A Living Hope
By Shannon Kay McCoy
First thing in the morning, most people turn on their TV’s and/or their computers to catch the latest news. Headlines featuring civil disobedience, broken families, economic hardship, wars and rumors of wars are just a few of the problems that plague this world. Even the youth, who in past generations were full of life, are so hopeless they feel the answer is suicide. Violence and murder are rampant and increasing. People are living as if there is no hope and no God. The book of Proverbs states, “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained (Proverbs 29:18).” In other words, the absence of hope cultivates lawlessness and destruction.
The Darkness of Hopelessness
Hopelessness is a devastating place to be. It is living in the realm of the impossible. It is characterized by a lack of faith and hope in God. It evokes feelings of depression, discouragement, disillusionment which lead to utter despair. Hopelessness blocks vision for the future. It loses sight of what is true. Present troubles are perceived as insurmountable obstacles that are impossible to overcome. Therefore, nothing can be done to affect the future.
Hopelessness leads to destruction. It results in a lack of discipline which leads to many harmful addictions such as alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs, overeating, and overspending. It alters a person’s personality by producing negative attitudes and thanklessness which affects relationships, personal health, job performance, etc.
Hopelessness destroys personal motivation. A sense of helplessness and pessimism creates the perception that there is no reason to try. Victims of hopelessness lack confidence in performing actions that lead to positive outcomes. Feelings of failure due to self-defeating thought patterns aid in lack of motivation to exert oneself and to produce much effort.
The Power of Hope
Hope is essential for life. It is as essential as feeding our bodies healthy foods. Without healthy foods, our bodies will eventually break down and die. Without hope, our lives will eventually crumble and wither away. But hope does not come out of thin air. The object of our hope is not found in the world nor in humanity. The object of our hope is God. Romans 15:13 says, “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” We know our hope is misplaced when we become hopeless because the object of our hope failed us. Hope in humanity and the material world are not sufficient. People will always disappoint us because we are imperfect. We try to love others, but our love often fails. Material things like money also fail us. The Bible says money makes itself wings like an eagle that flies away (Proverbs 23:5).
Biblical hope is alive. It produces endurance under trial. Perseverance through difficult circumstances only comes from hope in the promises of God. You may be facing problems such as insurmountable debt, personal health issues, difficult relationships, etc., that breed all kinds of emotions and anxieties. It is hope in Jesus Christ that revitalizes your spirit to face the tough challenges of life while patiently pursuing guidance from Him. This kind of hope gives us the motivation to wake up in the morning with a purpose. Hope for tomorrow determines the decisions we make today. Cultivate your relationship with Jesus Christ so that you will have His vision for your life. Guard this hope vigilantly in the power of the Holy Spirit against the wisdom of this world. Jesus Christ empowers us to walk in this living hope.
Shannon Kay McCoy (MABC) is a biblical counselor at Valley Center Church in Southern California. She has a Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from The Master’s College in Santa Clarita, CA and is NANC certified. She is a retreat and conference speaker, author, and guest lecturer at The Master’s College. She is currently pursuing future candidacy for the Ph.D. program in Biblical Counseling at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She blogs at biblicalcounselingcoalition.