Keeping Hope Alive in Difficult Times
In times of uncertainly, Christians have an eternal hope as we view current events through the lenses of Scripture.While negative stories and examples of the darkness plaguing humanity dominate news headlines and social media feeds, it can be challenging to keep hope alive.
Beth Grant, 73, says evil is not a concept, it is a very real thing that cannot be ignored. “Today, we witness the long-term results of humanity’s rebellion against God. It’s reflected in some of the worst injustice and evil the world has ever seen,” she says.
As co-founder of Project Rescue, an organization that brings hope and restoration to victims of sexual exploitation, she has spent 25 years staring straight into the eyes of this darkness.
Now, as many countries are experiencing daily crises and have been thrown into chaos, believers find themselves living in a world of instability and uncertainty. Yet, as Christians, maintaining hope is crucial.
“All of the things happening in the world right now, the wars, the disasters, and the violence, make a believer with hope stand out in even more contrast,” says Grant. “What an opportunity we have right now to show hope and share the One who is our hope.”
To maintain such a hope is not easy. Grant states that the first thing believers must do is affirm their ultimate trust in Jesus. When hope is lost, she states, when people find themselves disappointed or disillusioned, hope has most likely been placed in something or someone other than Jesus.
The prayer and blessing of Paul in Romans 15:13, which says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit,” prescribes exactly how that sustaining hope flows. It’s from God into the very being of believers who have placed their trust in Him, she shares.
“Governments, organizations, people, and even churches miss the mark. But to truly strengthen and maintain our hope in challenging times, it must be anchored in Jesus,” she says.
Grant also urges believers to remember that the darkness on display in the world is the result of mankind without God. But God foresaw everything that has happened and everything that is going to happen, she says, which is exactly why He sent His son.
“God isn’t intimidated by the darkness and neither do we have to be.”
She shares that another key to keeping hope alive is to celebrate all the wins.
“We need to celebrate every win in the battle between good and evil,” she says. “In the middle of hopelessness and darkness, God is still doing miracles and these miracles can help others take their first step towards the One who is hope and can transform their lives.”
Amy Flattery, director of Center for Holy Lands Studies for the Assemblies of God, regularly leads people through places that have had great difficulty or darkness in their past.
“When we see conflict, our response usually is to think politically about what or who needs to solve the problem. However, it is only through faith, regardless of circumstances, that true peace can be found.”
Flattery recounts the story of Jesus’ walk from Galilee to Jerusalem. Throughout the entire journey, Jesus stopped for individuals regardless of their ethnicity or religious beliefs.
“Along this journey is where Jesus healed two blind men, hung out with Zacchaeus, and raised Lazarus from the dead,” she says. “Jesus knew the darkness that was coming, that His death was quickly approaching, and He still stopped for the individual and to show hope to humanity.”
Meekness and standing on God’s promises are what Flattery states will help believers navigate these dark times.
Psalm 37:11 says that the meek will inherit the earth. This verse is where Flattery states true power and strength to hold onto hope are found.
“When we finally surrender ourselves into a place of meekness, it implies submitting to the will of God. Meekness is powerful and it takes great strength to remain in this posture. In gaining a spirit of meekness, we actually take on a boldness over fear and discouragement because it allows God’s will to reign over our own,” she states.
As tumultuous times rage on and horror overshadows optimism, Christians possess an inextinguishable hope that the end of this world is just the beginning for their eternal souls.
“Psalm 30 reminds us as believers that the Lord will not allow our enemies to gloat over us. It might not happen now, it might not happen in this world, but whenever the ‘morning’ comes, and it will certainly come, there is joy on its horizon,” Flattery says.
“Sharing the hope and joy on the horizon is why we are here,” says Grant.