We get in contact each day with people who are hopeless, anxious, hurt, and isolated. We may not understand that they are going through a period of hopelessness.
Sometimes we are aware but tend to pick little or no interest in their affairs. Maybe we are too busy, lost in thought, engaged with ourselves to notice the sullen look of hopelessness on their faces.
We often drift into hopelessness, desperation, hurtfulness, and loneliness. Even though the Bible doesn’t use the word “hopelessness” except in a few Bible translations, it is often written in its synonyms such as downcast, troubled, mourning, cry, despairing, miserable, and so on.
Throughout the Scriptures, there are several devout, powerful men and women whose stories of hopelessness, struggle, and battles through dark times can inspire us.
Stories of Hopelessness in the Bible
Apart from the pronounced story of Job, many people think that there are no other stories of hopelessness in the Bible that genuinely rely on the topic of grief. We are not trapped here.
Though there are many stories of hopelessness in the Bible, this article will discuss just five stories to remind us that we are going through what other people felt.
1. Jesus’ Story of Hopelessness
You may be shocked to know that Jesus Christ, the redeemer of the World, was hopeless at a point in time. The moment of his hopelessness was when it was apparent that he would die gruesome and shameful on the Cross.
He agreed to come to the World to die for the remission of the World’s sins, so it was a predetermined action, yet he despaired when he eventually faced it. Prophet Isaiah prophesied about his gruesome death in the Book of Isaiah 53:7 NKJV,
He was oppressed and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before his shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth”
Another encounter of hopelessness with our Lord, Jesus Christ, is in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus went to pray throughout the night with Peter, James, and John as his soul was filled with hopelessness, sorrow, and distress. He could not hide his emotions at a point, and he exclaimed in the Book of Mathew 26:38 NKJV.
“Then He said to them when, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death. Stay here and watch with me”.
Jesus prayed three times in anguish, asking God to take away the impending death from him. He prayed in Verse 39,
“O my father, if it possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will”
The anguish of hopelessness was so great that in Verse 44, they exclaimed;
“And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground”
Lessons for Reflection
- Let us be assured that in whatever condition we find ourselves, Jesus comprehends our weakness and hopelessness because he had once traded on that path.
- Dying in Christ is better than living in sin.
- Christ is the epitome of humility; we should emulate him.
- Pray for strength in times of hopelessness because you may likely go through a tough time that God himself allows.
2. Jeremiah’s Story Of Hopelessness
Prophet Jeremiah is also known as the weeping Prophet. God sent him to preach to the people of Jerusalem about the impending judgment of God based on their sins. God opened his eyes to see the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the exile of the Children of Isreal to the country of Babylon.
Despite Prophet Jeremiah’s love and admonitions towards his people, they constantly rejected him whenever he reached out to them. Prophet Jeremiah neither married nor had servants nor children. He lived alone, poor, ridiculed, and rejected by his people.
Jeremiah poured his anger of hopelessness on God. There is no doubt that Jeremiah went through a surge of grief as we read the Book of Lamentations, Chapters 1 through 5. The words of this book are a reality of the state of mind of a man who is shattered, broken, embittered, and devastated. He wished to die than continue to face dejection in the Book of Jeremiah 20:14,18 NKJV.
“Cursed be the day in which I was born. Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me. Let the man be………why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, that my days should be consumed with shame”
Notice that Prophet Jeremiah is shameful and regretful about his existence because of rejection. This is the emotion that most people struggle with. We always think that being a non-Christian would have been better than being a Christian. We have been rejected severally, thus filtering the feelings of hopelessness in the quest to pass God’s message to people. Don’t worry; God will not let you down.
You may question God about the authenticity of your joint heir with him because of hopelessness. I assure you that faithfulness is not a sign of freedom from depression. We live in a cruel world; you may be marred by one of its ugly episodes.
Take heed from the experience of Jeremiah because his level of faithfulness was not used to measure his freedom from hopelessness to him. He wasn’t saved by sticking to unwavering optimism or sober, realistic common sense. God kept all of his promises to him, which is how he was able to save him.
Lessons for Reflection
- Being a faithful and ardent servant of God does not guarantee you won’t have moments of hopelessness.
- Being hardworking does not keep despair away.
- Feelings of hopelessness make one have self-inflicted guilt. They hold themselves responsible for their predicament.
- Amid rejection, displaying great spiritual faith and strength is good.
- The level of one’s honesty is determined by the time he is wrestling with despair and having a great sense of failure.
- There is always a feeling of guilt and self-blame over hopeless situations.
- The World has always been a place of horrendous happenings. The Theology states that if one worked harder, more faithfully, and trusted, perhaps one could escape the pit their hearts dug for them. It is a lie. The Book of John 16:33 NKJV states that:
“These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”
3. Jobs’ Story of Hopelessness
Job is another excellent example of a righteous man who suffered hopelessness. He has been through episodes of distress ranging from the loss of children, livestock, servants, and buildings. Everyone deserted him, and he was plagued with a dreaded skin disease. His wife eventually separated from him.
