Finding Hope in Hard Times

There is a hope that runs deeper than happenstance.

She was screaming so loudly that anyone within 20 feet of my iPhone heard her say, “My daughter is a lost cause. She’s been a drug addict and on the streets for too long. It’s hopeless. She’s hopeless!

A 30-something mom of three with bloodshot eyes and a mascara-stained face looked at me and said, “John left me last night. Our marriage is over. I’ve never felt so wounded or hopeless.”

A young man who was once an idealist said to me with dark pessimism, “Our country is screwed. I used to believe in our political system; I don’t anymore. There’s no great future or hope for America.”

I could go on with many more sad stories. It seems that hopelessness is all too common these days. We live in a time when despair and cynicism abound.

Regrettably, hope is in short supply.

But before I move on, I need to explain what hope is and isn’t.

• Hope is not wishful thinking. It’s not someone saying, “Well, I hope things get better someday because they sure can’t get worse.”

• Hope is not rubbing a magic lantern with the expectation of making a genie appear or some far-fetched dream come true.

• Hope is not like playing the lotto (with a one-in-a-billion chance of winning).

In the Word of God, hope means one thing: confident expectation.

• Hope is what happens when it seems all is lost, but you hang onto God’s promise, nonetheless.

• Hope is the result of seeing beyond the past or present circumstances to a future that is pregnant with possibilities.

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• Hope is staying the course because you know—deep in your knower—that you are not alone. Ever.

Hope doesn’t mean you deny reality, but it does mean you keep your focus on the One who said he “works all things together for the good of those who love him.”

No, all things are not good. Sometimes it seems like all things suck. But God says we can place our hope—our confidant expectation—in his ability to redeem, restore and renew whatever we surrender to him.

That, my friends, is the secret to living in uncommon hope and experiencing an epic life.

What makes that kind of hope uncommon and epic?

One word: surrender.

Not surrender to the circumstances.

Not surrender to cynicism.

Not surrender to fear.

Not surrender that rolls over and quits.

Nope. Not at all.

Rather, it is surrender to the One who loves you more than his own life.

That’s a surrender to hope.

And that’s uncommon because that kind of surrender leads to greater hope, the kind that changes you. Forever.

“Now may God, the inspiration and fountain of hope, fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy and perfect peace as you trust in him. And may the power of the Holy Spirit continually surround your life with his super-abundance until you radiate with hope!” —Romans 15:13

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This article originally appeared on and is reposted here by permission.