Hope- Where To Find It
In this time of Covid-19 lockdown, it has been reported that the use of antidepressants has skyrocketed. There has also been an increase in suicides as people feel more and more isolated. This is due to loss of worth and hope. There are lots of psychiatric interventions for this but they all boil down to where can I find hope for my life?
I can only share where I have found my hope for life. If we put our hope for joy and purpose in things of this life, we are bound to be disappointed. We get stuck in lockdown and are separated from our friends. We lose our job and can’t make house or car payments and so lose them. It begins to feel there is no reason to live because there will never be joy again. I experienced this in my early years of marriage. There were some circumstances that I knew I could not live with yet it felt like I was stuck there forever. I lost all hope and began to plan my only way out, suicide. I am a very determined person and smart enough to figure out how to do the job effectively so I was in a very dangerous state of mind.
Fortunately for me, I had been taught to make a habit of reading the Bible every day. I knew, at least in my head, that God was trustworthy but my heart just couldn’t connect with that because of my unbearable circumstances.
One day I read Psalm 43:5 where David says to himself, “Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance, (the look on my face) and my God.” I thought about David who was anointed to be king of Israel, God’s clear purpose for him yet he had to run for his life for years living in very rough circumstances and even being surrounded and trapped in a cave by King Saul and his army who were seeking to kill him. That must have really seemed hopeless but David told his soul not his head to hope in God. So, what did I know about God? 1) God loved me enough to give up everything He had to rescue me from sin and eternal death so I had to believe He loved me even now. Was His love good enough for me? That was kind of a dumb question but I had to choose to believe the answer was yes. So, a tiny spark of hope flickered for a few seconds. 2) I read Isaiah 61:3a That the Lord wants to give me good news about what is making me brokenhearted. He wants to set me free from the feeling of being imprisoned in darkness and comfort me in my mourning. He wants to give me a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. I wondered how I should put on that garment of praise because actually I was pretty mad at God that things weren’t the way I wanted them to be. I figured you could put on a coat even if you didn’t like it. So, I chose to praise God out loud for anything I could think of. At first, it wasn’t much. All I could even think was, “Well I’m breathing I guess I could thank him for that”. But I found the more I did that the more I began to see things I actually felt grateful for. I also played joyful music with themes of how good God is and how much He loves me. The more I focused on gratefulness for His love the more I began to feel loved. The more I felt loved the more sparks of hope were struck.
3) It was then that I was ready to accept Romans 8:28 that we know that all things work together for good to those who love God. Not all things ARE good but all things WORK TOGETHER for good. But there was a requirement for that “to those who love God”. As I had focused on praising Him for His love to me, I grew in my love for Him so I could now count on some good coming out of my terrible circumstances. I clung to that truth and to God like a drowning person to a life ring. And little by little hope grew until one day it didn’t matter anymore if things changed. My love relationship with My Creator and Savoir filled me completely full and I not only had hope I had joy even in difficult circumstances. Now, this didn’t happen in a split second. It took faithfulness to putting on that garment of praise and loving on God and willingness to believe He truly loved me. But forty-some years later I can say I have never been in that depressed state since, even though I’ve gone through lots of tough times.
So, I encourage you to let go of being mad at God and choose to praise Him and love on Him and receive His love back. You will find hope growing inside you and even come to joy!