Q: I’m not suicidal, but I need hope for today. Is there any word from God for a discouraged Christian who needs hope?
A: I am glad that your urge to live is strong. Keep it strong by staying away from anything that can make you more depressed, such as alcohol and depressing music, 24-hour news networks, or people who are always negative. Make a choice to be around people who can lift you to a higher place. Your family? Your church? Your friends? Find people who are encouraging. If you can be in the presence of others who can lift you up out of your aloneness, it can be healing.
Take comfort in scriptures that speak of hope.
An extremely hopeful verse about the future was given to a people devastated by war who could see little hope of restoration apart from the promise of God. Yet that promise was: “I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper and not to harm you, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). Sit with those words of encouragement; put them on a three-by-five card to carry around with you as a reminder that the only thing we have to know about the future is that it is in the hands of a God who is for us.
In Ephesians 3:20-21, Paul said that God is able to do far beyond all we can ask or imagine. Hope may be beyond our imagination for the moment, but it is not beyond God’s ability. We trust in a God who is bigger than our ability to be hopeful on our own.
In Romans 5:1-5, Paul said that “character produces hope.” This reminds us to take our eyes off what other people think and focus on building our own self-discipline, self-improvement, and sense of integrity. Not worrying about what other people think is a healthy way to “stay out of other people’s business.” Sticking to our own business can help us retain hope.
In the same passage to the Romans, Paul said, “we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” God’s glory is awe-inspiring. God’s glory is all around us in the beauty that surrounds us. It is a glory that takes “all things” and “works them together for good to those who love God (8:28). We can imagine a hopeful future when we affirm with confidence that God’s glory in Christ is strong enough to redeem everything that is a part of our past.
Finally, Psalm 33:20 reminds us, “hope in the Lord: he is our help and our shield.” We can lay our head on our pillow and sleep in peace knowing that God stays up all night as our trustworthy protector and friend.