The Danger of Going Through Life Without Hope
One day when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw a post from a fellow preacher who shared that he was talking to a middle-school student on a particular day. This young person said that she didn’t want to live past her 20’s because people her age do not have much of anything to look forward to.
That really struck a chord with me, and it got me thinking about how many people are going through life without hope. More specifically, how many people are struggling because they are traversing through life without hope in JESUS? Unfortunately, there are a staggering number of people who don’t have a strong foundation in Christ, which has led to a whole host of problems.
According to the CDC, the rate of suicide among those aged 10 to 24 increased nearly 60% between 2007 and 2018. The suicide rate increased from 6.8 per 100,000 in 2007 to 10.7 in 2018 . Not only that, but the pandemic has led to increased levels of symptoms of anxiety, depression, substance use, and suicidal ideation among US adults .
Additionally, The Barna Group conducted a study that revealed almost half of US 18-35 year olds (49%) expressed anxiety over important decisions and were afraid to fail. Over 3 in 10 said they often felt sad or depressed (39%), or lonely and isolated from others (34%) .
Biblical Hope Can Change the Narrative
It’s readily apparent that there are a great number of people who are struggling with issues that have led to them causing serious harm to their bodies. Moreover, the mental health crisis is also unavoidable and has been exacerbated by the pandemic. I’m no psychologist or counselor, but I can tell you that one of the main reasons why some people have suicidal thoughts or struggle with bouts of depression is because they lack hope. There is a real danger in going through life without it. Hope is an anchor; without it, we are like ships at sea, just drifting away (Heb. 6:19).
I think we can all agree that all of us need hope. Perhaps two of the saddest words in any language are “no hope.” We sometimes feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and stressed. School can make students feel hopeless. Unhealthy relationships can cause serious headaches. Work strain can drive our blood pressure up and our patience down . The hope that we need is not the hope that’s defined by the world, where I cross my fingers and “hope” for a good outcome. No, biblical hope—more specifically—hope in Jesus, is what the entire world needs. Biblical hope not only desires a thing, it also expects it .
It’s Jesus who the prophets of old looked forward to (John 8:56-59; 1 Pet. 1:10-11). It’s Jesus who restored hope in the lives of so many people while He fulfilled His earthly ministry (Matt. 8:5-13; Mark 3:1-6; John 9:1-25). And it’s Jesus who has promised to return in order to take every Christian that hopes in Him home to glory (Acts 1:9-11; Phi. 3:20; 1 Thes. 4:13-18).
The Power of Hope
Hope is powerful. It can allow us to have a joyful disposition that is solely because of the confidence we have in our Lord (Rom. 12:12; Phi. 4:4). Every one of us have bad days where we’ve had a stressful day at work/school, we’ve lost a loved one, we or one of our family members have been given some unfortunate news, and the list goes on. But what keeps us going? What gives us the moral certainty that tomorrow will be better? HOPE.
The word “hope” occurs 143 times in 134 verses in the New King James Bible and 69 times in 61 verses in the New Testament. Here’s the point: people are looking for hope in things that don’t provide any substance instead of turning to the Bible that teaches us WHO to put our hope in.
The psalmist writes, “Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You'' (Psalm 39:7, NKJV). When we are anxious about what will happen tomorrow, lost about what decision to make regarding a certain thing, or just simply at our wits end, we should come back to center and put our hope in the One who is steadfast and cares about what we are going through (1 Pet. 5:7).
How to Build a Hope-filled Foundation
So, how does one rise up from the pits of despair and build their hope in something of substance? Hopefully this short list of tips will help:
Read and study your Bible daily. Internalize the scripture you’re reading.
Reading your Bible is one thing, but studying what the text you are reading means and how it relates to your life gives way to a deeper appreciation of God’s word. The psalmist writes in Psalms 119:15,16:
15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And contemplate Your ways.
16 I will delight myself in Your statutes; I will not forget Your word.
Studying God’s word (and especially doing a deep dive on the passages that deal with hope) will help in building a hope-filled foundation.
Talk (pray) to the God of heaven on a regular basis.
How often do you communicate with God? Are you like Daniel who prayed to Him three times a day (Dan. 6:10)? Do you think about how you want to approach the Master? If not, then ask yourself, “why not?” If you are searching for hope, you should talk to the One who supplies us with it. In truth, He will give us what we need as long as it aligns with His will (Phi. 4:19).
Make a journal and constantly reflect on why you have hope.
I think self-reflection (meditation) and repetition does the human psyche a world of good. If you don’t remind yourself why you have hope then it’s easy to become less appreciative of the One who gave us hope, and you will begin to have a negative outlook on life. I’m able to rest easy at night because I constantly remind myself who my hope is stored up in—JESUS.
This is by no means a checklist. These are just a couple of tips that will hopefully help you on your journey to living a hope-filled life. When you think everything is crumbling around you, take a step back, breathe, and remember that we have a Savior who is responsible for the hope that is within us. Jesus is bigger than anything we’re going through. Placing our faith in Him will always work out in our favor.
Hymn of the day - “My Hope is Built on Nothing Less”
My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus Christ, my righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace;
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood;
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.
When He shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh, may I then in Him be found;
In Him, my righteousness, alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.