Meet with God ~ Grow in Faith

Devotion 2 in the series Favorite Bible Verses

How to Find Hope When You Don’t Have Hope

Inside: Do you ever wonder why God is letting something happen? What if things look hopeless? Two strategies for how to find hope when you don’t have hope.

This post contains affiliate links. See our full disclosure here.How to Find Hope When You Don't Have HopePhoto © Christine Drews, DiggingDeeperwithGod.com

Her tears fell as she recounted the events of the bus ride home. The perils of middle school had reared again, hitting her heart hard and leaving me sitting on the floor by her bed, watching her tears stream down her cheeks and spill onto the pillow. “Why?” she cried. “Why is God letting this happen to me?”

Honestly, I wondered the same, and as the week went on, I asked the same question in my own life. Instead of seeing light at the end of the tunnel, it felt like this:

How to Find Hope When You Don't Have Hope

Photo © Christine Drews, DiggingDeeperwithGod.com

My path seemed blocked, with no hope in sight.

Does it ever feel that way to you? You are tooling along just fine–the grass is green, the sky is blue–and then, bam! Out of nowhere comes the gut-wrenching news, the conflict, the pressure. For a while you persevere, believing hope can be found, but as the weeks and months go by, as it becomes clear that God isn’t going to remove the situation just yet, your hope falters, and pretty soon all you see are gigantic rocks blocking the once-clear path.

No blue skies here! Only a gray, overcast  heart, stalled on the path with no way through. Please, Lord, can you just pull us up out of this muck?

This is how Jeremiah felt as he sat weeping, heartbroken over the ruins of the burned Jerusalem. The siege had led to rampant starvation, and only a small remnant of people remained. Jeremiah’s prophecies had come to pass–the people had continued in their godless ways, and God had kept his word–and it was simply too much to take.

In anguish, Jeremiah lamented. How would Jerusalem ever be restored?

There seemed no hope.

In the midst of grief and pain, horrified at all he was seeing around him, Jeremiah brought to mind the hope of God. We can learn two strategies from this weeping prophet!

After two full chapters of lamenting, Jeremiah writes this:

21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
~Lamentations 3:19-24 ESV

If you have Lamentations open in your own Bible, mark chapter 3, verses 21 and 24, and notice what Jeremiah does in the midst of terrible grief and pain, when there seems no reason to have any hope at all!

Strategy 1 for How to Find Hope: Call Hope to Mind

When you don’t have hope, call hope to mind!

21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope (ESV)

Do what Jeremiah did and bring hope to mind. Don’t wait for the situation to change! All of our emotions are very real, very raw, and allowed by God! Look at how Jeremiah felt–about God, no less:

How to Find Hope When You Don't Have Hope7 He has walled me about so that I cannot escape;
he has made my chains heavy;
8 though I call and cry for help,
he shuts out my prayer;
9 he has blocked my ways with blocks of stones;
he has made my paths crooked. (ESV)

Ever felt like that? Like God has given you more than you can handle? Like God is not listening to your prayers?

In verse 21, sixty-five verses into his lament, Jeremiah changes his thoughts for a moment. He consciously calls God’s love to mind:

21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. (ESV)

Have you lost hope in some area of your life? Follow Jeremiah’s example, and remind yourself of God’s love and mercies. Even if you are experiencing God’s discipline or if he has inexplicably allowed pain to enter your life, intentionally bring to mind that God’s love never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. They are waiting for you as you prepare to work your way through the boulders blocking the path. And every morning–every morning–we can grab onto his love and mercy like a lifeline!

Strategy 2 for How to Find Hope: Speak God’s Hope to Yourself

Jeremiah had brought the hope of God’s love and mercy to mind, and now he employed a second strategy: He said it to himself:

24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.” (ESV)

Here, I like the NIV version:

24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.” (NIV)

Seriously, when hope wanes, say verses 22 to 24 out loud. Go stand in front of a mirror and speak them out loud to yourself, bringing up this truth from the depths of your soul. Determine that no matter what comes your way, you will remember God’s love and mercies, because they never come to an end.

His faithfulness is so great, it can get us through the path blocked with boulders.

My hope will not be in people or places or things. Determine to not look to your job or your children or your spouse. Where will I find hope? My hope will be in God!

The Lord is my portion. Therefore, I will hope in HIM!

How to Find Hope When You Don't Have HopeDigging Deeper: How to Find Hope When You Don’t Have Hope

If you’d like to spend more time with the Lord today, consider the following questions:

1. Confess to God where you place your hope. Is it in a person or relationship? Maybe a job or a volunteer project? Ask God to help you hope in him over and above anything else.

2. Very deliberately call to mind that God loves you and longs to be merciful to you. Recount how he has shown you his love and mercy in your life.

3. You’ve brought it to mind. Now say it to yourself. I have printed it here in both the ESV and the NIV.

21 But this I call to mind,
and therefore I have hope:
22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul,
“therefore I will hope in him.”
~Lamentations 3:21-24 ESV

~~~

21 Yet this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:
22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
24 I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
~Lamentations 3:21-24 NIV

I memorized this scripture years ago, and it remains a passage I return to frequently. I hope it ministers to your heart as well! In our Bible memory plan, we will memorize it the week of July 15. Join us and receive a PDF of this flexible memory plan!

If you do artistic Bible journaling, the contrasts in the book of Lamentations are ripe with opportunity for artwork! You might like one of these Bibles, which provide opportunity for artistic journaling:

Praise and Worship

If your hope is waning, try praising through the storm. It is amazing how worshiping the Lord can lift your spirits! Listen to or sing with these songs as you wish, today or over the course of the week:

Cornerstone (My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less; Hillsong)

Your Love Defends Me (Matt Maher)

Masterpiece (Danny Gokey)

Extra Info!

Did you know the original name of the book of Lamentations was not Lamentations? According to the Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook, we get the English title Lamentations from the second century BC Greek translation. The original Hebrew title was simply the first word of the book, which is ‘Ekah, or “How!”

P.S. I love my little Holman! It is jam-packed with background and photos that relate to each book of the Bible. Click through from here to order yours (goes to Amazon):

More Devotions on Favorite Bible Verses

Watch this list grow! We are only two weeks into this series. What verses would you like to see covered? Drop me an email and let me know! They can be verses that bring comfort or popular verses that seem to raise problems. Last week’s devotion was on Psalm 118:24:

This Is the Day that the Lord Has Made! What If I’m Not Rejoicing?

Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™

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