We all have those times when the stresses of this world seem overwhelming and we begin to wonder which side is up. When hard times come, how do we overcome hopelessness by fixing our eyes on God’s promises rather than on personal circumstances?
In a recent episode of Your Hope-Filled Perspective podcast, I had a chance to talk with friend Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner about such an experience in her own life. If you missed that episode, you can listen here: When It Feels Like You’re Losing Your Mind – Finding Hope – Episode 109. I asked Sheryl to share a bit more here about overcoming hopelessness with hope and the “truth tool” she uses to find hope.
Overcoming Hopelessness with Hope
By Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner
To abide in hope is not just saying I wish. It’s more than desiring something to come to pass, looking forward to an event or being in a person’s presence. Hope is defined by Webster as “expectation of something desired; thing that gives, or an object of focus.” Hope is more than mere wishful thinking, yet hopelessness can bring on despair, depression and even thoughts of suicide.
Proverbs 13:12 reminds us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” No wonder the Bible approaches hopelessness in a different category from guilt and anxiety or even depression and suicide. Instead of categorizing hopelessness (also known as despair) as a psychological disease, the Bible calls it disobedience. It is refusing to trust God.
Hopefulness is a choice to trust God during impossible circumstances. It is relying on the unchanging attribute of God’s faithfulness. Psalm 37:3 remind us, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” When we find pleasure in God, we give him first place, submit to His plans, and are directed by His hand.
Did you know that over 23 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders, 17.5 struggle with clinical depression, 530,000 attempt suicide, others endure daily feelings of fear and hopelessness? Airline passengers worry about flight safety, patients agonize over the dangers of surgery or deadliness of their conditions, businesspeople fret because of corporate decisions, collegians shudder at the uncertain future of their careers. More than 62 percent of Christians in America are worried about the future and 20 percent are searching for meaning and purpose in life.
Many of us have tried but have found futility in buying more possessions, expecting success to satisfy, achievements to give us accolades, or people to assure us of our purpose. Thankfully, we don’t have to make hope happen for ourselves. The Bible assures us there is real hope. Heb. 11:1 “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Romans 8:24 adds, “hope that is seen is no hope at all.” When we put these two verses together, we see that hope refers to the promises of God, even when the fulfillment of these promises is still in the future and unseen. When we hope in God, we fix our eyes on His promises, rather than on personal circumstances. A Christ-centered hope is a firm foundation for the believer.
How to use the truth as a tool to find hope
The choice is ours – we can gain control over what we think about. We can choose God’s truth, allow God’s Word to renew our minds, and remember God wants to heal us by the power of his Word. If we make the decision to start the process, God will help us take the next steps. With the Holy Spirit’s help, we can be transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Hard times come and hard times go, but God’s promises are forever. Stand up against the lies you have believed about yourself or your circumstances. Start telling yourself the truth. It helps to declare God’s Word aloud. This is no magic incantation; I call this practice a “truth tool” for you (and I) to use to find hope when you’ve lost your mind.
Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I will trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I will not be afraid. What can mortal man do to me?”
Psalm 62:8 “Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
And then we can easily put into practice what Psalm 37:4 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and he will do this.” He is our refuge, our joy, our deliverer, our help, our strength, and our comfort. Abiding in hope is confident expectation for God’s provision. And that, my friend, is worth the wait.
Let’s pray, “Father, Thank you, you send hope when we wait on you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen”
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
How have you found hope in times when hopelessness looms? We’d love to hear how you’ve overcome hopelessness with hope in the comments below.
About Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner:
Sheryl Giesbrecht Turner is a hope addict. She believes God can help anyone who will dare to trust Him. Once a hopeless dope fiend, she is now a dopeless hope-fiend.
Sheryl believes God can help anyone exchange any hurt for hope. A dynamic teacher and motivating leader, Giesbrecht Turner is a delivered drug addict, stage four cancer survivor and former widow. Through these and other life altering challenges, she has allowed God move her to a deep faith, trust and dependence. Her non-profit, From Ashes to Beauty, Inc reaches out to the underserved: widows, orphans, homeless, and helpless through the Bakersfield Rescue Mission and The Blessing Corner and world-wide through ministry partners.
In conjunction with this post and the podcast interview, When It Feels Like You’re Losing Your Mind – Finding Hope – Episode 109. Sheryl Turner is giving away a free copy of her book, It’ll Be Okay: Finding God When Doubt Hides the Truth .
Leave a comment below sharing with us one thing you learned about overcoming hopelessness with hope and you will be entered into the contest.
You could also share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter then comment here to tell us where you shared it and you’ll also be entered into the drawing.
The winner will be selected at random and announced next Monday, May 24, 2021, here on this post. Continental United States only.