My marriage was falling apart. Restoration seemed hopeless.
We had been camping on divorce’s doorstep for months, not sure if we wanted to walk through it and be done or give it one more try. Deep down, I think we both knew that any chance we had to survive as a couple was through divine intervention.
We were at the end of ourselves.
… We spent countless hours and dollars in counseling.
… We attempted to forgive and forget.
… We tried to see the best in one another.
But it wasn’t an easy fix.
My husband and I walked into marriage carrying mounds of baggage—wounds still fresh and painful. We brought in addictions, abuses of all kinds, trust and control issues, fears, unforgiveness, shame, and a million other intimacy-killing challenges.
Rather than ask God to heal our tangled hearts, we foolishly thought love would fix everything. We thought it would complete us. It didn’t.
We decided that children would fix our problems, so we had two babies fourteen months apart. In our desperation, we thought starting a family would bring us closer together. It didn’t.
And the disappointing months turned into disappointing years. It felt hopeless. I felt hopeless.
But hopeless isn’t part of God’s language.
Psalm 34:18 tells us “The LORD is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope.” What a sweet reminder that God is close to us when we feel like all hope is gone.
… When our marriage feels hopeless… God is with us.
… When the treatment isn’t working… God is near.
… When our child turns his back on faith… God is there.
… When the burden feels too big… God is next to us.
… When addiction’s voice is too loud… God is beside us.
… When we feel overwhelmed with what needs to be accomplished… God is holding our hand.
No matter what discourages us, making the future feel hopeless… the Lord is near.
He intervenes on our behalf when we are miserable and downhearted. In our discouragement and despair, God intercedes when we cry out.
And even more, He promises to save us.
Wayne and I will celebrate 18 years of marriage this fall. I don’t have the time or space to unpack the entire story, so the CliffsNotes version is that God intervened in the most amazing way and saved our marriage and family. He restored our hope.
Friend… where have you lost hope?
Are you waiting for a breakthrough, healing, or provision? Do you need doors to be opened or closed? Are you losing heart based on test results, a stalled promotion, or a missed opportunity? Are you about to give up on a spouse or becoming pregnant? Are you weary that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a train barreling towards your already frayed nerves? Are you facing unrelenting disappointments, desperate for life to turnaround?
Truth is, we are all hoping for something.
So what do we do when we find ourselves giving up hope and instead giving into disillusionment, distress and discouragement?
1) Reach into the Word
Be careful not to glaze over this suggestion. It’s is the kind of advice that can sometimes cause us to roll our eyes because we hear it all the time. But… the Bible is alive and active, and somehow always relevant to our situation. There’s never been an instance where I’ve closed the Word of God and thought it was a waste of my time.
It’s where He speaks encouragement to us. It’s where He reveals His heart for us. It’s where we find hope.
2) Reach out to community
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is community. What would we do without our friends? For many, we tend to hide away when life gets tough. Maybe it’s just me. Rather than call up a friend, we burrow into our homes and distance ourselves from others. While this may be normal, it’s not healthy.
Friendship can be just what you need to help you navigate hard times. They hug your neck. Listen to your heart. Pray with you. Encourage you by sharing their experiences. And all these things help keep hope alive.
3) Reach up to God
Why is this often our last resort? Our God is a good Father who is willing and able to soothe His children. He is willing and able to bring peace to the chaos. He will meet our every need and restore hope in our heart from those unrelenting disappointments. And all we need to do is ask.
Because He loves us so much, God offers us the gift of His Word… His children… and Himself as powerful weapons to battle the hopelessness that threatens to pull us under.
And when we embrace these tools, our sorrow turns into joy, our sadness into expectation, and our faith encourages another weary soul who is struggling to keep hope alive… to hold on.