely just and fair and that He has no favorites, helps you realize that the promises of God extend to you personally in your need. Underline those promises and believe them.
Guideline #2: In simple faith, commit yourself to the care and keeping of your heavenly Father. This means, naturally, that if you are not God’s child, you begin by asking Him to receive you and to forgive you of your sin. He will, and then begin to walk like a child of the King.
Guideline #3: Commit to Him what you cannot change and ask Him for His grace and strength to not only survive but to conquer.
Gradually, your despair will turn to hope.
Resource reading: Acts 27:9-42.