When things seem hopeless, we get to choose how we will respond. How do we maintain our hope and faith when situations look hopeless? We can employ the same strategies Abraham used. God richly rewarded him for his obedience and he is now known as the father of faith.
A reader sent in a question to Ask Dr. B.
Dear Dr. B
Have you ever had one of those days (weeks, months or years even) when things just seemed to go from not great to bad to worse? When things felt hopeless? That’s where I’m at. What do you do then?
I’ve had plenty of times like that, when life just seems to spin out of control. And I like to be in control. So times like that don’t mesh well with my personality.
If I’m being open and honest with you, I’d have to admit that sometimes my initial response isn’t the best response. I’ve often gotten tied up in frustration. Or agitation. Or anxiety…which has often then led to me feeling overwhelmed. If the situation has gone on too long, I’ve been known to get down, sometimes to the point of feeling hopeless.
Let me assure you from my own experience, you are not alone. And even though it felt like it at the time, neither was I. Many go through times like this in their life. The good news is that God promises never to leave us or forsake us.
Life has a way of throwing us curves, and sometimes mountains and valleys. Circumstances and situations will come out of nowhere like a summer thunderstorm in Florida, leaving us soaked and beaten down.
I’ve found, however, that whatever we focus on grows.
So when I focus on how bad things are, before long, all I can see is the bad. But when I focus on the goodness of God, the more I experience His good heart toward me.
I’m comforted to see that God knew we would struggle and He gave us His word to instruct us and guide us, and godly men to lead by example.
“When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he could do” (Romans 4:18 MSG).
Abraham led by example, and acts as a guide to us today. When things seemed hopeless, he responded with these three strategies:
How do you have faith when things seem hopeless?
1. When he was hopeless, he believed anyway, despite what he saw and felt in his human experience.
It’s been said that faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Abraham maintained his faith, kept believing in the sovereignty of God, in the provision of God, in the faithfulness of God even when he didn’t see.
What do you do when your situation seems hopeless?
2. When everything around him was hopeless, Abraham was intentional.
He believed anyway and made a decision on how he was going to live.
When crises come, they are more easily managed when we’ve already decided ahead of time how we will respond. We can’t trust our emotions when we’re feeling anxious, down, or helpless, so deciding ahead of time how we will respond will buoy our strength when the hurricanes of life threaten to take us under.
How can we have hope when everything looks hopeless?
3. When everything in life looked hopeless, Abraham focused his attention on God rather than his problems.
Abraham decided to live his life based on what God could do rather than what Abraham could do in his own strength. He believed God was greater than his circumstance.
Remember I said that whatever we focus on grows? Abraham focused on God and what God could do. And God did not disappoint. God rewarded Abraham’s faithfulness and made him a father of nations.
So when things seem hopeless, remember we can’t see the whole scenario from beginning to resolution. But God can. Focus on the solver of your problems rather than on the problems themselves.
Because of Him, Hope Prevails!
Depression doesn’t have to become a permanent part of life.
There is hope.
Hope Prevails: Insights From a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through Depression and the companion Hope Prevails Bible Study help the reader understand how depression comes to be, recover their joy, reclaim their peace, and re-establish their true identity, while knowing their worth, remembering their secure destiny, and being confident that nothing separates them from God’s love.
“If you or a loved one are walking through the valley of depression, be encouraged that you are not alone. Dr. Michelle Bengtson has provided a powerful resource to help you on your journey toward hope. It is a personal and positive book, as you learn from Dr. Bengtson’s own story as well as her practical knowledge in the field. I love how she shares a prescription, a prayer and a playlist at the end of each chapter to give you an extra boost of strength. Hope Prevails is a must read for every person who struggles with depression.”
Author of Thrive, Don’t Simply Survive