The story’s point, in this instance, is how the protagonist accepts and surrenders to his generally terrible, hopeless lot. The Job character does this by taking everything that God throws at him and by remaining steadfast in his obedience to and faith in what he believes to be a Higher Power, both kind and terrible, who has control over everything that has ever happened to him, in both good times and bad.
It was due to Job’s faithfulness that Satan took permission from God to afflict him to prove that he was faithful to God because he lived in abundance. Even though Job maintained his faithfulness throughout the trial, he still struggled with hopelessness.
Job’s words of hopelessness are recorded in several Verses of the Book of Job. To mention but a few from the NKJV extract:
Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes.
My days are swifter than a weavers shuttle, and are spent without hope.
My soul loathes my life; I will give free course to my complaints, I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
As water wears away stones, and as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; so you destroy the hope of man.
Where then is my hope? As for my hope, who can see it?
Terrors are turned upon me; they pursue my honor as the wind, and my prosperity has passed like a cloud. And my soul is poured out because of my plight; the days of affliction take hold of me. My bones are pierced in me at night, and my gnawing pains take no rest.
The story of the Hopelessness of Job ended victoriously. God restored everything he lost, and according to the records, Job was the wealthiest man of the time, and his daughters were the most beautiful women on earth (Job 42:15).
Many people pass through almost the same challenges as Job because he lost everything at once. Property loss, financial bankruptcy, torture, and loss of a loved one in death are some of the things we seem to encounter in life at some point. For people who have been through hopelessness, let the story of Job inspire you to trust in God no matter what you go through.
Lessons for Reflection
- Being steadfast in the ways of the Lord will bring lasting benefits.
- God is in charge of the World no matter how Satan controls certain things.
- God allows everything to happen by his permission, even the suffering of humanity.
- We do not have control over our lives; only God does.
- We must not deny and curse God, no matter the level of our hopelessness. Cursing God is a sin.
- God has the best plan for us, even though he allows us to endure pain. God still loves us, and our protection is paramount.
- God is willing to hear our anger, so he approves that we should bare our anger before him. Harboring bitterness in our hearts without voicing out can defeat God’s purpose for our lives and create a loophole for the devil to torment us.
- Better days are ahead after we survive hopelessness. God will reward our loss in double fold. God has a redemption plan of a more excellent and more extensive replacement.
- Do not lose hope and give up when things go against your wish and plan. Patiently wait to enter the new dimension of God’s goodness. Trust God to sustain you during the trial period.
4. The Hopelessness of Jonah
Jonah was a Prophet in Isreal at the time of the reign of an evil King, Jeroboam II. Isreal thrived in the political, cultural, and economic sectors but lacked spiritual growth, resulting in the bloom of injustice and oppression against the poor. This was one of the critical themes of Jonah’s prophetic messages.
God directed Jonah to go to Nineveh, the capital city of Assyria. Jonah did not accept to embark on the mission and opted to board a ship heading to Tarshish. A great storm arose, and Jonah was eventually cast into the sea to stop its raging. God sent a big fish to swallow him and return to the shores of Nineveh. While he was in the belly of the fish, feelings of hopelessness engulfed him. There he rendered a prayer of remedy for his hopeless situation in the Book of Jonah Chapter 2.
The Prophet preached to the people of Nineveh about the impending doom God would spew on them if they did not repent from their wicked ways. All the people, starting from King Ashurdan III, declared a fast and asked God for forgiveness. God had mercy on them. But instead of Jonah rejoicing, he was angry because he knew that God is a loving and merciful God who will not punish, so he decided to decline the job role.
Jonah 4:3 GNV
Now, Lord, let me die. I am better off dead than alive.
Jonah encountered another session of hopelessness when a plant that grew within one night to shield his head from the scorching sun died mysteriously. And again Jonah screamed in Jonah 4:9 GNV
…….. i have every right to be angry- angry enough to die!.
At some point in time, most renowned and staunch men of God fought with the will of God in their lives. They kept on struggling between God’s desires and their desires, but theirs only prevailed for a while, but when God needed them, he had them even if it meant expending heavy treatment to dough their prideful and unwilling hearts.
Aligning the desires of God with ours is a process. Going through processes of God’s refinement does not mean that our hearts are aligned with his will. God needs our actions and heart.
Lessons For Reflection
- God’s mercy reaches out to all people who are to Him. He is a merciful and forgiving God. Just repent.
- Disobedience can cause harm not only to the disobedient person but people associated with him in any way, just like the co-boarders on the ship.
- God manifests himself in different and mysterious ways and commands every creature to serve him.
