Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness

There is nothing more depressing than the feeling of hopelessness. The Apostle Paul having appealed to Caesar was on his way to Rome when a tremendous storm arose. The storm was so strong that the ship was at the point of breaking up. Three days of wind and rain without food or any sign of the sun, moon or stars brought seasoned sailors to the point of hopelessness. [Act 27:20] They no longer believed they would survive the storm and would eventually be lost at sea.

At that precise moment, the Apostle Paul appeared on deck with a message of hope. He tells all the sailors that the ship will break up but there will be no loss of life – all would be saved. I am sure that these seasoned sailors thought Paul was out of his mind. How dare he make such a pronouncement?

What these sailors were going to discover was that God had a plan for Paul and they were going to benefit because of that plan. God wanted Paul to appear before Caesar and that meant surviving the storm. The basis of Paul’s pronouncement was based on a special message he received from God via an angel.

A message from God brings no hope unless it is believed. The Bible is God’s message to man but millions of men and women have no real hope because they have not believed the message. Paul was able assure the sailors and all aboard the ship of their survival because he believe God. Listen to his words in Acts 27:24, 25:
“Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.” Right there is the reason for hope – I believe God. He didn’t say I believe in a god. Many people believe in a god only to live a life of hopelessness.

Hope comes from believing God not from constantly focusing on our circumstances. This only increases our sense of hopelessness turning discouragement into despair. Believing God doesn’t mean that God is going to answer your prayers the way you want Him. To believe God is to trust God that no matter what happens, you can be confident that He will never leave you, He will give you strength and that He will use your situation for you good and His glory.

Our hope goes beyond our immediate circumstances. What if our circumstances lead to our death or never seem to end? Listen to the Apostle Paul as he writes from a Roman jail to the church at Philippi. “According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” [Philippians 1:20, 21]

Paul understood that real, lasting hope comes from understanding that our circumstances are not random, meaningless nor purposeless but purposeful. He said, “but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” [Romans 5:3 –5]

God has spoken. His message is our source of hope in the midst of hopelessness. It provides hope for this life and the life to come. Feeling hopeless, read God’s Word. It is a message of hope that can lift the fog of hopelessness.

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