Hope vs. Despair

I sank to the floor sobbing. I was exhausted and utterly heartbroken. In the middle of an extremely difficult season of life, I found out I was pregnant, only to find out something wasn’t quite right.

I had known since my four week appointment that my numbers weren’t adding up, but it wasn’t until I was almost 10 weeks pregnant, that I got the news that my baby’s heart had stopped beating. I was devastated.

Have you ever been shocked or overwhelmed with grief? Maybe it’s not that severe, but you feel hopeless, like the future simply looks bleak. What you thought your life would look like is nothing like the present reality. Maybe you feel alone, like no one understands what you are going through? Maybe it’s your marriage, you are losing confidence that things could ever be different, or it’s a family member who continuously or purposefully pushes your buttons, wounding you in the deepest of ways.

Never is it bad or sinful to feel heartbroken over a situation in life that is hurtful or causes you pain. Tragically, this is part of the broken world in which we live. Sadness is a part of this life. Miscarriages happen often. Life takes weird turns. Sometimes we feel alone. It’s healthy to go through the process of “feeling out” the pain, anger, frustration, and/or sadness.

But after we process out these feelings with God and others, what do we do when our hearts are still left broken? What do we do when we cannot see past the present moment because of the fog of hurt, pain, or sadness?

I think we have two choices. We can choose hope or despair. Despair tells us our life will never look any different, there is no joy in today, and no reason to get out of bed or try. Despair is the byproduct of a lie of the enemy. The lie that there is no future for you or your situation.

The truth is, hope tells us if you follow Christ, there is a future—a bright future in heaven where everything is promised to be made new. There is a place where Jesus says, “He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and death shall be no more. There will be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore…” (Revelation 21:4a)

Hope does not change our situation, but it does change our heart toward God. It speaks truth with silent words in the depths of our heart. When we hope, we live as if we believe God and His promises. When we hope, we say with our actions that we trust Him to use this for our good and His glory.

When I got up off the floor from sobbing over losing my baby, I went and grabbed my Bible and turned to a familiar passage that seemed to encourage my heart when I felt pulled to despair.

It reads like this:

“I’ll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness,
    the taste of ashes, the poison I’ve swallowed.
I remember it all—oh, how well I remember—
    the feeling of hitting the bottom.
But there’s one other thing I remember,
    and remembering, I keep a grip on hope:
God’s loyal love couldn’t have run out,
    His merciful love couldn’t have dried up.
They’re created new every morning.
    How great your faithfulness!
I’m sticking with God (I say it over and over).
    He’s all I’ve got left.
God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits,
    to the woman who diligently seeks.
It’s a good thing to quietly hope,
    quietly hope for help from God.
It’s a good thing when you’re young
    to stick it out through the hard times.
When life is heavy and hard to take,
    go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
    Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
    The “worst” is never the worst.

Why? Because the Master won’t ever
    walk out and fail to return.
If He works severely, He also works tenderly.
    His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.”

—Lamentations 3:19–33 (Message)

I turned to the Bible because I remembered: through the reading of His word, we can align our heart with His, asking Him to give us the capability to see past the present moment. Through the reading of His word, we see there is an unbelievable future ahead in heaven. Through the reading of His word, we can be encouraged in remembering God has the power to give us hope in the hopeless situation.

If you find yourself in a place of heartache or despair today, ask Him for hope. He wants to give it. Read these words in Lamentations over and over again until you think you can get up and face the day. Cry out to Him in honesty; He wants to hear it and can handle it. I promise if you try these things, you will get a glimpse of His immense, loyal love that hurts and empathizes with us in our pain. And I pray this love will empower you moment by moment today to press on.

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About the Author

Ashley Fisher

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Ashley Fisher has been married to her husband Adam for nine years and they have three beautiful children with one on the way! When she is not knee deep in laundry and running the kid shuttle, she enjoys leading worship with her husband, writing for her blog, and sitting down for coffee with close friends.

Comments 1

  1. Beautiful, Friend!
    And to think you wrote this just days before the Living Loved Conference…
    I am still in awe. I love you!

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