Rollo May was once quoted to say, ‘Depression is the inability to construct a future.’ While I whole heartedly believe these words, I’ll add to them by saying even before depression settles in, it is hopelessness that initiates the process of removing our ability to see our future. We all encounter hopelessness at some point whether it be brought on by financial stress, a struggling relationship, a wayward child, job security, whatever it be, it undoubtedly comes, leaving us to feel stress which as science has proven messes with our health and becomes a very real hindrance to our physical, and emotional well-being. The Bible talks about it in Proverbs 13:12 when it says, ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick,’ and a bout with it is even guaranteed when it tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust, however, it is what we do in those moments when the rain comes that determines whether sickness is allowed to settle in or not.
Jeremiah 29:11 states,
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to give you hope and a future.’
These words are a promise to us from our Heavenly Father. As He has said, His plan for us declares hope which we can confidently conclude means that His will for us is to avoid the hope deferred. So many of us though, fall into the category of hopeless which does in fact lead our heart to experience sickness and creating questions within us asking:
What do we do?
How do we get out of it?
Where do we find the hope and future that is promised?
The answer to all of these can be found by reading the story of the Shunamite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-37 Such a small story with a rich lesson in discovering hope in the hopeless.
Three powerful life lessons learned from a nameless woman
1. We see that faith unleashes the miraculous.
When her reality told her all was lost, her faith declared differently which caused her to refuse to accept hopelessness. We see her demonstration of faith when Elisha asked her how things were (with herself, her husband, and her child) and she responded, ‘It is well.’
2. We learn that we have the ability to choose.
The only thing most of us see in her situation is grief, she, however, saw another option and what she saw was hope. So much hope that she didn’t even give hopelessness a chance to settle within her husband as she responded all was well when she requested the donkey to ride in order to visit Elisha.
3. We find that boldness and willingness to take a stand opens a door that leads to healing.
The woman didn’t accept Elisha’s original response, instead, she insisted that she was not leaving unless Elisha himself went with her. We find at the end of her story that it was her boldness and refusal to leave that led to her son’s healing – it was Elisha that God used to heal the child.
All great characteristics to possess, but when you’re standing nose to nose with hopeless we easily begin to question, ‘How do I get to that point where I have faith, see the choice, and can stand in boldness?
I wish I had an easy solution for you, but I don’t. It requires work. It is also requires a decision, and asking yourself, ‘How bad do I want it?’ When you ask yourself that question, and you realize you need hope, you do the following:
3 Steps to find hope in the hopeless:
1. You begin to build your faith.
And that building requires learning about the One in whom you are to have faith in – Jesus. That learning requires reading God’s word, studying it, memorizing it, and hiding it in your heart so that when situations come and sin knocks on your door, you answer with what you have found in His word, and apply the lessons He teaches. When you use it, you will find that it works, and your house of faith begins to take shape. The Shunamite woman had to start somewhere. Her start was long before this tragedy struck. It was her eyes of faith that made her see that Elisha was a man of God, and led her to form a relationship with him and open her home to him as a place of rest.
2. You determine in your mind
(I know it’s easier said than done – it’s mental training) that in every situation there is a choice, and when all seems hopeless you stand on the Word you have learned, and 1 Corinthians 10:13 when it states that God always provides a way out. When you settle that promise in your heart, you give yourself the option when hopeless raises its head to see another other choice.
3. You stand boldly
When everything around you declares that all hope is lost, you gather up your faith, you find your choice, and you stand in refusal to let life drag you down or the Enemy of your soul to take you captive.
You do all of these things. I know it’s a lot to do (I don’t pretend to think otherwise) it requires intention, focus, consistency, and changing habits, but I promise you it is worth every moment and doing it starts you down a path which leads to a destination of hope which protects your heart from the sickness that comes from the hopeless situations we all encounter, and continues you on to the hope and future that God himself has planned for you.
Join me today. Let us stand together as the Shunamite woman. Build your faith, determine in your mind to see the hope God provides, and stand boldly. If you find yourself in the midst of hopeless it isn’t too late – there is hope make today your starting point, reach for the hand that reaches for you. Choose Him.