- Selfishness blurs the eyes from seeing the reason the infinite mercy of God abounds.
- God shows mercy to all and sundry irrespective of the magnanimity of their sins.
- Every nation is at liberty to access the Gospel of God.
- An impudent messenger goes through strife.
- God punishes a stubborn messenger to be broken to relay God’s message.
- It is necessary to learn something about the mercy of the Lord.
- Salvation comes from the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Because of God’s supreme power, only God decides where to pour out His salvation and His mercy (Jonah 4:11).
- One’s selfish desire cannot outrun the desires of God.
5. The Hopelessness of Moses
Moses was an Israelite adopted by the daughter of Pharoah, King of Egypt. He grew up in the palace groomed in the way of life of the Egyptians. He later killed an Egyptian and ran away. He lived with his uncle until God revealed his purpose in his life.
Though Moses argued that he was not the perfect character for the role, God used him to deliver the Children of Isreal from over 400 years of slavery in the land of Egypt. Capturing his biography in this article will be inexhaustible, so his moments of hopelessness and the lessons derived will be discussed.
In Exodus Chapter 5, Moses confronted the King of Egypt to set the Israelites free. In a rage of such arrogance, the King accused them of idleness which is the cause of fiddling the thoughts of freedom. He doubled the workload of the Israelites.
The children of Isreal accused Moses as the reason for their doubled task in the quest of seeking an impossible request from the King, thus incurring his wrath.
Moses was hopeless and cried unto the Lord In Verses 22 and 23 NKJV;
“Lord, why have you brought trouble on this people? Why is it you have sent me? For since i came to Pharoah to speak in your name, he has done evil to this people; neither have you delivered your people at all”
After Moses accepted the mantle to rescue and successfully rescued the children of Isreal, Moses had limited resources and help. He managed to provide food and water to over six million people. The people complained bitterly and blamed Moses for their predicament. They wished that they should never have accepted to follow the orders of Moses, who claimed to be God’s messenger sent to deliver them from slavery.
At this point, he was so stressed and became hopeless. He cried to the Lord in Numbers 11:11-15
And he said to the Lord, “Why have you treated me so badly? Why are you displeased with me? Why have you given me the responsibility for all these people?…….if you are going to treat me like this, take pity on me and kill me, so that i wont have to endure your cruelty any longer”
Everyone has sounded like Moses at one point or another. He sounded unreasonable. We act in times of hopelessness in ways that if we were to be recorded and later shown the video of fuming, whining, and fussing, we would never believe that we had acted in such a ridiculous way. Is there anyone who has not been in this situation before?
Another moment of the hopelessness of Moses occurred when he went to receive the commandment of God from the mountain. He stayed longer than expected, and as he descended, he saw that his people had made a Golden calf to worship as a god, abandoning the Lord who rescued them from slavery.
There was a feeling of anger and betrayal, which made him feel hopeless. The matter grew worse when the Lord pronounced that he would utterly destroy the Israelites and make a great nation out of Moses. Thinking of how his suffering will yield no fruit and end in such an awkward manner, He cried unto God in Exodus 32:11-13.
Lessons for Reflection
- God was mighty with Moses despite his flaws, spoke with him directly, and smote whoever spited him. God will always accept us despite our weaknesses and use us as instruments to accomplish his purpose.
- Upon Moses’ timidity, little or no confidence, and stammering attribute, the Lord chooses him. God looks beyond our physical infirmities and perfects his will in our lives.
- Moses’ furious lifestyle eventually led him to failure. We have to pray for the grace to conquer anger issues in life so as not to make us miss out on God’s incredible goodness.
- Moses had no mentor to guide him. In serving God, we need a prominent personality to guide us so as not to go astray.
- As leaders, we must delegate responsibilities to other people to ease stress. There is power in teamwork. Moses took too many responsibilities, as stated in Exodus 18: 13-24, which often led to his episodes of hopelessness.
- God will always listen to you at every point of your hopelessness. Be careful of utterances at this point.
- Proper plans are necessary for every step to avoid getting lost.
- Leaders make mistakes, but we should not criticize them.
- Be courageous to face any opposition causing stagnation in your life.
- As a leader, you must intercede for your followers at all times.
- Don’t listen to complaints.
- Don’t forget God’s promises and believe in his power to accomplish his purpose in your life.
The World needs happy people who can exert their energy on hopeless people. We need people that will cheer us into the brightness of the love of God. Use the stories discussed in this article to know that a God understands our pains, weaknesses, hurts, and hopelessness and stretches his hand of comfort, compassion, and hope toward us.
God will redeem, heal, help, and restore you to a hopeful state. God will use the season of your hopelessness to bring good to you and others, make you stronger, and fulfill his purpose in your lives.
Don’t hesitate to talk to someone in your moment of hopelessness. Don’t hide your pains and struggles. Seek professional treatment and care.