If you asked people what essential qualities contribute to a good life, what might they say? Perhaps peace of mind, excellent health, contentment and happiness, fulfillment, financial and physical security, and close relationships with family and friends would top the list.
Yet actually experiencing these can prove difficult amid troubling conditions. Even so, as English poet Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast”—meaning that in spite of impediments and complications, people often remain hopeful that they will ultimately realize their wants and desires.
While this aspiration is beneficial, the obstacles people face can be overwhelming at times—resulting in genuine needs going unfulfilled. Perhaps you are among the many today experiencing such dilemmas in your personal life. These may include: marital, family or financial distresses; lengthy periods of instability; living with illness or pain; losing employment or housing; suffering isolation, loneliness or rejection; trouble connecting emotionally with others; a medical diagnosis of serious illness; the breakup of a relationship.
When disconcerting issues like these go unresolved, especially after long periods of waiting and hoping, deep discouragement may set in, leading people into a hopeless feeling that there’s no point in trying any longer. Some may even follow with acts of self-harm or suicide.
And on top of the personal challenges, society is spiraling downward. Many well-established values and standards have been severely weakened or abandoned. And various government and corporate institutions formerly looked on as dependable are no longer seen as worthy of confidence. The growing disarray can further discourage people and rob them of the confidence needed to achieve a stable and reliable future.
Where then, as troubles pile up and an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and desperation sets in to crush people, can they find real, lasting hope?
The hope that conquers hopelessness
Is there a genuine cure for the frustration and emptiness that threatens to leave people depressed, bitter and defeated?
There is, in fact, a marvelous remedy for this condition. It involves a hope that goes far beyond the kind of hope most people are familiar with. It’s the divine hope of salvation and eternal life, which can only come from the Eternal Creator. This hope from God is one of three great Christian virtues listed by the apostle Paul, the others being love and faith (1 Corinthians 13:13). The hope God offers protects our minds (1 Thessalonians 5:8) so powerfully that, when a person employs it, hopelessness is repelled—even when facing major adversities.
God’s hope can overpower and conquer hopelessness by completely breaking the heavy chains of doubt and discouragement Satan the devil uses to keep us trapped in a life of gloom, selfishness and sin. God’s great hope lifts heavy burdens so we no longer have to carry them all alone (Matthew 11:28-30; 1 Peter 5:7; Psalms 55:22; Psalms 68:19).
The hope God supplies can supplement a person’s mere human strength with His mighty divine energy—so we can contend with life’s disturbing situations capably and confidently. It is far and away superior to any human-generated positive thinking.
The hope of God brings real joy and love into people’s lives (Romans 12:12; 15:13). Being sure, firm and absolute, it can help us look confidently past the hardships of this physical life and, yes, even beyond the grave by means of the resurrection from the dead (2 Corinthians 4:18; 1 Peter 1:3).
While human hope is a wish for something without the certainty of fulfillment, the hope God furnishes will never leave people disheartened if they remain faithful (Hebrews 3:6; 6:11–12). As Romans 5:5 declares: “And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love” (New Living Translation).
Following Jesus Christ’s perfect example
But how can you come to experience this? How can you have full assurance that, during the toughest and darkest periods you encounter in life, God will be with you every step of the way?
You must come to understand what Jesus Christ did for you and the path of life He laid out for you to follow Him on. He experienced the crushing blows of human brutality and came out triumphant by freeing you and all people from the threat of eternal death resulting from sin (John 3:16). When He went through horrible scourging and a torturous death, did Jesus give up hope? He would have if His reliance had been on human hope alone.
But He had perfect spiritual hope that absolutely rejected hopelessness and defeat. This was because He placed His life entirely in His Heavenly Father’s hands—knowing that He would always empower and fortify Him (Deuteronomy 31:6).
So if Jesus never lost hope, should you? Absolutely not if you turn to God in humble repentance and faith, are baptized, receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and build a personal relationship with Jesus Christ living in you through the Spirit as your “hope of glory” (see Acts 2:38; Galatians 2:20; 1 Timothy 1:1; Colossians 1:27).
When you are impacted by life’s adversities, Christ offers you His example of hope over despair (Hebrews 12:2-4). Plus, He will help you bravely confront those trials and aid you in finding a satisfactory way through them (Psalm 46:1). Because Jesus prevailed, He can strengthen you with the hope that is always victorious (John 14:27; 1 Peter 1:3, 13).
Having His same hope can lift your thoughts beyond your immediate troubles to focus on the glorious future in God’s family (Romans 5:2), just as Christ did when He faced the worst time in His life.
When you are threatened by clouds of discouragement, Jesus’ example and the awesome hope He displayed in freeing humanity from the curse of sin can be your motivation to strive for the divine reward God wants to give you (Titus 1:2). The great “hope of salvation” (Lamentations 3:26) is assured if you cling tightly to Jesus Christ and God’s promise to never leave or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).
Ushering you safely into His everlasting Kingdom
It is God’s desire that you be filled with hope and courage—knowing the outcome of your spiritual journey is secure (Psalms 33:18; 146:5). When you rely on His support and remain faithful to Him and His way of life, you can be confident that He will usher you safely into His everlasting Kingdom (Psalms 38:15; 39:7; 2 Peter 1:10-11). With God’s divine hope, you can jettison the hopelessness so many in this world experience and can instead revel in profound joy that you will have a place in God’s spiritual family forever.
Finally, unlike human hope, the exhilarating hope God offers will keep you moving forward confidently when facing trials throughout your life and even beyond the grave (1 Peter 1:3). God’s hope is bold and joyful and radiates total confidence (Isaiah 40:31). Jesus Christ left you the perfect example of hope under pressure
(1 Timothy 4:10). Having risen from the dead, He sits with the Father on the throne of God in heaven and is fully willing to be the Lord of your life to guide, strengthen and sustain you.
Therefore, don’t settle for mere human hope, which can lead to disappointment, discouragement and bitterness. Instead, receive and experience the awesome divine hope that God offers—the hope that can lead you to salvation and eternal life in God’s coming Kingdom. Indeed, He wants you to have and hold onto His wonderful hope—and to remember that when all seems hopeless, hope remains!