When was the last time you looked through the keyhole of life, what did you see, perhaps a world lost without hope? Many of us have been around awhile having most likely seen many things the world has to offers us. You know things like being in the midst of a rough marriage, a health crisis, a job loss, financial difficulties, or some addiction all courtesy of this beautiful world in which we live. Most of us grew up and were educated with lessons of right from wrong because the adults in our life did their best teaching us while at the same time instilling an all-important moral compass in us, but as we grew up, we often saw the exact opposite. Confusion creeps in when we see the world positively acknowledging attitudes and approving the very behaviors, we learned all our lives are wrong.
We live in a world where the societal norms, morals, and values, are always changing, and forming our beliefs on them is like walking in a marsh. When you consider marriage, personal relationships, gender identity, money, and everything else people may take into account important in life, what was not okay yesterday is fine today, but hang on because it could change again tomorrow. Does any of this sound familiar to you; maybe as you are reading this, the biggest thing you are battling is simply the fact that you are stuck in a rut, you are fading fast. The fact is you may have already lost hope, and once you stop hoping, you stop caring. Nevertheless, wait a minute I am a Christian, do Christians lose hope, you bet we can. We stop hoping for several reasons.
We stop hoping because we allow people to suck the hope out of us. Just because someone tells us, something is true, no matter how authoritative the person may appear, it does not make it right. Growing up, our parents occasionally reminded us that just because everyone else does something does not make it right. The world seems to have forgotten that truth, but God has not. His Word does not change. We see in Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us”
Imagine yourself getting ready to start your day; you begin your morning by spending some time in prayer. You leave your house in a very active and upbeat fashion, ready for the day and trusting God. Then it happens you bump into someone, and the person says to you, “I am so sorry to hear of your misfortune I know how you must feel, I would be so depressed too if I were you. You must feel horrible. How long have you been sick, divorced, unemployed, or whatever?” You were so full of hope, but they drained you of every ounce of any hope you thought you had.
What establishes itself uppermost in our minds is strongly influenced by what, or who, we focus our attention. The devil is constantly trying to get us to take our eyes off Jesus, and refocus on the turmoil in the world all the things going on all around us. He knows if he can capture our attention, he can poison our mind and apprehend our hearts. An unguarded heart is easily overcome by unregulated worldly ideas making it a breeding ground for immoral chaos nothing more than a cesspool of unbridled desires. We stop hoping because sometimes it is just too hard to hope.
We stop hoping because it often hurts to hope. Hope does not come naturally you have to cultivate it. When you consider, nobody has to work at negativity it just shows up, when you answer the phone, browse Facebook or turn on the television. You have to discipline your mind to think differently. The Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” Proverbs 13:12. When we hope, we make our hearts vulnerable to being disappointed. Inevitably, people let us down, and when they do if we are honest with ourselves, it hurts.
Are you surrounding yourself with people who have hope, or people who suck the hope out of you? Maybe you lost hope because you were hopeful for God to do something, but you feel He let you down because you have not seen it yet. So you are not praying anymore, and you have allowed you heart to become hardened towards the things of God.
The world believes everyone is helpless and can only see a hopeless end, believing when you are dead you are done. However, as Christ-followers we see an endless hope, this hope lives not just in eternity, but here and now as God meets needs, answers prayer, carries burdens, forgives sin, changes lives, and increases joy as we journey to that endless hope. We are reminded in Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”. We must always remember Hebrews 13:8-9 “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so.