Joyce sitting on a chair in front of a window.

The Power of Hope

- by Joyce Meyer 6 MIN READ

It is inevitable that we will go through times of despair in this life. Jesus told us in John 16:33, ...In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you] (AMPC).

In difficult seasons, you might feel like giving up. Or you may feel stuck and don’t know how to move forward. But when you hold on to hope and put your trust in God, He will make a way for you. He can take whatever you are going through and make good of it (see Romans 8:28). 

When I was growing up, I was sexually, mentally, emotionally and verbally abused by my father as far back as I can remember until I left home at the age of 18. He was a mean, controlling and manipulative person for most of his life. In fact, he was unpredictable and unstable. As a result, the atmosphere of our home was supercharged with fear. 

The sexual abuse started when I was very young, and when he decided I was mature enough, he took things even further. My father, whom I was supposed to be able to trust and who was supposed to keep me safe, was the person I came to fear the most.

You may be wondering, Joyce, where was God in all of this? He was there. He didn’t get me out of the situation, but He did give me the strength to get through it. It’s true my father abused me and didn’t love and protect me the way he should have, and at times it seemed it would never end. It was easy to lose sight of hope.

But God always had a plan for my life. He has taken what Satan meant for harm and turned it into something good. I can honestly tell you that God has transformed me from being negative and pessimistic to someone who is full of hope, always expecting His goodness around every corner. 

What Is Hope?

I like to say that hope is the confident expectation that something good is going to happen. A hopeful person refuses to be negative even when they deal with the storms of life, remaining hopeful in thought, attitude and conversation.

When I began studying God’s Word, I discovered real  hope—a nothing-is-impossible-with-God attitude and an awareness that God is actually expecting, looking and longing to show you His goodness (see Isaiah 30:18). 

The Bible even calls this hope the anchor of our soul—our mind, will and emotions. In Hebrews 6:19 it says, We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.... This means that when everything looks bleak…when it seems like nothing makes sense, and it feels like God’s promises will never come to pass in our lives, hope is our anchor that pulls us back and says, “Hold on! Your help is on the way!”

I’ve learned over the years that God wants us to live a life full of hope—believing and expecting great things from Him. Now I’m not talking about a wishy-washy, vague “let’s just wait and see what happens” attitude, but instead, trusting that He will do what He has promised. I’m talking about biblical hope. 

What to Do When You’re Stuck

Have you ever hit a place in life that seemed like a dead end...like you no longer had any hope?

The story of Joseph in the book of Genesis (Chapters 37-50) is a great example of this. The Bible says he was the favorite of his father’s 12 sons, and his brothers were very jealous of him because of it. 

One day Joseph shared with his brothers a dream he had. In his dream, they were all bowing down to him. Needless to say, it didn’t go over well!

As a result, the brothers got together to decide how to get rid of Joseph. First, they threw him into a pit to leave him there to die. But later they decided to sell him into slavery to a band of traveling merchants. They then devised a plan to convince their father of Joseph’s death. 

This story does have a good ending—Joseph becomes second in command to Pharaoh, is eventually reunited with his family, and all is forgiven. 

What happened to Joseph is proof that no matter what you go through in life, there is always hope. But the part of his story I really want you to focus on is what happened in-between the pit and the palace. Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers and falsely accused and thrown in prison. Then, he was forgotten by everyone he had helped along the way. But because of his faith in God, he never gave up hope!

So what should you do when you’re stuck in your pit?

  • Never give up! Fight the temptation to think there’s no way out of your situation. Jesus is the Way. This is your time to draw close and follow Him (see Philippians 4:13).
  • Avoid blaming God or thinking He is punishing you for some sin. He is just using the situation to work in your life. And while it may not always feel good, His purpose will always be for your good (see Romans 8:28).
  • Do what’s right even when you’re hurting, when it doesn’t feel right or when others treat you badly. Do something good for as many people as you can as often as you can (see Galatians 6:9).
  • Don’t withdraw and sulk or isolate yourself from others. Remember, you can be pitiful or powerful, but you can’t be both! Many times, God may use others to encourage you in this time (see Joshua 1:9).
  • Keep your word and honor your commitments. This is a character-building time, and you are being prepared to take your place in the “palace.” (See 1 John 2:5).
  • Don’t stop believing! Don’t give up hope that God can improve your situation! (See Jeremiah 29:11).

 

The Source of Our Hope

Hope is only as strong as its source. That’s why the foundation of our hope must be God and the promises found in His Word. If God is not the source, hope is just a wishful thought. The hope I’m urging you to have is very different from what the world might call hope. It is found in the unshakable, all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present one true God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

You see, when we have a relationship with Christ, it fills us with hope and confidence because we realize He’s greater than any situation we will ever encounter. 

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